I remember when my only communication device was a phone connected to the wall. I'm old! Then came wireless handsets. They seemed so space age. I was untethered! I could wander all over the entire living room without dropping a call. The bedroom was too far for the signal to travel, but hey, you can't have everything.

Time passed.

Then along came the brick-sized cell phone. I thought of it as more of an emergency device. I kept it in the car and tried to use it as little as possible.

Then came the Blackberry. OMG. It was like a little miracle in my hand. Not only could I walk around (anywhere!) and talk on the phone, but I could do email like a demon thanks to its nifty keyboard. I was talking and typing all day long. I was addicted. I was a communicating fiend.

Then came the iPhone. In theory, it would do all that the Blackberry did plus apps! In practice, it dropped every call that lasted more than a minute. That has more to do with the AT&T network where I live and how the iPhone works with it, I'm told. No problem. I weaned myself off of voice calls. I don't like talking on the phone anyway. I trained my friends to use email to contact me.

But I couldn't do email anymore either. At least not much of it. The iPhone keyboard was too frustrating. Every message came out like xmopoi aljsdo vooe. I could go back and fix each word, but it wasn't worth the time. Instead, I used the iPhone to check incoming mail, but I waited until I was back at my computer to respond with more than a sentence.

Then came the Android phone. I just got one. I can make phone calls again! It's just like the 1970s! I sound like I'm underwater in a barrel, but you can usually tell what I'm saying, unless I call another cell phone, in which case the call is largely unintelligible. And that's not counting the dumbass things I actually say that don't make much sense even if you hear me perfectly. I'm just saying you should email me. Don't call.

To make things worse, a call between cell phones creates just enough of a transmission delay that I can't interrupt the other person. And if you happen to get a talker on the other end, you're in for a long ride. You can't break in.

By the way, if you're one of the people who owns a cell phone and doesn't understand that you have to use it like a CB radio, meaning you say your part and then pause a second to see if there is a response, let me be the first to say everyone hates talking to you on the phone. Talk briefly, pause at least a second, and listen for a response. That's the rule. The talk-until-you-get-interrupted model is something that only works in person and on landlines.

Anyway, my Android phone works most of the time for voice calls. But I'm afraid to actually use it because the battery life is about an hour and it's no good to me with no power.

Now I only think of my phone as an emergency device, like my first brick-sized cell phone. I wouldn't use it to make a social phone call. My battery wouldn't last. And I wouldn't often use it for email because the keyboard sucks and the battery drains then as well.

Yes, I have researched all the many ways to save battery life. I have apps that kill other apps. I turn off Wi-Fi and 4G and Bluetooth until I need them. Nothing seems to keep my battery from draining like a frat boy's bladder on a Saturday night. Result: I leave my Android plugged in all the time, whether I am at my desk, near my bed, or in the car.

Thank you Google for inventing a corded phone. I can't wait for your next innovation: the butter churn.

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-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 3, 2011
Haha! I know what you mean - I HATE that time lag in the phone conversation. It's like we're back to the early days of internet voice chat. Wasn't that fun? Really, you'd think they could do something about that battery life. I mean, IPAD batteries last days.
Jul 26, 2011
Don't forget someone inventing bread that isn't sliced.
Jul 26, 2011
Most of you guys complaining about the signal strength and call quality seem to be in the US or Canada, which makes me think it's the network providers there that are to blame. I'm here in India using the Galaxy S Android phone, and I have no call issues or reception issues. Even battery life is great in idle, and lasts as much as any other smartphone when I use it continuously.
I liked Windows Phone 7 when I tried the HD7, I like the iPhone as well, but still, the limitations they put are just too much for the price I would have to pay for a WP7 phone/iPhone. No USB Storage option, no proper multitasking? No thanks, I'll stick to Android until WP7/iPhone removes those limitations.

But in the end, I agree. Phones these days are more about apps and stuff. The most important thing, calls, has been pushed to the background. But still, not that much to the background as mentioned here.
Jul 26, 2011

I was quite negative about the initial release of Windows Phone, but having used the beta of the upcoming Mango OS for a month now, I can honestly say it's right up there with the iPhone as the best smartphone OS. It's actually better in some ways. You get good battery life and a great ecosystem like iOS, and you have a choice of handsets like Android but minus the fragmentation. Microsoft's got a great bunch of phones on their hands, their biggest hurdle to overcome is their image (which they're slowly trying to improve with gestures like these).

