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Sunday 4 June 2017

Into the unknown

For as long as they've been apparent I've loathed smartphones (especially Iphones). There are other reasons but I hate the way they invalidate conversation: an impasse occurs and instead of trying to work out the solution via communal reasoning, someone looks up the answer. Seemingly unaware that disconnected facts are quite different from intelligence. And lo, we know the exact height of the Eiffel Tower!

But I'm a reasoning being and I know I must eventually buy a smartphone. I live in an isolated city, Hereford. The ethos is agricultural, the speed of thought glacial, the white heat of technology is nothing more than a dull glow. Yet new, presumably expensive, systems have been installed in the multi-storey car-park and they allow for payment by smartphone. Good idea: coins are such a nuisance. If dull old Hereford feels the need I must ensure I am neither duller nor older than my neighbours.

Another point. Our family found itself sitting on the first-floor of a fish restaurant in Bouzigues, France. Yet the day's specials appeared only on a chalk-board downstairs. Zach was despatched with a smartphone to photograph the board and I, for one, ordered turbot.

Despite being comfortably off, I loathed smartphones because of their capital and operational costs and the sheeplike willingness of many to accept these gross outgoings. Yet daughter Occasional Speeder and grandson Ian held hands with me and revealed I could buy a smartphone for £90 (half that if I wished) and experiment with pay-as-you-go at about £10 a month.

There are other benefits including a real-time display of operational expenditure. I will not watch movies or telly, nor join Facebook, nor – God forbid! – Twitter. Perhaps I risk being corrupted; well, I’ve always stood firm against Murdoch’s Sky.


  1. As recently demonstrated by an overworked and poorly equipped (in the traditional sense) physician at the ENT outpatient's department, smartphones make excellent flashlights (but you must install the app first).

  2. Sabine: I suppose the alternative would be not to go out at night.

  3. No smartphone yet for me. Better half has one though. Our only onboard navigation in the car. Flip phone (dumb) is much more compact - I don't like carrying the slab.

  4. MikeM: When we drive to Southern France we use the car satnav, augmented by my daughter's Iphone GPS which has other useful features. The perfect system.