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Technology Thursday at Mom Spa
It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up.
Never again will you pay for a conference call, or require a special dial-in number, or mess around with access codes.
[I]t sends text messages to whichever cellphones you want — even multiple phones simultaneously. Even more important, it collects them in your Web in-box just like e-mail. You can file them, search them and, for the first time in cellphone history, keep them. They don’t vanish forever once your cellphone gets full.
The rest of the article has more. To me, this is how phones should work. And it got me thinking about phone technology generally.
It seems only a few short years ago that people began debating whether to retain a wired landline or cancel it and just use their cell phones. In my house we have a landline and 2 cell phones. I want hardwired 911 emergency services and I still don't trust the reliability of the cell networks, especially in the case of an emergency. But I know plenty of people who have dropped their landline.
I don't even like talking on the phone and haven't really enjoyed it since I was in junior high. (I do remember being on the phone a lot then, but I can't for the life of me imagine what we talked about.) My 9-month old, though, is fascinated by our phones. When I talk to his grandparents I put them on speaker so he can hear their voices and he's constantly grabbing for it. At this point, it seems that he just wants to do a taste test and push some of the buttons. But in just a few short years we'll be deciding whether to get him his own phone. At the time, the features of Google Voice will probably be but a small subset of the features telephone technology will offer then. And this is only with respect to the telephone aspects of these things, not all of the goodies that come along with smart phones--which have basically become small handheld computing platforms.
Even though I'm not a fan of the phone (please, please, send me email instead - or better yet, let's go out for a drink), the need and drive to communicate - person-to-person, in real-time, and synchronously - is not going away anytime soon, no matter how slick and clever asynchronous modes of communication (like email and instant messaging) become. It's fascinating to see what new technologies do to transform even seemingly basic tools, like voice communication over the phone.
Bonus parenting phone tip I've seen on a few parenting lists I'm on: To teach your children your phone number, have them learn it as a song to the tune of "Frere Jacques":
Mum's cell phone, Mum's cell phone.
I think that's genius. But first, I have to teach my kid to talk!
by Lynette Millett