In particular to your requirement to type a lot of emails, one of the less publicized features of Windows Phone is their great predictive keyboard that got even better in Mango. It's a joy to use. And if you prefer a hardware keyboard, there are a few devices to choose from.

BTW... thanks for the Feb 12, 2011 comic... I imagine a lot of Windows Phone devs who work 9-5 jobs can relate to it...
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2011
Love the how the Windows contingent is here in force. I live in Microsoft territory and have plenty of friends who consider my Android phone a personal affront. OTOH, I'm starting to wonder if they don't have a point. I bought an Android because I had this terribly clever idea: I wanted to use Google Voice for my business line. Google Voice doesn't offer phone numbers in WA state, but I managed to get around that. I signed up for an extra line through AT&T, ported that to Google Voice and then canceled the line. (The AT&T reps helped me do this. They get plenty of revenue from me already - and their dumb policies would not let me add a 6th line. My fault for having three kids, apparently.)

Anyway - I bought an Android thinking Google Voice would work better in its native habitat. After using it for a while, though, I have a hard time seeing how Windows could be worse. The voice-to-text translating of incoming messages is fabulous. I love that feature. The problem is live incoming calls. When I get a call, a voice announces the name of the caller and I have to "press 1 to accept". By the time I do, the caller is usually halfway into their spiel. I'm not sure what Android tells them to make them think I can hear them, but its not a good way to start out a business call...

I've taken to handing out my personal number instead and am trying to decide whether I trust things to improve, or if I need to find another solution. Most of my business communication is through e-mail, but I do need the phone as well... (As a dairy-goat owner, I can just imagine what a googled-up butter churn would be like...)
+19 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2011
I have to weigh in and agree the Win7 phone (I have the Samsung Focus with AT&T) is the best device I've ever used, and I was a long time blackberry and short-timer iphone user. This is not a forum for pitching products but kudos to Brandon for taking the oppty to tap the readership for validation. AT&T network is weak where I live, so for about $140 I got an AT&T Microcell to which connects to my internet router, and now have perfect coverage in and around the house. I use the phone like a landline. Interface is fast and beautiful. Video and camera work great, speaker is very good. I can't believe I'm going on like this about a phone....
Jul 25, 2011
Give WP7 a try you will be pleasantly surprised, i destroyed my samsung feature phone accidently about six months ago when it fell into a pond of water after a night out drinking, for the next 2 months i tried the different platforms of smartphones OS, in canada you can do this where you can purchase a phone but not commit 100% to it once you dont use up certain amount of Data and Minutes with the phone and you dont keep it for more than two weeks. I tried Blackberry, nexus s running android 2.3 and the iphone4but i had seen all of them in action cause friends and family has them as they are very popular up here anyway i still gave them a try but returned each one within the two week period not because i didntlike them or want one of them i just wanted to see which was best, lastly I tried wp7 at a bell store even though the employee there tried pushing me to an android phone which i had tried already anyway i knew what i wanted so i told him just give me the wp7 i absolutely loved more than the others but i returned it not because i didnt want it, i returned it because i figured i can go to ebay and purchase one outright for less without being tied into a contract, i was gonna do that anyway for whatever phone i chose.

I ended up buying the unlocked T - Mobile DELL VENUE PRO and hooked it up to mobilicity in canada cause they both use the AWS 1700/2100 frequency and i got way better plan than i would at Bell or Rogers .

