As a geek, I'm sort of expected to own a cell phone (or two!). But I don't have one, and likely won't in the near future. The truth is, I'm a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to new technology. I'm happy to acquire, play with, and disassemble the latest gadgets, but I won't trust them until they've proven worthy. So what's my beef with cell phones?
- Sound quality: When my girlfriend calls me from her cellphone, half the time her voice sounds like a robot from a cheap sci-fi flick. (Nothing says "I love you" like a robot with pincers.) As if that weren't bad enough, any ambient noise is converted into the auditory version of a Jackson Pollack painting.
- Sketchy contracts: I consider myself fairly skilled at reading through thick legalese, but damn do they have some good contract lawyers. I use Linux because I don't want to have to try to outwit my computer every day -- I'd like to have a cell phone contract I can simply trust.
- Hidden fees: Someone told me about their experience with Suncom's "nationwide coverage". The deal was that if she saw "Suncom network" in the corner of the display, the call wasn't roaming. Then she got a huge bill, because she was in an AT&T-carried area and the display read "Suncom & AT&T". Technicalities will bite you in the ass.
- Over-priced and over-featured: I want a simple phone with a black-and-white screen, no games, no camera, and a pay-for-what-I-use calling plan. Unfortunately, they don't offer that -- for example, if I go for a plan that has nation-wide coverage, I end up with bluetooth, GPS, web capability, and a camera. I don't want to pay for all that!
- No control over my bill: When someone calls Collect on my landline, I can refuse the call. When I call long distance from one landline to another, it doesn't hurt the callee. However, the same is not true of cell phones. I have to pay for inbound voice and text as well as outbound ones. Not only that, texting to some numbers will incur an arbitrary fee I can't choose to accept or reject. No way!
Why do you have or not have a cellphone?