The Party That
Called You Has Changed Its Mind
by Mad Dog
has launched a service that lets people who have mobile video phones
watch movies and TV shows. On a 1½” by 1¼” screen. And pay for the
||My cell phone is not my
friend. I realize this puts me firmly in the minority, but hey, I’ve
never had a problem with being called cranky. Except of course when I
really am, in which case that’s not a good thing to say to me. After
all, there’s a fine line between cranky and homicidal.
Let me get this out of the way: a
cell phone is a great tool. There, I’ve said it. Of course, so is a
rechargeable power drill yet I don’t walk around with one of them
everywhere I go, though lord knows it would be quieter than some of the
cell phone conversations we’re forced to endure. The truth is, I
don’t usually carry my cell phone with me. I take it if I think I
might need it, not because we’ve become conjoined twins joined at the
holster. Not that it really makes much of a difference whether I carry
it or not. After all, I often don’t answer the phone even if it’s
sitting in my hand, especially if I don’t know who it is that’s
causing the phone to display “Unknown ID.” Okay, I never answer if I
don’t know who is calling. It’s a control issue. No telephone, no
matter how small, cute, and obnoxious its ring might be, is going to
control me, dammit. This is man against machine. Shepherd vs. sheep.
H.L. Mencken taking on Dale Carnegie. Hey, someone’s got to keep that
curmudgeonly spirit alive.
But that’s not to say I can’t appreciate new features.
Take StealthText, the British service that lets you send a text message
that deletes itself from the recipient’s cell phone as soon as it’s
been read. Hopefully while playing the theme from Mission Impossible.
|| There’s no
question that a cell phone is a good means of communication. It beats
semaphore, smoke signals, telegrams, beating drums, and two tin cans on
a string hands down, the latter only because no one wants to walk around
with a big spool of string hanging off their belt, even if the cans are
infinitely more fun to use. A cell phone can also be a decent camera,
calculator, notepad, and alarm clock, at least when I can remember how
to access and use them. But cell phone companies aren’t content with
that, they want phones to be everything — PDAs, MP3 players, game
consoles, and now movie theaters.
true. Sprint has launched a service that lets people who have mobile
video phones watch movies and TV shows. On a 1½”
by 1¼” screen. And
pay for the inconvenience. I could see me watching a short clip, a
trailer, or even a brief newscast, but a full length movie? Who’s
sponsoring these, Lenscrafters?
You have to admire Sprint’s logic
— since everyone has taken out a second mortgage so they can buy a
surround sound TV with a screen that’s wider than John Goodman, why
not let them take that same home theater experience on the road by
giving them the opportunity to squint at King Kong on a cell
phone screen the size of four postage stamps? Two if they’re
commemoratives. Actually, it might not be so bad — “so” being the
imperative word — were it not for the opening lineup of movies that
includes such memorable gems as One-Eyed Jacks with Marlon Brando
and Angel and the Badman with John Wayne. Heck, the newest movie
available so far is 1986’s Short Circuit. I know, who of us
hasn’t dreamed of watching Ally Sheedy run around with goofy robots on
our cell phone?
they add a “Retract” button I’d probably use my cell phone more.
Heck, I might even start carrying it since I’d have more freedom from
My feeling about this is very likely an age thing. After all,
unlike the younger generation, I’m not into downloading different ring
tones for each caller, I don’t have super annoying animated Bratz
wallpaper, and the only game I play on my cell phone is telephone tag.
But that’s not to say I can’t appreciate new features. Take
StealthText, the British service that lets you send a text message that
deletes itself from the recipient’s cell phone as soon as it’s been
read. Hopefully while playing the theme from Mission Impossible.
And not the Tom Cruise movie version, the TV one. While it’s a little
pricey at 89-cents per self-deleting message, it can be worth it for
sensitive business notes, potentially risky romance messages,
instructions to your sleeper cell mates, and for anyone who is bummed
over not being chosen to be the next James Bond.
If this service works out, hopefully
they’ll come up with a “retrieve” function next. You know, a way
to get your voicemail, email, or text message back after it’s been
sent but before it’s been read or listened to. Personally, a
“Retract” button would get a lot of use out of me. Even at 89-cents
a shot. How many times have you changed your mind, realized you should
have waited a few hours before replying so you had time to calm down, or
figured out that you were such a dork you won’t be able to show your
face in public for months lest you run into the recipient of a message?
Yeah, me too.
If they add a “Retract” button
I’d probably use my cell phone more. Heck, I might even start carrying
it since I’d have more freedom from foolishness. Answer the phone and
instantly know you don’t want to talk to the person who called?
Retract. Dial an ex when you meant to dial your current? Retract. Call a
business contact and start off by saying, “Hi baby” because you
thought you were calling your sweetheart? Retract. Hey, for that kind of
functionality I’d even spring for a ringtone or two.
©2005 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while chatting on your cell phone.