Cell Phone turns 50

There are two sad things about this article.
1, we’ve had cell-phones for the better part of 50 years
2, the author of this article is unable to turn his off.

I go whole weekends without looking at my cell phone (unless I have an active rush job on press.) And I do NOT have it on when out in the boat. I might bring it, just in case I need a tow, but that’s it. You don’t get to call, ping or otherwise bother my down time. :slight_smile:

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Where did the last 50 years go? :wink:

I have my cell, I play games on it LOL. I rarely text. No one ever calls me. Well … my little niece calls once in a blue moon.

I basically have it for emergencies and that’s about it.

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My personal phone is a flip phone. Verizon gave it to me for free, some system upgrade or something that made my old flipper obsolete. But I have a work-issued iPhone…(sigh)

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Early on I found one of those brick sized phones at a bus stop. No idea how it got there and I could only turn it on, not make calls (no clue how to do get an account or any of that stuff).

I was in a stage of job interviews, and I used to get it out and put it on the table while rummaging in my bag, then turn it off and put it away. I wanted to make an impression lol.


I have a cheap Samsung. I used to have a Galaxy S5. It was top of the line back many years ago. I never upgraded because it worked fine for me. Well it finally got to the point I couldn’t use it for anything it was so out of date. I refuse to even entertain what they want for phones now days. I didn’t even pay that much for my first car. (boy I sound old) :wink:

Anyhoo… just a cheapy for emergencies. I won’t be taking close up moon shots … I’m ok with that :wink:

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I use my cellular phone to make outgoing calls and receive incoming calls. It’s called cellular phone for a reason.


@PrintDriver with your flip phone and @RedKittieKat with your emergency phone … you two are making me feel completely extravagant for having a 5 year old iPhone X. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest, obviously. The only time I upgrade my phone is when it becomes so old it’s essentially a brick. But I do find an iPhone to be a pretty useful thing to have.

I often leave my phone behind on hikes or when chilling at the beach. It’s liberating to disconnect, even if just for a few hours. Everyone should try it once in a while!

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I bought a new phone about a month ago after the battery on my 3-year-old iPhone wouldn’t hold a charge. I was all set to buy a Samsung but ended up with another iPhone after making a list of the pros and cons of my situation. It’s an iPhone 13 Mini. I prefer a small phone since I rarely use it for anything that requires a larger display.

My main use for it is listening to podcasts and Spotify when I’m walking our dog or driving someplace. I spend lots of time away from home and need to keep in touch with clients, family, and friends who call, text, and email. I don’t have internet service at my other getaway home, so I use the phone’s hotspot to create a small Wi-Fi zone to use for must-do stuff. It’s slow, but it works. The phone’s camera is more handy than hauling around a DSLR. I’ve found a few apps that I use quite often.

I spend lots of time hiking, riding motorcycles, and exploring various remote locations. When I’m doing these things, my phone is sort of an emergency safety thing.

With all that said, I hate cell phones and wish they had never been invented. Everything I mentioned (other than an emergency safety thing) could be handled in different ways if only other people saw it the same way. I spent 40 years of my life without these expensive nuisance gadgets, and I got around just fine.


I like my galaxy S22 ultra well enough. Previous phone was a galaxy Note 8. I tend to find the s-pen stylus invaluable for quick screenshots of just one portion of the screen that I can immediately send in whatever app I happen to need to communicate in.

That said, it’s a little bit larger than “handy”, and I’m increasingly unhappy with Google’s non-privacy.
I think it Apple would make a pro iphone about this size or slightly larger, and a much smaller apple pencil that tucked into a slot, I’d jump ship and not look back.


I don’t mind cell phones, as long as their being used as a phone and nothing more.
Apps, web browsing and games should have never been added to them, IMO…

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I have a love/hate relationship with cellphones or now, smartphones.

I love smartphones for the ability to download so many different types of apps, to the ability to organize and schedule things easier (alerts, calendar, etc).

On the other hand I hate how now every job, employer and client expect you to be available from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week. If you don’t respond to an email within an hour or two that can hurt you (“Doesn’t your phone alert you when you get a new email!!??”). I don’t like how every aspect of life seems to insist that you “download our app” in order to receive any type of service, even ordering a frickin’ hamburger in a fast food joint. I also dislike how after the compact and comfortable iPhone4, smartphones just got bigger and bigger. It feels like I’m carrying an XL sized scientific calculator on my thigh. And going back to the expectation of being able to be contacted by people via phone no.matter.where.you.go. Thanks to text messaging of course. I imagine it is somewhat like being a doctor being on call with a beeper, except it’s not just your employer that can get a hold of you 24/7 but ALL your contacts (friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, etc).

I wish I had come up in the era where only wealthy CEOs and drug dealers had mobile phones, and the rest of us would have to rely on business cards, rolodexes, brief cases and physical day planners. Those early 90s electronic organizers were nice though. Just enough tech without being a social detriment.

I don’t have a love/hate relationship with them. Just the latter. I don’t have a smartphone. I love the look on people’s faces when you tell them. ‘What? YOU DON’T HAVE A MOBILE PHONE?! How? Why? How do you live? Are you insane?

I have an iPad for all the benefits, when I choose them, but I spend enough of my time in front of a Mac, that when I am out for a beer with my mates, that is exactly where I am, not with half an eye on notifications.

I do own an ancient Nokia that is on pay you go and usually on 0% battery in a drawer somewhere. It is used only of I go out in the car, in case of emergency or in case the bank, et al, need to send me a code. Other than that, I don’t want to know. When I’m out, I’m out. It’s my time.

