Now you’ve got broadband, text me.


Some years ago, I got an email from a mate which said “Now you’ve got broadband, send me a text.”

I just stared at the email on the screen of my desk top computer before finally emailing him back the one word, “Why?”

I’m afraid I couldn’t understand his answer, but it seemed to boil down to ‘because you can.’

I felt my comment still stood, ‘Why?’

It’s just that yesterday I was talking to a chap, he’s a decent bloke, competent, useful, and if fate has led him to becoming an office wallah, it’s not really his fault and nobody holds it against him.

He was saying how he’d ended up taking a fortnights holiday because he hadn’t managed to get all his days used up before the year end. The day his holiday started a farming friend of his was rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke.

Our office wallah showed his true mettle and for ten days out of the fourteen he worked full time (so we’re talking about twelve hour days here,) alongside his friend’s son and they pitched in and not merely kept everything fed, but got sheds cleaned out and tidied up so that when the friend came out of hospital (fortunately it wasn’t a stroke) he didn’t have any catching up to do.

The reason the chap mentioned this to me comes in the punch line. He said, “I had ten days mucking out sheds, feeding round, spreading slurry, and my phone never rang once. It was heaven.”

Now I realise I’m really blessed in that we don’t have a mobile phone signal here, so my phone, an elderly nokia, lives switched off in a drawer. If people want me, there’s the land line.

When I go out, mostly I remember to take the phone and sometimes I even bother to switch it on. But it doesn’t matter, if people want me, there’s still the land line. If I’m out and they phone, my lady wife will take a message, and I’ll get back to them on my return.

If I’m out and she’s out, well try ringing later.

Why do people have to be able to be in constant in touch?

Now I can see the advantage of a mobile phone. If I’ve got a problem, or I’m running late, then I can switch the phone on, ring home and let them know. Sometimes if I remember I’ll leave it switched on, on the off chance home want to contact me (I don’t think there’s more than six people have the number.)

I have a friend whose use of the phone I admire, it’s a genuine tool of his trade; he can see something, price it, buy it if it’s worth buying and have it sold before he’s even left the shop. That is something that couldn’t have been done ten years ago.

His phone also holds an inordinate number of books so he always has something to read with him. This is possibly the one use that would tempt me to getting a more up-to-date phone. (Even nokias fail eventually, especially if they’re jostling in your pocket with your car keys. At some point I’ll have to bite the bullet and get a new one, this will probably happen this decade.)

But at the moment my phone costs me about £15 a year on pay as you go, which isn’t bad for a phone that cost £25 with £20 phone credit. Looking at the price of contracts for a ‘decent’ phone, given I spend less a year than these contracts cost a month, I might just keep on sticking a paperback in my jacket pocket.

Edited to add that since then I have acquired a ‘smart phone.’ I switch it on far more often to use the (admittedly mediocre) camera than I do the phone. Actually it’s even cheaper than the Nokia and didn’t cost any more. I’m down to spending less than £10 a year. Still on pay as you go, have it set up not to use data because it was burning through the money just updating apps I never use and I haven’t sent a text this year or last.


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9 thoughts on “Now you’ve got broadband, text me.

  1. M T McGuire March 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm Reply

    One of our friends – an agronomist, actually, and world potato expert – is just like you. He’ll say, “I’ll take my phone” and his wife will say, “I don’t know why, he never effing switches it on.”



    • jwebster2 March 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm Reply

      Well he’s obviously going to be busy and the last thing he needs is disturbing.

      A mobile phone is just a verey pistol that doesn’t give police palpitations 😉

      • M T McGuire March 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm

        Mwah hah aharhg! True.

  2. The Story Reading Ape March 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm Reply

    I only have a mobile phone for emergencies, other than that I don’t give out my number, so no-one else rings me on it (except if they’re trying to sell me PPI or similar – how DO these people get my number – sigh) 🙂

    • jwebster2 March 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm Reply

      Do they buy them off the phone companies?
      Or do they just work their way through numbers sequentially?

      • The Story Reading Ape March 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

        I suspect they buy them Jim 🙂

      • jwebster2 March 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

        I’m surprised NSA bothered to set up a data collecting arm, it would have been cheaper just to pay all these companies that collect it anyway 😦

  3. keirarts March 31, 2014 at 5:17 pm Reply

    There should be an entire article written about the rituals that come into being when one uses a modern smart phone.

    They burn through power quite rapidly so I always find a table seat on a train to charge my device.
    I keep two spare batteries just in case.
    I make a point of knowing where the nearest socket is in every train station.
    I always change batteries at 10% power, having a little juice in every battery is useful in emergencies.

    I’ve also received a free power bank for my phone from a company I do product reviews for. Its an entirely separate piece of kit that store a charge and lets me re-charge my phone when no sockets are about.

    The next great invention will be a battery that holds enough juice to go out for a day, let you use the phone how you want and still have some power left by the time you get home.

    • jwebster2 March 31, 2014 at 5:45 pm Reply

      You’re one of the few people for who the phone is a genuinely indispensable tool 😉
      It does amuse me that as phones get smaller it just means you have to carry more power packs

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