Friday, February 25, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now??

Cell phones are everywhere, soon to be absolutely everywhere. I don't mind, I sorta like them. I enjoy my cell phone, and feel they are inevitable. However, there is a problem. People seem to get slightly confused when they use them. As if it takes a bit more thought then using a traditional phone. People act downright funny on their cell phones. Well, this creates a problem. It seems that people just don't know how to act when they're talking into a cell phone. Well, here are my thoughts on Cell phone usage and etiquette.
First I'll start with the walkie-talkie phones. For those who are not familiar with it, it's a cell phone that also works as a walkie-talkie for small groups, usually families. If you have one, stop using it. They are the most obnoxious thing ever. Ever been in a store, and suddenly you hear the tell tale beep of the walkie-talkie phone about to kick on. And out the phone comes the voice of the over bearing wife of a man trying to get away from his family on a shopping trip: "where are you? What are you doing." All of this, both sides, or multiple sides of the conversation is amplified for you to hear. It's bad when you have to listen to one side of an uncomfortable conversation, but both? When the walkie-talkie beeps, nothing good can ever come next. If someone needs to be in contact with you so urgently, that they can not even dial your number first, then chances are they are a pain in the ass.
Next, and this is important. All cell phones use something called compression. What this does is takes volume dynamics away, in order to make the signal simpler, and easier to digitize. What does this mean to you and your cell phone? It mean, no matter how loud you talk into you phone, it doesn't change how loud you sound on the other end. So, NO YELLING into your cell phone. It doesn't make you any louder on the other side. If someone is having trouble hearing you, wait a few seconds and hopefully the signal will improve. Screaming what you just said into the phone again, will not work, and if they do happen to hear you or understand you, it is coincidence, and has nothing to do with your yelling into the phone.
As a matter of fact everyone will be a lot better off if we all speak in a calm and civil voice at a reasonable volume when speaking on our cell phones in public. Speak as if the person is there with you, don't speak loudly.
Turn off you phone! The off button is the only thing that may save mankind. Turn it off at least once a day. Turn it off in theaters, church, when dining, and at any kind of performances. Once you get in the habit of turning it off sometimes, and on others, you'll find it even more convenient then ever.
Soon everyone will have cell phones, all over the world. So, get used to it! And the sooner we all figure out how to have one and use one with courtesy, they better off we all will be.

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