I love wp7 its so much more modern looking, sleek, elegant and intuitive than anything else out there , to be brutally honest i makes the Blackberry, Iphone and Android phones feel outdated
, people who hvent tried this phone should really give it a try, theyll be pleasantly surprised as well im eagerly waiting the Mango update it looks amazing. WP7 is awesome it totally rocks
+55 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2011
Seriously, you'd be daft not to accept the offer from BrandonWatson. The Windows Phone keyboard is more accurate than iPhone and Android (my wife has an iPhone and my daughter has an Android that used to be mine so I speak from experience), there's a battery saver mode, voice calls actually work (at least in my area) and the phone as a whole is a beautifully integrated experience designed for people, not techies. We now return you to your regular non-fanboy schedule :)
Jul 24, 2011
Scott -

My name is Brandon Watson and I am responsible for the developer platform on Windows Phone. Since your readership has a high probability of cross over with our developer base, how about I make you a deal with one of the phones we reserve for developers. Take Windows Phone for a spin. I'll send you a developer phone with the new Mango OS on it. Give it an honest run, and if you don't love it more than either of your iPhone or Android experiences, I'll make a $1000 donation to the charity of your choice. You can't really lose on this deal.

Do we have 500K apps? No. Do we have 25K, growing as fast as iPhone did, and 2x as fast as Android? Yes. Do developers love the dev environment? Uh huh. Do we have the only phone that puts people and communications first? You bet. If Androids dream of electronic iSheep, people dream about people - and that's what you will get with Windows Phone. Keep in constant contact with those most important to you with Live Tiles, groups, messaging threads, and native Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And no special instructions on how to hold the phone to make calls. Oh, and the battery lasts a long time.

I can be reached at ThePhone [at] microsoft. You can call me if you want - [number removed]. Windows Phone devs will tell you that's the right contact info, because it's shared with every one of them.

I hope you take me up on this one...there's no reason to hate your phone.
Jul 22, 2011
@TWE, my dad has hundreds of old macintosh 3.5" floppies (from circa 1988) that he has been toting around for decades. I decided to go through them and move all his files to CD-ROM. With an ancient mac laptop, I copied them to the hard drive, then transfered them to a file server. I found that about 2/3rds of the floppies couldn't be read at all. Of the remaining, maybe half the files could be copied, and almost all were in file formats that we couldn't open. Shockingly it took several minutes apiece to copy files (less than 1 MB) from the disks to the hard drive, when it worked. after pissing away a good chunk of three days on it, I took the useless data I'd collected and put it on compact disc, threw out the rest of his floppies and explained to my dad that his data couldn't be salvaged -- that he'd waited too long to do anything with it.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 22, 2011
Butter churn!?!?!?!? Pwah! The Romans build bridges that have lasted 2 millenia. One interstate bridge where I live did not even last a month before it was sliding off the hillside. When people wrote their books by carving stones they didn't need to many back up copies. Now I need to have at least 4 backups of everything because something is going to fail within a year. And that is not even talking about the fact that "newer" technologies come along at a rapid pace, making the old backups useless because they can no longer be read. How long did floppy discs last? Which version of floppies for all you old geezers? And now many files/folders are so large backups cannot even be made on CD's....one needs totally electronic memory.......which can fail in so many more way than a CD. All this is called progress.

WN9SIE back to you Scottie........over.

+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 22, 2011

You kill me! The comment about using a phone like a CB is spot on!

A friend of mine -- Big Bill -- was always on the trailing edge of technology. Up until last year, he was still using cordless phones, and even had an old rotary phone sitting on his desk. It didn't work, but I used to go to his office just to turn the dial and hear it go "Click! Click! Click! Click!" Brought back memories of growing up in the early '70s when phones had actual bells that rang when a call came in. Remember that?

Anyway, one morning last year Big Bill came over. He was in a state of complete excitement. He had to to show me his newest purchase: A Nokia 1200-series cell phone. Of course, by now the world was emerging from its BlackBerry stage, and was moving into Androids, etc. But, to Bill, the Nokia 1200 was cutting-edge technology. For instance, he could walk across the building and not lose a signal. He could take a call in the parking lot, or at the mall. And, he only had to charge it once a week -- instead of leaving it on the charger base when not in use.

Wow! Cool stuff!

But, Bill had one habit that made want to smash his phone into tiny bits: He thought it was a CB radio.

He would put the phone up to his mouth, try to press the non-existent transmit button on the side, and speak. After he was done, he would say "Over!" and move the phone to his ear. He would listen to the caller, then put the phone back to his mouth, press, speak, say "Over!", and back to his ear.

