Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Another Brick...

It was back in early May of 2009 when my beloved "brick," the Motorola V365 cell phone on which I'd logged over 60 solid days' worth of talk time from July of 2007 till then, bit the dust. When a cell phone dies it's not like just another piece of technology conking out and needing to be replaced. It's more like major organ failure and an ambulance ride to the emergency room with the lights and sirens working overtime. Losing that phone was like losing a part of myself. I've been through four different phones since then, including my daughter's used V365, and for various reasons none of them ever measured up to my own original "brick."

I'd been sniffing around to find something new for myself for a while. Unfortunately, even at that last official upgrade opportunity the guys at the AT&T store (i.e., the too dumb for college boys who will tell you anything you want to hear to make a sale that they don't have to support afterwards), in a rare moment of honesty, pretty much admitted that phones aren't designed much for serious talking any more. They're all about internet access and apps and texting. Besides, AT&T requires you to take out a pricey data plan if you want to get one of the slick phones with operating systems more complex than the computers that drove Apollo 11 to the moon. I talk. I text a little. I don't need all the bells and whistles, and I have an iPod Touch from which the internet is never further away than the nearest McDonald's.

I vowed to steer clear of anything by Samsung. Their reception, based on personal experience and the experiences of friends on AT&T, is substandard in places were other phones have a good number of service bars. And, though they're nearly impossible to find, I wanted a phone capable of auto-answer when I'm on the scooter with a wired headset or Bluetooth device. I don't like Nokias because the ones that AT&T offers look like cheap pieces of crap from China, and the weird brands my kids have are great for texting, but sound awful when I talk to them. What I love are Motorola phones, but AT&T only carries only the ones that require data plans and the big, luggy Tundra which I tried a few years ago and returned. By the time I made my most recent tour of the display walls at the local AT&T store, I'd eliminated every phone they offer from my consideration.

When a man is boxed into a corner, qualities sometimes emerge that he didn't realize he possessed. Thus it was that I (Shudder!) held my breath and stuck my big toe into Ebay to test the water. Within seconds I found a new, still in the box Motorola V365 - THE BRICK! A few seconds later, I took a deep breath and ordered it. And then I waited and followed its progress via the USPS tracking code as it made its way from California to me.

The perfect cell phone - THE BRICK!

The new phone arrived yesterday afternoon, only four days after I placed the order. Because the phone it was replacing was also a Motorola I was able, using proprietary software, to suck all of the contacts, pictures, and ringtones out of it and dump them into the new phone within minutes. By the time I went to bed, I was totally "moved into" the new brick with all of my standard personalizations complete!

Between ordering the new V365 and receiving it I remembered that the expansion card, a micro SD, could only be up to 512 megs because the micro 2+ gig cards on the market now hadn't been invented yet for the phone's architecture to be designed to support the larger models. I knew I'd had a 512 card for the original brick which I'd then transferred to my daughter's when she gave it to me, but could I find it? I hunted over and over again in every logical place it could possibly be among my usual gadgetry, but it was as if it had dropped off the planet. When I was reminded to ask St. Anthony to help me find it I offered up the lite prayer, "Tony, Tony! Come around! Something's lost and must be found," and followed it up with a real prayer invoking his uncanny ability to help Catholics find lost things. It took him a few hours to penetrate my dense skull with inspiration, but finally it came to me... Didn't the loaner camera you were using when the trusty Fuji that you carried on your hip went belly up take an SD card? Didn't you use the 512 card in an adapter? There it was in the Nikon! All was well!

Maybe one of the thickest cell phones ever sold, aside from the prototypic monstrosities, the V365 makes its cousin, the RAZR, look like it has a barfing type eating disorder. That's okay. Inside the V is a battery that boasts a nine hour talk time, and there were times when in the course of day I nearly drained it. For the record, I did love the RAZR which is basically the same phone in a different shell with the noteworthy exceptions that the RAZR doesn't take an expansion card so I was always taking out the pictures to make room for new ones, and the V365 has a more substantial feel in a large hand.

I sent both daughters a picture to let them know I'd gotten myself a new brick. The elder, who gave me her old one when I killed my first, commented, "You learn new technology so you can continue to use old technology?" There's a non-sequitur in there. This wasn't about being afraid of change or refusing to change. It was about having exactly what I want and not allowing a corporate giant to tell me what I need by limiting my choices.

So here it is, "The Brick" hanging from the magnet right here by my computer where my phones have always been docked when not in use. Ain't it purty? Oh, and yeah. The string. All my phones get a plain, white, nylon string with a simple washer at the end. It gives 'em character!


Doug said...

Ah, Joe, I can relate to your phone struggle. When I told the kid at the Verizon store that all I did was talk on my phone he looked at me like I was visiting from the Dark Ages. What really gets me about modern phones is the itty bitty keys that fat fingers easily fumble. Fisher-Price needs to make a phone for us old geezers. Big buttons, nice loud audio, bright colors so it's easy to spot when lost in the house.

Joe said...

LOL, Doug! I can see that phone in my mind's eye! Can't imagine finding a holster for it though.