Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

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machinehead's picture
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Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

A new phone-based generation gap is widening, claims the WaPo:

A generation of e-mailing, followed by an explosion in texting, has pushed the telephone conversation into serious decline, creating new tensions between baby boomers and millennials -- those in their teens, 20s and early 30s.

Nearly all age groups are spending less time talking on the phone; boomers in their mid-50s and early 60s are the only ones still yakking as they did when Ma Bell was America's communications queen. But the fall of the call is driven by 18- to 34-year-olds, whose average monthly voice minutes have plunged from about 1,200 to 900 in the past two years, according to research by Nielsen. Texting among 18- to 24-year-olds has more than doubled in the same period, from an average of 600 messages a month two years ago to more than 1,400 texts a month, according to Nielsen.

Young people say they avoid voice calls because the immediacy of a phone call strips them of the control that they have over the arguably less-intimate pleasures of texting, e-mailing, Facebooking or tweeting. They even complain that phone calls are by their nature impolite, more of an interruption than the blip of an arriving text.

Not only are people making fewer calls, but they are also having shorter conversations when they do call. The average length of a cellphone call has dropped from 2.38 minutes in 1993 to 1.81 minutes in 2009, according to industry data. And between 2005 and 2009, as the number of minutes people spent talking on cellphones inched up, the number of cellphone messages containing text or multimedia content ballooned by 1,840 percent.

Land lines are disappearing. Verizon, the nation's second-largest land line carrier behind AT&T, says its hard-wired phone connections have dropped from 50 million in 2005 to 31 million this year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/07/AR2010080702848.html?hpid=topnews

Though rich on facts, the Wa Po article doesn't venture a guess as to the reason for the decline in voice calls. I'll hazard a couple. One is that phones have become multifunctional platforms for texting, web surfing, photos, music, videos, TV, etc. When you're engaged in these other functions, it's distracting to receive an actual, you know, voice call -- as compared to the old days, when a phone was just a phone.

Another reason for the rise of texting is privacy and convenience. People who spend their days around others -- students, office workers -- can still carry on private conversations by texting. Whereas for private voice calls, they need to step outside. You see this all the time -- people standing outside their houses for voice privacy. Plus, many states have declared war on people talking while driving, which has cut heavily into a prime time for chatting.

And so, in a smartphone and TiVo-enabled world where nearly every electronic activity can be time-shifted, a real-time voice call demanding immediate attention comes to be seen as intrusive.

As for the headlong plunge in landlines, last year Verizon sent me a $400 bill for a couple of hours of calls to a nearby nation. I laughed in their face, stiffed them for the bill, and switched to a $25/month VOIP service with unlimited free calling to 60 countries, and better features to boot (such as transcribed, emailed voice messages). Like the dinosaur and the dodo bird, the pea-brained landline telcos are maladapted for survival in a post-monopoly communications market. When the grey-haired Boomers (the last cohort raised on landline phones) shuffle off this mortal coil, so will these 19th century, copper-wired monstrosities.

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
machinehead wrote:

When the grey-haired Boomers (the last cohort raised on landline phones) shuffle off this mortal coil, so will these 19th century, copper-wired monstrosities.

I'm one of those boomers, although my hair is nowhere near grey. I still have my landline, although the main use for us is the internet that it supplies. No cellphone and no answering machine, so when we are out we have total privacy without the intrusion of a phone call that the now generation seems to consider impolite. I must say our daughter-in-law annoys us when she comes over and spends most of her time visiting on her iPhone rather than with us.

While the copper-wire monstosities will disappear our telco has repositioned for the 21st century. They introduced internet in 2002 and have a 4g cell network. Most recently they've installed fibre to the home and introduced TV which can be run off an X-box as well as their set top adapter. They currently offer 15 Mbps internet service and are increasing their backbone to supply 100 Mbps in the near future.

I don't have a smart phone since my netbook screen is about as small as I want to go for surfing, its a convenient size for travelling and I don't need to be in constant touch as I'm retired. I'm sure the constant availability provided by cell phones leads to increased levels of stress for the working population as they never have any chance to be truly alone and relax.

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
SteveW wrote:

I don't have a smart phone since my netbook screen is about as small as I want to go for surfing, its a convenient size for travelling and I don't need to be in constant touch as I'm retired. I'm sure the constant availability provided by cell phones leads to increased levels of stress for the working population as they never have any chance to be truly alone and relax.

Fully concur; neither do I. But by popular demand, smartphones seem to be this decade's 'must have' product. Inadvertently, they may be shifting demand away from the voice-call function, to all the other things they can do.

Related question: will more texting promote literacy, or degrade it (as in '2 bad 4 U, gramps') ? Laughing

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

I just keep thinking about what's going to happen to this microwave communication addicted society when:

(1) The tumors start blooming in their brain and body after 30 years of relentless self exposure to microwave radiation.

