How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

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AnalyticalEngine
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How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Having become increasingly disillusioned with any and all things related to smartphones/social media, I'm trying to renegotiate how/when I used these technologies.

As far as I see it, the spectrum of telecommunications options includes:
1. No home phone, no home internet, no cell phone
2. Home internet, but no cell phone (possible VoIP at home? Landline?)
3. Home internet and dumb phone
4. Home internet and smart phone

I think #2 would be a good option, but the problem I have is increasing "lock out" for a ton of stuff. For one, two factor authentication basically assumes you have a cell phone (and increasingly a smartphone). A ton of companies now are app-only, like increasingly public transit. And people already think I'm a weird dinosaur for not having social media or venmo/uber/netflix/whatever. I'm concerned I'll become increasingly "irrelevant" as the general public falls more and more down the smartphone/social media rabbit hole.

#3 is also an option, but another problem is cellphone service companies are increasingly moving away from service for dumbphones. I might be able to have a dumbphone for 5 more years, but it would not at all surprise me if dumbphones are not even a think in five years from now. Which puts #2 as a more sustainable solution.

Have any of you done something as "radical" as using a dumbphone or no cell phone? How do you handle people communicating with you?

Hristo Botev
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Hristo Botev »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:12 am
Have any of you done something as "radical" as using a dumbphone or no cell phone? How do you handle people communicating with you?
Not personally (would love to though). But I researched the dumb phone thing rather extensively last year b/c we wanted to get a phone for my daughter (and not a smart phone). The options (at least in the US) are shockingly limited. We ended up doing Consumer Cellular; but to your point about companies moving away, Consumer Cellular explicitly targets the elderly; I don't think it's a business model that even expects to be around in 10 years or so.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@Hristo Botev - That was my experience as well. And a lot of the models of "dumbphones" out there are simply just smartphones with the extra features turned off. For now, it's still marginally possible to get a used dumbphone and attempt to find a carrier, but I really don't expect this to last long. Once that dumbphone dies, it'll be ~5 years into the future, and I bet it will be even more impossible then. Which is why I'm wondering if no-phone is more sustainable.

Although part of the problem with no-phone is that payphones are dead, so if you are traveling or have an emergency, there's not as easily accessible landlines as there used to be. Hence the lock-in problem.

Hristo Botev
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Hristo Botev »

I try and avoid being too tin foil hat about this stuff, but man, if ever there was a technology I'd love to roll backwards, this is it; and if we are moving towards a cashless society, it's just going to get more and more difficult to opt out. Never thought I'd miss the Blackberry and the Nokia bricks; but I do now.

jacob
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by jacob »

I had a dumbphone for a couple of years when I was working in finance. However, I positively hate phones as a way of communicating, so I rarely gave my number away to anyone. Consequentially, the only one who called regularly was some scammer/spammer. The biggest need for a real phone these days would be two-factor verification. I rely on DW's workphone for that now.

I caught a glimpse of the future when I visited Denmark last year. Everyone and everything presumed that everyone owned a smartphone. By everyone I mean the entire universe. For example, bus stops did not have plans with arrival times posted. They had been saved away since "everybody" could just look up the arrival time on their phone. Ticket offices were close to non-existing. Instead you used an app and scanned the resulting bar/QR code when getting on the bus. (The work around would be to print out a ticket on a piece of paper from your home computer which then got scanned.) And so on and so forth. Allowances were still made for dinosaurs like me (and the 65+ demographic) but even then most business or government services required at least access to an internet connected desktop. You could somewhat navigate the system since many places had some level of free wifi. (This is why I adopted my free iPhone5). To avoid two-factor verification, I had to show up in person in one of the few remaining open branches/offices with actual front-desk humans.

I see it as the beginning of a head tax in that everybody is expected to buy some level of phone service and smartphone capability to functionally interact with the rest of society with some of this interaction being mandatory. Of course, people don't even think about that because not owning a smart phone is seen as outright crazy. Some don't even carry cash anymore at all. It's all electronic payments.

