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Alicia Blain

Entries tagged with “Cell Phones”.


I came across an interesting article in the September edition of AARP Bulletin. The article was written by Cynthia Ramnarace and it was called “Smartphone NationIt had some great statistics on smartphone usage that surprised me.  The biggest surprise was that 50% of all Baby Boomers sleep with their cellphones within arm’s reach.  I wouldn’t have guessed it was that high.  I would have thought that we were so attached to it during the day that the last thing we want is to put it next to our nightstands at night.  I guess only half of us agree with me. 

Another interesting statistic from the Pew Research Center is how the IPhone has increased usage by turning the cellphones into what the reporter calls  “entertainment centers”.  I had never thought of cell phones or really smartphones in that light but I think it’s so true.  According to Pew in 2007, the year the IPhone made its debut, only 11% of people used a phone to access the Internet. By May of this year, that percentage  has gone up to 38%.  What percentage do you think it will be next May?

But the article really warns about our addiction to smartphones.  Ramnarace quotes Patricia Wallace, author of The Pychology of the Internet” who describes smartphones as a “pocket-size game of chance”.  The author compares it to a slot machine where you never know whether you will be rewarded or not when you pull the lever.  What a great description.  Everytime I hear my IPhone alert me of a call, a text, a voicemail or email, I have to fight the urge to pick up the phone and look at the message.  Most of the time, I’m disappointed because it wasn’t anything urgent and it made me get distracted from what I was doing.

I often hear many Baby Boomers criticize Millennials for their need to be constantly connected but truthfully, what about us?  Aren’t we doing the same thing with our smartphones?   Recently, I’ve forced myself to observe fellow Baby Boomers in  networking  events to see if they were overindulging their smartphones.  Over 70% of them took out their smartphones either while listening to a speaker, while engaging in conversation with a group of people or while standing off on their own.  That’s a lot of indulgence.  We talk about technology getting in the way of the Millennials’ ability to be in the moment but frankly, what about us?  We can apologize all we want for having to “take” this call, or respond ”quickly” to this email, or “answer” this text but we are engaging in the same multi-tasking activities that drive us crazy when we see it in the Millennials.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to criticize Millennials?  Maybe the quick pace of today’s workplace affects all of us but we just don’t see it as well in ourselves as we do in others? Maybe we should try to stop overindulging the smartphone and overindulge in connecting and interacting with others.  That’s always more rewarding.

The article has a quick quiz at the end to spot if you are hooked on your smartphone.  Take it and see if you need an intervention.  Chances are you will…

So remember a couple of months ago I blogged  about my panic attack after leaving my cell phone at home?  In the blog I reminisced about the original cell phones and what clunkers they were.  Well guess what?  My fiance’s sister read the blog and sent me this link to the July edition of a local community newsletter.  The reporter, Sherryl L. Parks, gave a great summary of a TEDx conference that had been held in the town. As an aside,  I not only love the TED conferences but think the TEDx conferences provide a wonderful opportunity for local venues to showcase topics and speakers that are important or interesting to the local community.  

The newsletter talked about some of the topics that were presented at  that particular TEDx. From the topics selected , you could clearly see that this particular community was very interested in science and technology.  In the article there’s a picture of a young man standing next to an older one.  What are they holding?  Well, the  young man, a Millennial, is holding one of the old, original cell phones.  You know, the clunker I talked about in my previous blog.  The older man, a Veteran, is holding an IPhone.   Isn’t that great!  The Millennial is holding  the original cell phone that paved the way for him to have the IPhone he can’t live without today.  Can you imagine what was going through the Millennial’s mind when he took a look at that clunky phone?  But it gets better.

Do you know who the older man is in the picture?  It’s none other than Martin Cooper?  Does his name ring a bell?  Well, it should because today Millennials and many of us would be lost without him.  He is the man credited with being the inventor of the cell phone!  It’s true – google his name and you will see.  How cool it is to see a picture of Martin Cooper holding the most recent transformation of the invention he created?  He must be so proud.  And how cool is the fact that a Millennial gets to actually see the roots of his precious IPhone.  But more importantly, he gets the rare privilege of talking to its inventor.  I can just imagine the wonderful stories that Martin Cooper is sharing with the young man about the history of the cell phone.  

Conversely, I can picture the Millennial gushing about all the neat IPhone features.   I’m sure Martin Cooper is secretly chuckling because those new features have nothing to do with the phone itself.  The cell phone he created has morphed into a mini-PC.  As we all know, the last thing the Millennials use their cell phones for is to make a call.  Yet, the only thing the original cell phone could do was make a call.  I’m sure Martin Cooper could never have imagined “his” cell phone becoming what it has today. But he put the wheels in motion and the Millennials and the rest of us will be forever indebted to him for that stroke of genius.

There is so much that each of the generations can learn from one another.  The trick is to open yourself to the opportunities that present themselves to be able to do that.  It’s nice to know the roots of things because it make us so much more appreciative of what we have today.  The more we share the roots of things with Millennials the better we will all be.

In my earlier blog, I was going to include a picture of the original cell phone like the one pictured in this community newsletter.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  This picture is so much better. Especially because a Millennial is holding it and he is standing next to its inventor.  Can’t get any better than that!

Happy Friday, everybody!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my frightening experience when I realized I had left the house without my cell phone.  As I was looking through the CIO Magazine archives recently I came across a slideshow created by Ross Catanzariti called The Mobile Phone: A History in PicturesBoy, did that bring back memories.  The slides show pictures of mobile phones dating as far back as 1983. 

Sometimes you  really need to look back to appreciate how much we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve advanced.  The pictures provide a 25 year retrospective on how mobile technology has revolutionized our communications experience. In looking at the pictures I couldn’t help but think if we accomplished all this in the past 25 years, where will mobile technology be in the next 25, in the year 2035?  Where will technology as a whole be then? It was too mind boggling to even fathom. But exciting to contemplate all the great possibilities.

What about you?  Where do you think mobile technology will be in 2035?  But what I really want to know is how many of the old mobile phones pictured in the slideshow did you use?  My favorite was the car phone.  As the writer points out, it did look more like a radio than a cell phone – and weighed as much, too.

Enjoy the slides and Happy Friday, everybody!

As I was getting on the expressway to go to a networking event last night, I realized I left my cell phone at home.  My palms began to sweat, my heart palpitated, I had trouble breathing.   What was I going to do for the next few hours without my cell phone??

After I calmed my nerves, I asked myself “What in heaven’s name did we do BCP” Yep, you guessed it: Before Cell Phones. That thought made me go down memory lane again and resulted in this BIMD:  No Cell phones.  That’s right.  For years and years in  my early career I NEVER carried a cell phone. Why? Because there were none. And here’s the punchline: it really wasn’t a big deal. From a business perspective who would call you before 9Am or after 5PM?  No one.  We were much smarter back then. 

On the rare occasion that you were outside and couldn’t wait to get home or back to the office and had to contact someone immediately you used the corner payphone.  Yes, the payphone.  They actually worked back then and there were rows of them everywhere – at least in NYC.  Were you one of those that checked the coin slot to see if there was any change left from the previous caller?   C’mon now, you can tell me…

Remember the first cell phones?  Boy, were they clunkers.  They were big and heavy and certainly couldn’t fit in a women’s purse or a man’s pant pocket.  You needed to carry it in a briefcase for the one or two times you’d actually use it in a week- and those were just the showoffs who were trying to impress us by having the latest gadgets!

On the week that Apple introduces the new IPhone 4 and thousands storm the stores to get it and showoff (some things never change…)  it was good to remember our cell phone roots…                                                                                        

Have a good weekend everybody!!!