Is it just me, or have cellphones become useless for voice conversations? To be fair, cellphones do work in limited situations, such as: "I WILL BE THERE IN TEN MINUTES! TEN MINUTES! I SAID I WILL BE THERE IN TEN MINUTES! HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? FUCK THIS STUPID PHONE, I'LL TEXT YOU! AND I'M DRIVING, SO I MIGHT BE DEAD IN TEN MINUTES!"

Generally speaking, a cellphone conversation is a frustrating failure if any of these conditions is true.

1.       You have a weak signal.

2.       You are using an earpiece or headset.

3.       The other person has a weak signal.

4.       The other person is using an earpiece or headset.

5.       The other person has a cell phone (delay problem).

6.       You are multitasking and can't think.

7.       The other person is multitasking and can't think.

8.       You are in a noisy environment, such as Earth.

9.       The other person is in a noisy environment, such as Earth.

10.   You get another call you have to take.

11.   The other person gets another call he has to take.

12.   You have a dying battery.

13.   You have a phone that drops calls for no good reason.

14.   The other person has a phone that drops calls for no good reason.

15.   The other person has a dying battery.

16.   You are in a restaurant and you're not a jerk.

17.   The other person is in a restaurant and isn't a jerk.

18.   There is a child within 100 yards of you.

19.   There is a child within 100 yards of the other person.

Yes, that covers almost every situation. And the list goes on.  In my life, voice calls using cellphones fail more often than they succeed, and the situation is getting worse. There was a time when most cellphone calls involved a land line on the other end, so at least one end of the conversation was likely to be trouble-free.  Now most of the calls I fantasize about making would be between my cellphone and another cellphone. I don't like those odds. So I send text messages instead.

For important calls, I use a land line that serves as my fax line. If I receive a call on my cellphone, I try to keep it short, or I call back from my fax line. Or I beg for an email that gives me whatever information I want. My situation is worse than most because I have an iPhone, and it decides on its own when my calls are done, no matter how strong the signal is. (I suspect that my ear is using the touchscreen without authorization from my brain.)

While voice calling is getting worse, texting is becoming easier. More smartphones have full keyboards. And texting isn't the huge inconvenience that phone calls are. I explained in another post that all phone calls have a victim, i.e. the person receiving the call. You're ALWAYS in the middle of doing something else when someone calls to yack. The worst offenders are the people in cars who don't have satellite radio, or books on tape, and they're just calling to make their drive less boring.

Texting is way better. It can fill in all of the tiny spaces in life while you're waiting for something else to happen and a voice call would be too large for the space. When I get a text alert, it always makes me happy, even before I read the message. When my phone rings, I think, Uh-oh, what fresh hell is this?

Another great advantage of texting is that it thwarts bores. Bores love voice conversations. In a pinch, they will send you overlong emails. But texting forces boring people to be brief.  How great is that?

In a situation in which both I and the other person have smartphones, I always choose texting over a voice call. In time, everyone with whom I want to communicate outside of a business context will have a smartphone, and I'll never need to make a cellphone-to-cellphone call again. Kids are already there.  Wireless voice calls are dinosaurs, and that big shadow you see is a meteor.

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0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 7, 2010
I don't understand why Scott even answers his phone. If I hated phone calls that much, I would make a ring tone of silence (so I don't even know the phone is ringing) and have a greeting that says "Hi, this is <name>, send me a text or email because I don't answer my phone or listen to voice mail". Problem solved. You might say then he couldn't complain about it, but there is never any lack of things to complain about.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 4, 2010
iPhones can be very funny:
Oct 1, 2010
I use only mobile phone and no land line . I have not noticed such a many call drops . Then it may be due to fact that I live in India and use a simple phone with only very limited features i.e calls , text , no cameras etc.

+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 1, 2010
Scott, you must not have children. My kids have long taught me to text if I want a response as they won't answer the phone. (God, did I just sound like a Jewish mother....)
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 30, 2010
What's the difference between an iPhone and a girlfriend?
A. the longer you have the iPhone the more it sucks ;)

Maybe it's the network you have, i have little problems making voice calls over the mobile in Australia.
Sep 30, 2010
You can use Voice Email application to quickly send voice messages over email instead of calling or even texting. That way you use the best of both worlds: (a) no need to call someone else; (b) faster than texting. Also this application also works without any signal at all (opposed to texting or calling), as your email will be stored in the outbox and sent as soon as the phone finds signal again (in my case works even underground!)

