Laptops and Wristops
By Ernest Lilley
Summer is winding down and we're back from the beach, or we would be if we actually went to the beach. I'm still waiting for a laptop you can read while sitting in a beach chair in the sun the way people always do in commercials. There are some, and I've tried them, but transflective displays have a long way to go before they'll be good enough. I didn't even mount any expeditions to the desert or take a bike trip across the country, proof that I'm slowing down. I hung out around Washington, DC where we're settled for the moment, and enjoyed all the Wi-Fi and cellular access that comes with being in a real metropolitan area.
Losing My Landline
In fact, our coverage is so good that we decided to lose the landline, which was costing about $50 a month-money I could be wasting on lattés and other necessities of modern life. More, I was finding the beep of my answering machine increasingly annoying, and the only time I used the phone was to fax something to a financial institution, since they're paranoid about e-mail. The last time anyone cared if I had a landline was when we set up an account at Blockbuster and they insisted they assured us that they would verify it before they'd let us rent videos. Of course, that's ancient history, practically two years ago. Now we use NetFlix and they keep us updated by e-mail anyway.
So we got rid of the landline last month, and aside from having to find faxing alternatives, it's been fine. We do have a terrific signal here or it would have been a non-starter, and I miss the superior quality of my office speaker phone. My Sprint/Sanyo 5400 cell, which is the slimmer non-ruggedized version of the 7300 I looked at in my last column, works tolerably as a speakerphone, but it's not nearly as good.
The functionality I miss most is the ability to plug my recorder into the phone, something we journalist types need to do on a regular basis, so I've got to do some research on the various adapters which work with cell phones.