When Old Technology Is Better Than New Technology

I don’t own an iPhone or a Blackberry or any kind of smart phone for that matter—in fact, I never have. So yeah, maybe I’m a little bit bitter, but I also see the infinite possibility in my shitty old brick phone, and I’m convinced that sometimes, old technology is better than new technology. Sure my phone can’t contact to the Internet. Sure all I can do is call and text (GASP!). Sure it doesn’t have a camera. I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how I haven’t died, and sometimes I wonder the same thing.

It’s more than just a hipster nostalgia—that grating yet endearing cycle of generations that leads a cultural subset to seek a connection with the past, indentified in Generation Y through actions like playing vinyl records or taking photos on film (although my commitment to my phone is less reactive than it is necessary considering my measly budget)—that attaches me to old technology. Having experienced new mobile technology only at arms length, through my many iPhone wielding peers, I have noticed some traits existent in the old that have escaped the new, which gives me a refreshed sense of affection for my cellular dinosaur.

There are distinct, identifiable times when my phone is better than yours (assuming you have an iPhone). The times when I drunkenly drop it in the middle of the dance floor; when I’m camping and my tent gets flooded and I wake up to find it floating in a puddle of water; when I’m carrying too many things at once and clumsily drop everything on the ground; when I’m angry and throw my phone across the room and it bounces of a wall or other hard surface. In these moments, my old phone is better than your new phone because it doesn’t break. I just pick it up, turn it off and back on, maybe open up the back to let it dry, and it’s working again, as good as new and barely a scratch to show for the trauma. Meanwhile, I’ve seen people sneeze and their iPhone screen cracks.

I also find having an Internet-less phone conducive to socializing. I’m never “checking in” or Tweeting when I’m out with friends, just looking at their faces (which, admittedly, are normally focused on their own fancy phone screen) and listening to them speak. I’d really hate to be one of those people who is too busy stalking the ‘book to hold a proper conversation at a bar; being stuck to a screen while socializing is just… rude. My phone is better than yours because there is no temptation to check it every 30 seconds for social media updates when I am in the company of real life humans. I also can’t use my phone to Google answers to questions that arise in conversation, and I imagine if no one could we’d all sit around arguing and discussing things instead of instantly accessing the answer before turning the topic to something else equally as fleeting.

And, if you’ve never played old school mobile phone snake, you’re missing out. I promise it’s better than Angry Birds. Finally, while I’m on the topic of old school technology, let’s all admit that stringing together two cans and talking through them say, from tree house to the ground, is about as much fun as you can have without taking your pants off. TC mark

image – Guy Schmidt

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  • Koty

    I love this and completely agree. I miss having a landline phone. 

  • Koty

    I love this and completely agree. I miss having a landline phone. 

  • http://twitter.com/SonofConway Josh C. Bramlett

    To combine two articles from today, 

    Things you should stop doing when you’re 25:

    Drunkenly breaking your iPhone.  

    Boom.  

  • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

    Just imagine how much fun you can have when you’ve strung together two cans and have taken your pants off. 

  • ilovecats

    Thumbs up on the Snake reference. I’m often tempted to dig out my old Nokia in place of my current slightly-newer-yet-still-obsolete phone solely because of Snake.

  • Wdeanis

    Totes: “I imagine if no one could we’d all sit around arguing and discussing things instead of instantly accessing the answer ”

    I use my phone so much at work (I don’t have enough work to do, a different problem entirely) that by the time I get home to my friends, I can enjoy their company without even thinking about y phone. I think that’s still fixing middle ground…. I’ll google it.

  • Wdeanis

    Totes: “I imagine if no one could we’d all sit around arguing and discussing things instead of instantly accessing the answer ”

    I use my phone so much at work (I don’t have enough work to do, a different problem entirely) that by the time I get home to my friends, I can enjoy their company without even thinking about y phone. I think that’s still fixing middle ground…. I’ll google it.

  • http://twitter.com/amanda_silvas Amanda Silvas

    “we’d all sit around arguing and discussing things instead of instantly accessing the answer before turning the topic to something else equally as fleeting.” #TRUTH

  • Hastendown

    I’ve lost months of my life to snake.  I soooo miss that.

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    OMG I LOVE SNAKE.

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    I miss the Nokia brick but appreciate all that my iPhone does. #conflicted

  • Ch

    this just reminded me to check-in to foursquare.

  • Anonymous

    “I imagine if no one could we’d all sit around arguing and discussing things instead of instantly accessing the answer.”

    My friend Pete has a stand up joke about how back in the day you’d do this and eventually you’d have to ask a stranger the answer — and that’s how you met your wife. But now, because we can just look it up, we never talk to that stranger and so we never “meet our wife.” (Hopefully I explained that correctly. It’s so true it’s spooky.)

  • http://twitter.com/miatard mia

    amen! while recently an iphone convert, I previously had a nokia brick that received much mockery for years. whenever it would come up, I would violently throw it at the floor to prove my point, nary a chip in sight. I still hold on to it just in case.

  • r0semarysays

    I thought you said this was going to be more than hipster nostalgia

  • Gnush

    Let me guess. You own a Nokia?

  • Jonny P

    you can totally text google (466453) for free. that’s what i do all the time. who needs a fancy ass smart phone when i can find local places and movie times without paying monthly for internet. best of both worlds!

    • Angela

      I love you.

  • FangsFoo

    Google 2-step verification for Gmail is the best reason to own a smartphone. Fuck angry birds, fuck foursquare, fuck facebook apps.

     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6IFPDSFKEQJE2ZPP3ASE35MRL4 Laura

    YES. YES. YES. I have said this article almost word for word to many of my friends who all look at me like I’m crazy. I have a 2008 Samsung block of a phone that is as big as my face. Do you know how many times I’ve dropped that thing? And how many times it continues to work? OH yeah, um, every time. This isn’t about being ‘hipster’ it’s about appreciating something that isn’t state of the art. Computers are for internet usage. Cameras are for quality pictures. Phones are for calling/texting/playing Tetris. The end.

  • http://twitter.com/iamthepuddles irreverent puddles

    ugh i dunked my phone in a hot tub the other day and dropped by verizon to find a replacement… all i could for non-smartphones were touchscreen smart wannabes. i literally want an 1″x1″ screen and qwerty keyboard and nothing else. that’s it. could get that in london but not back in america. fuck technology, i want something to call 911 on, not something to steal me away from reality.

  • guest

    totally agree… what mobile phone are you using? mine is a 10 year old nokia 8250. though i can’t make or receive calls, i just can’t get rid of it.

    • Guies

      so you can only text? that sounds amazing! what a good excuse for not answering the phone

  • Nini

    I have a BB and an old-school phone. :)  The old one still works like a charm even after 4 years now?  (The BB is more of an office phone so really cant ditch it)

    And yes, YAY to Snake!

  • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

    “Yes”, said the owner of the LG slow phone.  I enjoy those rare moments when it is impossible to access my email. 

  • http://twitter.com/melvinismad Melvin Alvarez

    people freak out when I say I don’t own a phone. Well I do have a phone but it hasn’t been on for centuries. Not owning a phone doesn’t kill you. Your boss/colleagues/friends/family won’t hate you for that just as long keep in touch with them. (I use my computer for that.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=38312892 Steve Gerl

    And you don’t have to charge your phone twice a day!  My battery lasts for at least a couple of days.

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