PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

A Smartphone — Finally!

June 5, 2018

With considerable hesitance I finally purchased my first smartphone. I’ve lived with a dumb cell phone for many years, but maybe it’s time. I’m sure I’m well behind the younger generations, but I wonder if my fellow retirees are as addicted to them as our kids and grandkids are?

You may think that a guy who’s department (Field Engineering, Technical Support Group, System Integrity) lived with the phone on our ear, would be a bit quicker to jump on the smartphone technology. Back then, the phone was our primary tool for providing support for our field offices and coordinating with the various Headquarters departments.

The Internet eventually came into being, but before it existed, the phone was the tool of choice. I suspect that is the tool I, and others in our group, communicated with many of you now readings this. Back in the day, the accounting department would tell me I had the biggest phone bill in the Company. Maybe they were just trying to get the costs down. They also griped about how many plane tickets we bought. The phone was more cost effective than air fare. But we did plenty of both.

Many individuals and organizations prefer to use your mobile phone as a primary contact for you. That includes the assumption that you always have your phone with you, its ON, the battery is charged, you have a network signal, and you are able and willing to respond. After my 4+ decades of being tied to the phone, I’m not sure I’m willing to reconnect that chain. My old dumb phone was only ON when I needed to make a call, or expected that someone may need me sooner than I was planning to be back at home (where my answering machine is).

This new phone has more computing power than any desktop computer I ever had, and probably more than the later laptops as well. I think the sound quality and other telephone features are secondary in priority to the phone designers, compared to all the other features. Then again maybe it’s my tired ears.

Texting will also be something to learn. That was more work than it was worth on my old flip phone where each key represented three letters. Old fashioned calling was more effective. However, I think we have reversed the trend that everyone always wanted a bigger monitor. I don’t think this smartphone will push aside my laptop screen with a real keyboard. (on which I typed this) Do I really need all of this communicating power available at all times and in all places?

I don’t think it is the technology that concerns me. I can figure that out. It is whether or not I am willing to fully commit to this current world of instant and continuous availability – and live up to everyone’s expectations about your availability. That sounds more like the ball and chain I retired from.

SO – – Do I -or- Don’t I – keep this thing ON more regularly?

Gene