Earlier today I was thinking about my cell phone — what an amazing piece of electronic gadgetry that playing card-sized instrument is.
I signed up for my first mobile phone about 20 years ago. It was a flip-phone capable of making calls without being tied into a landline. That was about all it could do.
Then new versions appeared that would take photos. I resisted that. (I have a habit of resisting technology. I even put off moving from a manual to an electric typewriter.) My reasoning on the phone upgrade was that I had a camera, a nice 35 MM Nikon that produced high quality photos — after they were developed. So why did I need an inferior camera just for the novelty of it?
I got one anyway because when you upgraded a phone, that’s what you got — phone and camera. I took a lot of inferior photos with it, nothing worthy of publishing in our print issues, but handy to snap grandkids playing in the yard or blowing out birthday cake candles.
I learned to send texts and mastered a new language — text talk: complete sentence not required just made up abbreviations (LOL, IDK, TY). I also found out that texting became the only way to communicate with some people.
Phones got smarter, even if I did not. Along came Google and suddenly I had an encyclopedia in my pocket. And an atlas, and a guide to restaurants, hotels, and hospitals (never needed the latter, so far).
Techie folks invented apps (another abbreviation for an increasingly diminishing vocabulary). From my phone, from most anywhere I find myself (and if I’m lost, I have an app to help me find myself), I can check sports scores, the stock market, and the latest news. I can also book a flight, check my bank balance and buy a book, which I can read on my phone.
Earlier today, I scheduled a haircut without dialing a number, just clicked the app.
The camera is better, too. I recently shot video in the field and posted it on our Facebook page, which is available on the FB app on my phone. I’ve shot photos that work well on our website and in print, maybe not quite as good as the new digital Nikon, but pretty high quality.
These mundane accomplishments pale in comparison to what some of you guys can do — turn irrigation systems on and off from across the country, market your crops, and track machinery in the field.
Maybe I’m easily impressed. Last Saturday, I made a video of Walker, my youngest grandson, playing with a cricket, explaining how he caught it. He was quite pleased with himself.
I was happy to have a recording device handy to capture the moment. It’s a complex, pocket-sized computer capable of spectacular and simple undertakings.