I told him, "Bill, it's not a radio mic. Just hold it to your ear and talk." He gave me "the look", and said, "You do your thing your way. I will do my thing my way!"

And he did.

Bill died recently of a heart attack. Maybe he couldn't handle advancing society. Scott, please try to someday work into the script an employee who refuses to ever move beyond 1970s technology. It would honor my friend -- the last of the true "technology virgins". (You may already have had such a character, and my apologies for having missed it.)

R.I.P. Big Bill! You were a true original!
Jul 22, 2011
Yes, it is dead corner of our civilization. The computing power of all microchip based technology increase 2-fold every 15 months, while battery capacity is improving only by 5 % per year...
Jul 21, 2011
why on earth would m-i-l-e-s -- a unit of measure -- be censored?
Jul 21, 2011
@rbgos, America is so much more spread out than the UK, which isn't very cool for wireless users. I live in Dallas, Tx, and to put some numbers out there, the DFW metroplex has about 5 million people, and is about 120 !$%*! east to west and 80 !$%*! north to south (~10,000 sq mi). England is 50,000 sq mi and has 60 million people.

Furthermore, the average UK worker commutes further than people in any other country -- 8.5 !$%*!. The average commute for a person living in Dallas is 20 !$%*!. I know people who commute 60 !$%*!.

Anyways... you can see that we need a lot of cell coverage for fewer people and the numbers makes it clear why our cell networks suck. And they're expensive.
Jul 21, 2011
Get a Win7 phone. Don't be biased because Microsoft produced it. I've had one for about two months now (the HTC Trophy), and I love it.

I am obsessive about correct grammar and punctuation, to a point where I didn't want a smartphone for the longest time because I knew I couldn't resist doing email, but I also couldn't stand the syntactic shortcuts people normally take when writing email on a phone. But the Trophy lets me write in complete sentences with minimal difficulty, and the autocorrect is pretty remarkable. (There is one very annoying case -- it capitalizes after EVERY period, so writing "i.e. some comment" is very hard to do without capitalizing the S in "some".)

IE on it is fast and responsive, and the display is sharp as a tack. I have no problems with battery life. The music player? Works great. Apps? Well, tell the truth, I don't use very many apps, so I can't comment on that. The copy of Office on it works fine, as does Angry Birds and a couple of other games, and the afore-mentioned music player and IE, and beyond those I don't need a whole lot more. (Honestly, I struggle to understand what all those thousands of apps people promote as a benefit for the iPhone actually do. I suspect most are about on the level of fart-in-a-can.)

Scott, as someone who actually has the resources to do so, the technological bent to want to, and the bias awareness to make it fair, could I suggest you engage in a three-way comparison between Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone 7?
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 21, 2011

Plaid shorts are already in vogue. It's only a couple of years until they decide to lengthen them.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 21, 2011


I made the same mistake once, ie bought an iphone, and since it worked ok, I bought a macbook. Big mistake! Working in a macbook feels like you are scribbling buffalos on a cave wall.

My theory is that Apple allocates engineers to products in direct correlation with their smartness. Currently, the brightest engineers are working on ipad 3. The second tier of smart engineers are working in the iphone, the third tier in the ipod. In other words, the dumbest engineers in Apple are in charge of Macs and Macbooks.

Meanwhile, the brightest engineers at Microsoft are hard at work on improving Windows.

In any case, if you still want to buy a MacBook, please let me know, I’ll be selling mine soon…

Jul 21, 2011
Scott, the problem with android is that it gives the user enough rope to hang themselves.

Just like a computer your operating system can be compromised by a bad app or clever person...

A NON-TARGETED app (hack/malware) is likely using you as a proxy for bad deeds.
A TARGETED HACK, enough people know you for that to be a decent probability esp. seeing the nature of your fan base & opposition lately...

Not saying android is most insecure, which is not true as in sense of saying linux is insecure.

EVERYTHING isn't as private as you would feel comfortable understanding.
Jul 20, 2011
I met the son of the CEO of AT&T briefly, and he mentioned to another person that his dad can't get AT&T reception where he lives.

He uses a competitor's service.
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