What happened is that moving much of the "transactional bureaucracy" over to apps and smartphones made everything extremely convenient. Imagine not waiting in line at the DMV because you set up an appointment at the DMV to the nearest 5 minute marker with 95% of all clients doing that. Or just stepping onto the bus, waving your phone at a reader, ... and having the app inform you immediately about alternate routing insofar a connection was delayed. Now imagine doing this w/o a phone and w/o being able to buy tickets "on the street" or even read a time table. You'd basically have to be a Luddite on a mission trying to resist the change.

On the flipside, this dependency also made people very fragile. Some seemed rather helpless when it came to doing anything insofar there wasn't an app for the particular job. Other [developers] were eager to turn every single problem into an app. I can only imagine what would happen if cell-phone service was out for half a day. Many would not be able to get on public transport, pay for anything, or even find their way home on foot with google maps(*) being down.

(*) Fun fact: I tried hard to buy an actual map made out of paper. It turned out to be impossible. I managed to rip one out of an ancient phone book.

Alphaville
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Alphaville »

i use option 4 with no social media.

i have zero interest in landlines and dumbphones. back in early cellphone days i didn’t have one: talk talk talk. smartphones changed that. i used to have a pda and the smartphone is a better pda, not a better phone.

twitter/fb/instagram are not mandatory or essential on smartphones, although i’ve used twitter as a newsfeed in the past (no posting, just reading sources).

essential for me outside the house are: evernote, omnifocus, camera, email/text (with dictation), voice memos, ynab, contacless payment, bank app, e-tickets, shopping apps, transit apps, gps/maps, audiobooks, music, health insurance app, etc.

if traveling i also carry an ipad for reading/video/light work, and the smartphone provides an internet hotspot when either a public one is not available or when needing to have secured communications (secure relative to public wifi).
Last edited by Alphaville on Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hristo Botev
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Hristo Botev »

I don't want to move this too far afield of AE's topic, but I saw an angle of this last year doing work for a client in the hearing industry. I don't recall the specifics exactly (I was just working on branding issues), but there's some new (?) technology that improves hearing aids in some way, through some sort of pairing relationship/bluetooth functionality between the hearing device and the person's smart phone. SO, are we even moving towards a world where even receiving cutting edge healthcare requires owning a smart phone? Perhaps this is already happening with things like pacemakers.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@Hristo Botev - Completely agree with you that if I could roll back one technology, it would 100% be smartphones. It's basically overran every segment of life. It's even worse if you're part of a younger generation cohort. Gen X+ can kind of get away with less smartphone, but as a Millennial, people look at me like I have two heads when I try to pay them back in cash instead of venmo. And it's one of those trends I just don't see reversing. Clinging to a world without smartphones is like trying to open up a video rental store. It's just not going to work.

I suppose there is the option of having a smartphone and no home internet; you just tether for what you need. But I think I'd rather ditch the phone if possible.

Alphaville
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Alphaville »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:30 am
@Hristo Botev - Completely agree with you that if I could roll back one technology, it would 100% be smartphones.
you’ll have to pry my internet-enabled pda from my cold dead hands :lol:

seriously, an advanced computer that fits in your pocket is such a beautiful thing— but the GIGO principle still rules computers.

Hristo Botev
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Hristo Botev »

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:47 am
seriously, an advanced computer that fits in your pocket is such a beautiful thing— but the GIGO principle still rules computers.
I'm less concerned about GIGO (I also don't do social media, and my apps usage is about as limited as it can be); I'm more concerned that these things allow for a small handful of folks to control more and more of, well, damn near everything. I don't know if it's possible to create a device that is more effective for creating both horizontal and vertical monopolies.

Alphaville
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:00 pm
I don't know if it's possible to create a device that is more effective for creating both horizontal and vertical monopolies.
the railroad?

i guess catching up with the internet is more of a legislative problem than a technological one though.

5ts
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by 5ts »

Go without a phone and you will quickly realize how painful it can be. I had a regular mobile phone for years and when I switched to a smartphone I treated it like a regular phone. No social media, no apps really, just text messages and rare calls. I can download some stupid app if it's required or use the internet if required. It has helped me a few times. I see no point in a non-smartphone. Just get a smartphone and use it like a dumbphone until you need the extra features. Resistance is not only futile but painful.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@5ts - What carrier/plan did you use for that phone? The problem I often have is I feel like I am overpaying for a smartphone when I don't use many of the features. Did you get a pay-as-you-go plan or a burner phone?