I figure that if my clients want me only because I’m immediately available 24/7, then I need new clients. I spent too many years playing that ‘jump when I say jump’ game even without them, back in the days when only CEOs and the nefarious had them. Now, I’m a grown up. I know when my deadlines are and I’d hope my clients come back because my work stacks up.

As an aside, the first mobile I ever had was when only both ends of the scale had them. My ex father-in-law was a dru… I jest! He was the MD if a major vehicle manufacturer. When he upgraded, he gave me his old one. 80 minutes on a full charge with max 20minutes talk time. Still; it always raised an eyebrow or two in meetings.

I know one day I’ll have to succumb, but the longer I can hold off, the happier I’ll be.

The Luddites are alive and kicking!

My other half refuses to use one as well. He has never had one and doesn’t want one. I even got him a cheap one for his birthday once to see if he would like it after trying it. Nope. He stuck it in a drawer and we ended up giving it away. I don’t bother anymore. He very much likes to wear his watch to know the time and has maps to figure out where he is going. I wouldn’t call him a luddite though. He does love other forms of technology. He just doesn’t want anyone to feel like they can contact him any time of day or night. We still have a landline because of this. The only part I hate about it is not being able to get a hold of him when he goes off on his own adventures of shopping, appts. or whatever - it doesn’t bother him a bit though LOL :stuck_out_tongue:

Okay, I guess I’ll be the dissenter and admit that outside of design work, I use my smartphone for everything. I prefer the Android OS because I want to use a 3rd-party launcher and widgets I can customize. My family at large uses SMS as a primary means of communication, and it serves us well. Every kind of list, patient portal, several email accounts, navigation, unit conversion, podcasts, weather, online shopping, and another dozen unnamed facets of daily life…

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Back in the late 90s I worked in an organization where the head manager was 60+ years old and refused to use a computer. He hated them and didn’t even have one in his office. People would send emails to his secretary and she’d print them out and put them in stacks on his desk. He’d go through them with a red pen and mark them up with his responses, then she’d open up the email and type up his response and send it back to the person. Everyone else in the org could use computers and would roll their eyes.

I never want to be that guy. I’m 59 and whenever I go into a meeting these days I’m usually the oldest person in there. Ageism is real. It’s going to count against me if I have to tell people there are certain things I can’t do because I’m years and years behind on technology.


I’m 59 too :slight_smile: I pride myself on being pretty tech savvy and in the know about newer things. I would prefer to have top of the line everything and get to play with all the new stuff. I like that most of my family still ask me for help with tech issues. (The older ones AND the younger ones)

I just can’t afford any of it LOL.:woozy_face:

So, I may have a cheapy cell … but it’s out of necessity, not preference. (even if I wouldn’t use it much) :wink:

I need to win the Lottery.

Truth. I just turned 61, and that all by itself is making any continuation of my professional career nearly impossible.


“Ageism is real.”
“…that by itself is making any continuation of my professional career nearly impossible.”

Only recently have I realized just how backwards it is to have a society/culture that’s so youth-centric. Myself, I just assumed that older people, or even just getting older, meant that you were more likely to be “out-of-touch” with regards to trends, skills, ability, etc.

Looking back at culture from previous decades, pre-1960s, it seemed like kids wanted to look, dress and act like adults to some degree. Now it’s the reverse, with adults wanting to look, dress, and act like kids. Instead of wanting to act and appear more mature, we instead want to act and be perceived as forever teen-aged.

How this relates to the graphic design profession (or adult life in general), is that younger people tend to think that they’re doing something new, breaking new ground, and often it seems, we’re just making mistakes that our elders made and learned from 20+ years prior. Or, we spend sleepless nights trying to recreate the wheel.

I think it’s only hurting us to have this misplaced prejudice towards older professionals. Successful people and culture venerate their elders and seek out their knowledge and what they’ve learned from their life experience. Learning from them is what gives you an edge so you don’t make unnecessary mistakes in life (or design).

I think being a luddite just for its own sake can be a bad thing. But new technology isn’t automatically good or better. What’s that saying, “If you’re not paying for the product, YOU are the product.” Too many people I’ve known, young and old, jumped on the latest new tech, without knowing the full extent of how it works or the potential drawbacks, only to get seriously screwed by it later.

To be fair, with new advances and breakthroughs in technology coming out constantly, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep up with it. But again, this scramble to be completely in-tune and on-board with the latest anything can lead to serious drawbacks. In being in such a rush to learn and utilize the latest tech or fad, we’re not taking the necessary time to stop and consider the potential negatives of it.

/rant over

This is a familiar concept to anyone working in Print Industry. I started before personal computers were a thing, so I’ve seen some changes. My first printing machine was a hand cranked Romeo. I trained on a room sized process camera. I used a hot metal typesetting machine to make metal slugs that I then locked into a forme for letterpress printing. I learned to type using WordStar. I worked with guys who did colour photo retouching on film separations, using a goose feather to apply the etching chemicals. My experience tells me that everything changes completely every few years or so. If you don’t keep up you get left behind. The process camera went in the skip. The guys with the incredible skills with the feathers were out 2 months after I started using a Mac with PhotoShop (I still feel bad about that). I’ve never stopped learning, which is why I’ve never been out of work in 45 years. I am also good with the concept of learning skills and technology that may or may not be useful in 3 years time, because plenty of what I learned is completely irrelevant now. That does not mean it was a waste of time to learn. It is never a waste of time to learn anything.

Yeah I use an iPhone. I sometimes even make phone calls on it.

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