(2) When the first terrorist EMP weapon goes off.

(3) When war breaks out with China and the first thing that happens is all the satellites get taken out.  This one I find particularly amusing when I envision all the GPS/nav unit non-map readers running around in circles in the absence of electronic guidance from above.

(4) When a major charged particle storm hits and the satellites get fried.

(5) When a global totalitarian government is fully entrenched and your movements are controlled and enforced by TPTB with the help of the communication device you are carrying around with you.

 

If one of the topics talked about here is resiliency, then just maybe those archaic landlines just might provide an added level of resilience and redundancy to be of some benefit.  

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
ao wrote:

I just keep thinking about what's going to happen to this microwave communication addicted society when:

(1) The tumors start blooming in their brain and body after 30 years of relentless self exposure to microwave radiation.

(2) When the first terrorist EMP weapon goes off.

(3) When war breaks out with China and the first thing that happens is all the satellites get taken out.  This one I find particularly amusing when I envision all the GPS/nav unit non-map readers running around in circles in the absence of electronic guidance from above.

(4) When a major charged particle storm hits and the satellites get fried.

(5) When a global totalitarian government is fully entrenched and your movements are controlled and enforced by TPTB with the help of the communication device you are carrying around with you.

 

If one of the topics talked about here is resiliency, then just maybe those archaic landlines just might provide an added level of resilience and redundancy to be of some benefit.  

 

Quite my friend

V

ps Here is Stevie Nicks - for those of you into retro- speaking about texting. She is one sharp lady.

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

V,

Amen.

It always cracks me up when I see people get excited about a new phone that's coming out and lining up to be the first to pay the highest price for the brand new communication commodity.  It's a freakin' phone for dog's sake (if I may borrow your useage), a tool, a utilitarian device.  It's like getting excited about your underwear.  I'm sure porno-phones where you make virtual love to your phone are in the works for future release. 

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
machinehead wrote:

Related question: will more texting promote literacy, or degrade it (as in '2 bad 4 U, gramps') ? Laughing

Hmm, showing my age again, when I was a young child we had puzzle books that included puzzles of this type for deciphering.

But it started in the internet age (I've been on the net since 1979) when non-typists had to use keyboards to communicate and so developed many acronyms. OTOH single thumb texting has just exaggerated this trend FWIW.

However being 'text literate' does not necessarily imply an inability write articles although it tends to degrade literacy. An opposite trend is the rise of blogging for both the author and reader. Another trend of the last 20 years has been the rise of 'iconic' for both computer users and international travellers, amusing since the first written Western language was the pictographic, cuneiform Sumerian script. 'Iconic' possibly represents the early development of a universal read/write only human language unrelated to speech.

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
SteveW wrote:

But it started in the internet age (I've been on the net since 1979) 

Wow, you were sharing an office with Al Gore, huh? Wink

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
SteveW wrote:

But it started in the internet age (I've been on the net since 1979) when non-typists had to use keyboards to communicate and so developed many acronyms. OTOH single thumb texting has just exaggerated this trend FWIW.

However being 'text literate' does not necessarily imply an inability write articles although it tends to degrade literacy. An opposite trend is the rise of blogging for both the author and reader. Another trend of the last 20 years has been the rise of 'iconic' for both computer users and international travellers, amusing since the first written Western language was the pictographic, cuneiform Sumerian script. 'Iconic' possibly represents the early development of a universal read/write only human language unrelated to speech.

Since the mode of communication seems to be regressing from the videophones that had first been explored back in the 60s, to voice, to text, my guess is that, with the proper marketing, the next trend will probably be a reversion to Morse code.  It'll be easy to transmit entirely by feel using only a single key and reception could be achieved without even looking at a screen via a vibrator that imparts the feel of the dots and dashes with a repeat feature built in so you could replay the message if you miss a part.  Better yet, you build a phone shoe ala Maxwell Smart with the dots and dashes activated by your big toe.  This way you could sit in a classroom, meeting, social setting,etc. and send and receive information without anyone being the wiser.  I can see it now: "Get a foot into the future with the new Apple Tiptoe Touch Phone." 

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

Just throwin' up a Hail Mary here to see what people think.

 Is it (dislike of voice conversations) because people no longer actually know how to be intimate or are afraid of/intimidated by intimacy?

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
ao wrote:
SteveW wrote:

But it started in the internet age (I've been on the net since 1979) when non-typists had to use keyboards to communicate and so developed many acronyms. OTOH single thumb texting has just exaggerated this trend FWIW.

However being 'text literate' does not necessarily imply an inability write articles although it tends to degrade literacy. An opposite trend is the rise of blogging for both the author and reader. Another trend of the last 20 years has been the rise of 'iconic' for both computer users and international travellers, amusing since the first written Western language was the pictographic, cuneiform Sumerian script. 'Iconic' possibly represents the early development of a universal read/write only human language unrelated to speech.

