mánudagur, ágúst 28, 2006

changing phones

I had to get a new phone recently because the old white standby was well, white, and also because it had developed a buzz in the speaker. Trying to have a conversation on it became a bit like trying to have a conversation while riding in a certain green 1978 Plymouth Volaré around the pothole-infested streets of Pinehurst, Mass.

Everything involving cell phones in Iceland is just so many light years ahead of any telecommunications-related experience I ever had in the States, and this was no exception. I walked into the store (not the phone company store but another dealer with better prices and selection), picked out a phone from the rack, and pointed it out to the sales guy. At his sales guy computer station, he magically produced a new, boxed phone through some Dai Vernon sleight of hand, and asked me for my phone. I handed over Old Whitey, he popped out the tiny card in the back and slapped it into the new phone. Turned it on, and it was charged and ready to roll, with my contact list fully armed and operational. The new phone lit up with a text message minutes later and I felt like Biggie Smalls in "Going Back to Cali" ... 818s, 213s, B.I.Gs. At the drop of a hat, I was rock and roll.


Blogger EnuhCorK said...

Sweet A! Someday the U.S.A. will catch up with the rest of the world on mobile technology...but not today. I think Chez will get over the 'incident' at Volare corner sooner....

Blogger cK said...

I'd guess we already have this ability in the US, but businesses here are masters at feigning incompetence and limited technology. It allows them to maximize what they make on us but stalling until a market is fully tapped before suddenly amazing us with breakthroughs. For example, transferring a phone number took federal legislation. It's a push of a button, that's all. It doesn't even have to be pushed on their end.

The phones with the pop cards on the back are awesome. I may buy one in Japan. Enter a new Asian country? Just buy their card and keep talking. It's lovely, really.

Blogger Unknown said...

I have a chip-popping phone. Ooh, I feel so modern!

Blogger Sue said...

JB, Sometimes I wonder what 1990's technology world you were living in, in the States. First the dentist and now the phones. :) I have a SIM card GSM phone in the States from good old Cingular that even works seamlessly in Iceland.

Cingular and T-Mobile are the providers in the States that use GSM, and therefore SIM cards.

Blogger BurntOnion said...

I love the DAI Vernon reference.

And also, someone should tell the FBI that Whitey was in your pocket for all these years.

Blogger JB said...

Shooney: Hah! I love the memory of the three remaining hubcaps frisbee-ing off in three directions.

CK: The US is a big enough market that it can afford to do things differently from the rest of the world, and the longer I am outside the US the more I realize how true that is of so many things in America. The (original, not T Mobile, etc) American digital cell phone network seems to have been built on a technology that's just not as good as the standard that emerged in Europe. Add in a bunch of providers who refused for a long time to cooperate and you get today's patchwork system.

Kristen/Sue: Sweet. Of course I know these phones exist in the US, but they've only been there what, 2 or 3 years at most? My brother recently looked into switching to a GSM phone on one of those networks and told me that the coverage is so spotty he just couldn't make the switch. So he remains on Verizon where it's impossible for me to send him a friggin' text message. So he and I communicate by cave-painting.

Brentie: Dai Vernon was for you, believe it or not. Sometimes when I am writing I have a specific reader in mind. Glad ole Dai found his target audience-of-one!


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