Phones – 5 activities that make me hate mobiles

Tbusiness-people-with-smartphones-1140x445-1140x400here’s no preamble and no justification. Let’s be honest, we all jump straight to the list anyway. iOS, Android or any other operating system, here are five things about smartphone, tablets and phablets (really?) that are just too annoying for words.

There’s a time and a place
Consider how exasperated you are when, during a presentation, you look across the room and see a myriad of faces illuminated by the pale glow of their smartphones. Well, we feel that too, when you’re texting away during one of our meetings or events. You see that little ‘Off Button’ on the top/side/face of the phone? Use it! Or at least put it in airplane and silent modes. At least pretend to be interested in my seminar on ‘Insects and their Knee Joints’.

A live event is A LIVE Event!
Phil Collins is playing in some stadium somewhere and everyone watches, applauds and interacts. On a number of songs, people hold up their Bic or Zippo lighters and, with the heat increasing on their down-pressed thumbs, sway their arms in tune to this song or that.
Today, the same 10,000 people, (possibly watching someone a little more up-to-date) are watching the artiste… via their 4” phone screen. Watch the show! Take a couple of snaps, by all means. But really, enjoy the concert and upload your ‘wonderful’, grainy images and videos after the event. We can wait… I promise.

NB – If the idea of paying 50+ Pounds/Euros/Dollars for the ticket, plus travel, plus food and possibly accommodation, just to watch large sections of it through squinted eyes on a tiny screen and then spending 5 minutes uploading your blurred attempts to Twitter or Facebook with the caption “At ‘Download’ watching (really?) Psycho-Monster-Hipster-Chicks their (they’re) amazin’.” actually appeals to you, then I give you permission to ignore this point…

imagesJust because you can…
Remember the days when you used to sit in a friend’s car on a wet Sunday afternoon, waving a cheap transistor radio around, poking other passengers in the eye as you try to hunt down the best signal so you can all listen to ‘the game’. What about more recently, when you’d struggle with those tiny televisions, again, playing rotating and contorting yourself in order to see the show – often in bed, under the covers and long after you’re supposed to be asleep. Technology is meant to be progressive, yet you’re still watching a (possibly illegally) downloaded copy of a blockbuster movie, designed to be watched on a wall the size of the Hoover Dam, on a smartphone with a screen the size of a Post-It note.
There are apps for so many things – too many things – which we get wrapped up in what we can do with our device. I can use it instead of my spirit level. I can use it instead of my egg timer. I can calculate the azimuth of this planet, the albedo of that star whilst rating the cuteness of people’s kittens on a scale of 1 to 10. I can turn it into a fake Star Trek Tricorder, Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver or hide my por… erm – sensitive business documents behind a fake calculator app, even though nobody actually has access to my tablet – just because I can…

A 10” tablet is not a camera
It does have a camera function, I grant you that. My car also has a radio, but I’m not going to strap it to my head and go to the gym.
Let me repeat the title. A 10” tablet is not a camera. It’s a… an… well, it’s a 10” tablet. You can read, watch movies (on what is probably the smallest acceptable size for a movie screen), you can surf the Internet and perform many basic computer functions. But it is NOT a camera.
When you are standing there, at the Tour de France, desperately gripping onto something that big, blocking the view of people around you and trying to take video or pictures as the cyclists race past, you look very stupid indeed. Oh, and here’s a little secret: Everyone around you and anybody who sees you on television are sharing a single thought – “I hope she drops the bloody thing….”
Walking through town with your tablet, spotting a photo opportunity and taking a picture is one thing, but you know you’re going to the Tour de France or the World Cup or some other monumental event. You didn’t just turn the corner and find yourself at the front of a crowd waiting for the peloton to fly by you; you didn’t get lost and somehow find yourself in seat J45 of Wembley Stadium… TAKE A CAMERA!!!

imagesI have a phone for my convenience, not yours
Remember, you can choose to answer or not, respond or not. You are under no obligation to check every beep, tinkle or (heaven forbid) 15 second sample of Dr Dre somehow managing to work every F, N, M and C word into a single sentence of his (and I use the word advisedly) music.
I may be wrong, but most times, the friend on the phone is almost certainly to be less important than the business lunch you are conducting at this moment, or the social event you are currently attending, and I’m pretty sure that their link to a video of a large frog chasing several kittens around someone’s backyard can wait a little longer… If they really are your friend, don’t worry, they’ll understand. And if they continue to text, email or call you to find out why you’re not replying; well, there’s an app for that….

So tell me, did you get to the end of this article without once checking your phone?


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