Since the mode of communication seems to be regressing from the videophones that had first been explored back in the 60s, to voice, to text, my guess is that, with the proper marketing, the next trend will probably be a reversion to Morse code.  It'll be easy to transmit entirely by feel using only a single key and reception could be achieved without even looking at a screen via a vibrator that imparts the feel of the dots and dashes with a repeat feature built in so you could replay the message if you miss a part.  Better yet, you build a phone shoe ala Maxwell Smart with the dots and dashes activated by your big toe.  This way you could sit in a classroom, meeting, social setting,etc. and send and receive information without anyone being the wiser.  I can see it now: "Get a foot into the future with the new Apple Tiptoe Touch Phone." 

 

Maxwell Smart? ao you are an official geezer LOL

V

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
ao wrote:

Since the mode of communication seems to be regressing from the videophones that had first been explored back in the 60s, to voice, to text, my guess is that, with the proper marketing, the next trend will probably be a reversion to Morse code.  It'll be easy to transmit entirely by feel using only a single key and reception could be achieved without even looking at a screen via a vibrator that imparts the feel of the dots and dashes with a repeat feature built in so you could replay the message if you miss a part.  Better yet, you build a phone shoe ala Maxwell Smart with the dots and dashes activated by your big toe.  This way you could sit in a classroom, meeting, social setting,etc. and send and receive information without anyone being the wiser.  I can see it now: "Get a foot into the future with the new Apple Tiptoe Touch Phone." 

ao

If you are not in marketing you should be. You've identified a new market and a way to promote it.  That is hilarious.

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
ao wrote:

It'll be easy to transmit entirely by feel using only a single key and reception could be achieved without even looking at a screen via a vibrator that imparts the feel of the dots and dashes with a repeat feature built in so you could replay the message if you miss a part.

Funny, but the scary part is I suspect this is already done - skipping the morse code of course. Have you watched a teenager text lately?  I've seen many that can text without ever looking at the phone and I suspect there are already applications on smartphones to read your texts to you through your bluetooth headset as they arrive without any interaction from the user..... Laughing 

SteveW wrote:

I must say our daughter-in-law annoys us when she comes over and spends most of her time visiting on her iPhone rather than with us.

Sounds like you need one of these.

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

Texting -- never got into it. Seems easier to just talk to someone voice-to-voice, although I did see on TV some time ago teenage girls who were so adept at texting that they could perform it with their hands behind their back at lightning speed. And I remember seeing Paris Hilton doing something with her cell phone in the middle of sex. So apparently people are pretty damn adaptive to new technology and really take multi-tasking to heart. For me, it seems like a waste of life. 

As a friend once told me, "Computers are good servants, but make very poor masters."

XRM

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
rhare wrote:
SteveW wrote:

I must say our daughter-in-law annoys us when she comes over and spends most of her time visiting on her iPhone rather than with us.

Sounds like you need one of these.

 

These are, unfortunately, illegal here.  I looked into getting one a few years ago but then found out they were illegal and didn't want to risk a customs confiscation.  It's interesting how the price has dropped considerably since then, like almost all consumer electronics a few years after their initial release. 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
xraymike79 wrote:

I did see on TV some time ago teenage girls who were so adept at texting that they could perform it with their hands behind their back at lightning speed. 

'Texting -- on a sea of forgotten teardrops ...'

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

I'm with you MH, give me aphone that is nothinig but a phone.  Having been forced to deal with many customers by e-mail for many years it will be a cold day in Death Valley before I ever text anyone.  What you could handle in 2 minutes on the phone usually took hours by e-mail by the time you get the back forth questions /responses handled.

I'm reminded of an Oregon company I heard of.  They offered a service that would read you your e-mails over the phone. 
Gee, I thought wouldn't it be wonderful if someone could call you and leave a voice message that you could retrieve?

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

XRM
"And I remember seeing Paris Hilton doing something with her cell phone in the middle of sex."

You know Paris Hilton? Did you videotape it? ;-)

About the only texting this geezer (when does geezerdom begin?) does is to my almost deaf friend, I can use my email to connect with his blackberry and it's a lot easier then using a cell phone.

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech

That cell blocker device needs to be installed in every school.  Students text constantly during classes and I end up with text speak in the middle of academic papers.

Texts and FB have their places,   but most teens severely abuse them.  They are even willing to admit to sitting at a table with some one and texting them.  They also admit that they suspect they are worse at interpreting facial expression and tone of voice inflection as mood indicators than are people who are not reliant on text.

Texting hall of fame over many many people who have been dumped via text was some one who's own mother texted her that her father had died.

 

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Re: Voice Calls: Geezer Tech
land2341 wrote:

Texting hall of fame over many many people who have been dumped via text was some one who's own mother texted her that her father had died.

Yeah, I saw that one too:

Dad B dead, d00d. Need U 2 come home 2t suite. K? Moms

Surprised

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