Feb 4, 2009

"Tue": I would change cell phones

I kind of loathe actually talking on the phone. We’ve discussed that before. The weird thing is I do enjoy owning a cell phone. It’s cool to send people little messages, listen to music, take pictures, read the news, or various other things all with this little hunk of plastic and metal. But being the greedy, unsatisfied, fallen being that I am, I always want it to do more. I’m living in an age as Arthur Clarke said “where technology has become virtually indistinguishable from magic”, but sometimes I think we need more magic. Not just more magic, smarter magic. I was reading an article earlier in the week about how with the iphone you can take a picture and then using the phone’s GPS capabilities stamp that picture with the coordinates of where it was taken. So when you upload it to the internet, your pictures can show up on a map based on where you took them. Conversely if you want to see an area of town, you can look it up on the picture map and see all the pictures that were taken by people in that area of town. Honestly it seems like a pretty cool idea, and I’m not sure why it took so long for someone to figure out that you could do that with a phone attached to a camera.

So here’s a few other ideas features I would want added to my cell phone:

Credit/Debit Card

This one is actually happening…well, it’s happening everywhere but the U.S anyway. Instead of having to carry around all those credit cards, and then trying to figure out how to use every variation of the credit card machines, why not just touch your phone to the credit card machine and punch in a code. That’s it! Your done! The phone could even tell you right then and there how much you had left in your checking account, or how much you owed to VISA. Even better what if you could transfer the money phone to phone. If you lose that bet with your friend; you can pay up instantly. It would save friendships.

TV Remote

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find the TV remote. Usually because someone you live with didn’t put it back. Well most everyone has a cell phone, why not just allow those to also operate the TV? You could even personalize and assign your favorite channels to buttons like speed dial. It could be a topic of conversation, “so what channels is your phone set to…..The discovery channel!? Me Too!..Let’s talk about that.”

Garage door opener

I’ve never actually owned a garage door opener, but I’m guessing it’s pretty awesome. Even more awesome though would be not having that ugly, gray block weighing down your sunvisor. I’m sure there’s some security issues to work through, but still, cell phones should be able to handle this.

Car Keys

While we’re talking about cars, why can’t cell phones start cars? They have those little key dongles that start cars that have been around since 1992 yet you’re telling me a cell phone couldn’t just take care of this and free up valuable space in your pocket? Also you could start the car from inside your house that way the A/C already has it nice and cool by the time you make it out to your car.


One of the weird features on my phone is that it will read my text messages to me if I ask it. I’m not really sure why I’d ever do that, except if I was blind or maybe driving. I can also tell my phone to do things like “call so and so” and it seems to understand most of the time. So if the phone can understand speech and it can read text, why can’t it translate a language? You say something in German to my phone, and my phone explains in English what you said. It would be like a crude version of the Rosetta Stone or the Babel Fish from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, minus the awkward worm inside your skull.

Video Phones

Honestly, I kind of thought that there was absolutely no difference between talking to someone on the phone and talking to someone on a video phone (or video chat). But after using skype a couple times let me tell you, there is. The non-verbal stuff is so huge. So most cell phones these days have video cameras included, I feel like the face to face conversations are really just a few months away.


How cool would it be once they have the camera thing figured out to be able to throw that video onto a nearby wall? I’m not talking about a building-sized, theatre image or anything, just maybe 9 inches onto the chair in front of you, the wall next to you, or the person you’re standing behind. You could pull up videos you’ve recorded on your phone and project them for your friends to see, instead of doing that awkward crowding around the 2” screen and pretending like you can see what’s going on.

Multiplayer games

If you have tetris…And I have tetris…why can’t we play each other in tetris? Or Nertz, battleship, jeopardy, pool, miniature golf, etc. These things are communication devices, that play games, yet I can only play games by myself. Why is that?

Active Listener mode

I kind of feel like the world of people that have cell phones could be separated into 2 groups, the people who need to call their friends and unload for 30+ minutes, and the people who receive calls from friends who need to unload. I would probably fall into the latter. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part we receivers do enjoy that you call us to share your life, but it can be tough trying to remain “in” the conversation enough to keep encouraging you on with the “oh yea?……..uh-huh…….yep…….mmmm……really?......oooo..”. I feel like maybe we could just create maybe a 60 second loop of that, and then when we get a call that has the feeling of being a doozy, could just turn on that the Active Listener Mode and a remix of that 60 second clip would play……while we listen of course, but just without the pressure of reassuring the caller every 7 seconds that we are indeed still enthralled.

Vibrate schedule

It’s possible some phones already have this, I don’t really do that much research for these things. I have a pretty set schedule, and I’m tired of trying to remember to turn the phone to silent/vibrate, then remember to turn it back on. The phone has a clock, why can’t it just remember to do this itself? Sundays, I’m going to need to be on vibrate from 9-10:30. Monday, Wednesday, Fridays from 10:45-noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to noon. That seems pretty easy to me. The phone should know that schedule and be able to set itself accordingly.

Some of these ideas I’ll admit probably could use a little more time in the oven. But maybe some of them are already way past due. To be honest I’m not really sure which are which but it probably won’t be too long till we’re laughing at the idea of carrying around those “humongous primitive blocks of plastic” which will just make this list even more entertaining and ridiculous. Which kind of fits the part-time goal of this blog.


  1. "I feel like the face to face conversations are really just a few months away." hahahaha

  2. Dude, the vibrate schedule sounds fantastic.