Hristo Botev
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Hristo Botev »

Your question wasn't directed to me, but if you're going option 4, we've been mostly happy with getting both internet and mobile phone via Xfinity. The internet is about $20/mo., though you have to play the normal stupid game of leveraging yearl-long contracts, etc. And DW and I pay $15 for 1GB shared data, which can go up to (and sometimes does) $30 when we exceed that 1GB of data. Xfinity keeps moving the goalposts (e.g., it was theoretically possible to pay nothing for mobile when I signed up, so long as you kept your data usage under 250mb or so--but they got rid of that). But ~$35/mo. for both internet and for mobile service for 2 people is pretty good, I think. Neither DW nor I use much data, unless we're traveling.

5ts
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by 5ts »

@ AE
You're right, really only makes sense with pay as you go. I use Ting. About $30 per month for my mixed use (low-moderate actual call minutes, moderate texts, low-moderate data). You can get it down to $11 if just line fee ($6) and up to 1,000 texts ($5). I recommend them because no issues and great customer service, but any pay as you go should work I would think.

ThriftyRob
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by ThriftyRob »

This discussion is US-centric, so this may not be relevant: the most cost effective way to run a smart phone is to buy a SIM-only contract and supply your own phone. This opens up the option of used/older models which can cope adequately if you're not looking to run the latest apps. A 12-month SIM-only deal works out cheaper than a rolling monthly SIM deal. I maximise use of public wifi and use Whatsapp for messaging and calls (over wifi) wherever I can so rarely exceed my allowance. Just for interest, I pay £5.25/month for the SIM which includes 1.5 GB data, 2000 minutes and unlimited SMS.

Loner
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Loner »

I have an iPhone 4 that I bought used for 60$ in 2015. Still works as new, and keeps it charge for a week, though I have installed precisely zero app. I have no data, and I will resist until the end of time unless they give it to me for free. I would hate to have notifications bother me all the time, or to find my eyes glued to the damn thing from morning 'till night. I hate the idea of a mobile phone so much (i.e. to be bother-able all the time) that I often don't even carry it with me. It stays home.

I've only recently had a glimpse of the future Jacob mentions. I went to a restaurant that a friend just opened. The waitress told me to scan the code with my phone to see the menu. I got an amused look when I said I had no data. (I had a second funny look when she asked "What beer will you have" and I replied "I don't drink, I'll just eat"). They brought some half-assed home-printed paper with foods and prices. I guess it will become increasingly difficult to prevent being forced into the system, especially if you're a hip urbanite. I'd hate having to spend on this nonsense.

5ts
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by 5ts »

You are free to go against the grain, but you can't really complain when going against the grain causes you pain. The Technological Society will progess whether we like it or not. Read the book by Jacques Ellul if you want to know why that's true. Jacques Ellul is the guy Ted K. ripped off for his what everyone thinks is an oh so brilliant "Manifesto", but Jacques Ellul did not call for violence. If Ted K. had actually understood the book and ideas he ripped off, he would know violence is not the answer. So Ted K. is a plagiarist with bad reading comprehension and a murderer. That's my diatribe about technology, thank you.

Loner
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Loner »

Oh yes, I read him a while ago. I'm aware I'm not going to change anything by myself, but I will resist nonetheless and protect my right to complain.

Situation is made even worse by planned obsolescence. I do have a phone, and I can access wifi if I really needed to, but phones (devices in general) become obsolete/unsupported so quick that you need to change it often if you want to use those apps that might soon be necessary. It's costly.

Alphaville
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Re: How much and which telecommunications technology to use? (Home internet, home phone, smartphone, etc)

Post by Alphaville »

i have an iphone SE that’s loaded with apps but never bothers me because i use the do not disturb button and i mute notifications.

you can also turn off cell data, wifi, and bluetooth while you’re not using them. and you can put it on airplane mode also without being in an actual airplane.

it’s all there in the settings for you to use. no need to throw the baby with the bathwater.

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