Sep 30, 2010
> When I get a text alert, it always makes me happy, even before I read the message. When my phone rings, I think, Uh-oh, what fresh hell is this?

I'm glad I'm not the only person who feels this way.
Sep 30, 2010
I wonder how many of these problems are related to the design of cellphones today. Cellphones today are small with their antennas buried within. Most phones are long enough to reach either the ear or mouth, and halfway to the other. It's no wonder that conversation suffers. My best friend lives in the sticks, and still laments the death of his phone with the external antenna. He has no bars now, and any reasonable person would suspect antenna design.
Cell phone companies are complicit in this, of course. It is much cheaper to provide text service than voice service, bandwidth and all that. Don't expect newer phones to be much better for making voice calls, either.
Sep 30, 2010
c i r c u m s t a n c e s.
Sep 30, 2010
Texting is awesome in certain !$%*!$%*!$%*!$ Last spring I was on a four-day trip with a couple dozen teenagers. They were spread out across a large campus when an emergency came up. Two mass-texts later we are all assembled in one spot. No other communication method is that easy and effective - especially with teenagers. To a person, they had their phones on and available in spite of having been told to turn them off and put them away.
Sep 30, 2010
Something tells me that you wouldn't be too impressed by this:
Scientists Developing Talk-Powered Cell Phones
Sep 30, 2010
Halfway down the list I was thinking, man Scott must have an iPhone, lol. I even hear iFollowers curse the thing on a regular basis.
Sep 30, 2010
I do agree with your comments, in general. The first paragraph is classic.

When I was buying my new iPhone I thought what if I could just buy a phone that makes good, clear calls and that is all. Just think how good such a phone would be if they took all of the time and energy and used it to just work on reception and clear steady calls instead of a million apps, features, music, cameras, etc., etc. Such a phone would be pretty bad-a$$ for just making calls. The old analog Nokia 100 that was 10 inches long and weighed a ton never dropped calls. Always had bars/service - granted the battery only lasted for a half hour.

On the other hand, I live pretty far up in Nor Cal and have very little trouble with my iPhone 4. No dropped calls, etc. The internet slows down when I am indoors, that is about it. I guess I got one of the better phones? (and no, I am not an Apple-lover-person. This is my first time buying one of thier products).

Sep 30, 2010
If I want some detail (like what my wife wants me to pick up on the way home from work), I have to agree that text or email is by far a better way to go. For socializing, though, I wouldn't consider wireless voice calls to be obsolete. For that matter, a large amount of information is just easier to talk through. Particularly with the iPhone which has a convenient but horribly inefficient interface for typing.
Sep 30, 2010
I can't imagine why someone would want to carry their phone with them their every waking moment. At $25 a month for my home line, plus an average $10 a month for my pay-as-you-go cellular, I'm getting off cheaper than most of you, and I neither have to lug my electronic shackle from room to room nor rush to the other side of the house if it rings.

Newer is not always better. And if I'm far from home and need directions, I use a map. As Craig Fergusun would say, it's like the Internet, but more papery.
Sep 30, 2010
My iPhone 4 works brilliantly but I'm in Australia so that may be a factor. Try as I might I haven't been able to get a call to drop out no matter how I hold the damn thing. It's almost disappointing.
In a few years we'll ditch the landline altogether.
We've also stopped buying anything but digital books. Wherever I go I have my library with me.
This thing is the greatest toy I have ever had.
Sep 30, 2010
I often text people to let them know that I'm about to call them and they need to get into a noise-free well-signalled well-batteried un-distracting situation pronto.
Sep 30, 2010
I have an iPhone, and my calls work great. I'm european and here in Sweden we have a statebuilt infrastructure that the companies rent themselves into. I used my iphone in the wilderness while hiking for two days in the swedish mountains, about 150 km from the nearest village.

Charging the phone was a different story though... brought a back up battery and an old nokia phone so i knew i could always make emergency calls.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 29, 2010
So why're you still holding on to said Iphone? Is RIM paying you to come up with these comments?!
Sep 29, 2010
I disagree with one comment that said that texts makes misunderstandings fewer. Try figuring out this text I received some time ago.

"w8, i nid 2 do sumtng. ttul"

How was I supposed to know that ttul means talk to you later???
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