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Old 10-02-2012, 10:27 PM   #21
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:59 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by kevink View Post
This article in the WSJ really puts what people are spending on phones in perspective:

Cellphones Are Eating the Family Budget - WSJ.com
I just looked at the linked article. An excerpt follows.
Heidi Steffen and her husband used to treat themselves most weeks to steak... Then they each got an iPhone, and the rib-eyes started making fewer appearances.
My brother told me that he read somewhere that despite Spain's economic woes, Spaniards have the highest smart-phone ownership or usage in the EU. I don't think the phone expenses cause their economic troubles, but rather perhaps they are looking for an escape from their trouble while playing with their phones. Sad!

And then, I still remember a statistics back in 2003, the time before any smart phone. I read that phone companies were raking in $1 billion/year in selling ring tones then. Wow! All the phones I have had always come with several ring tones, and I usually just leave it at the default tone, let alone paying for more tones.

Am I stuck in the 20th century or what? Of course I am. I am still listening to music of the 50s to the 70s, and still want to read literary works from the 18th and 19th centuries.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:22 AM   #23
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In the mid-late 90s I noticed Italy had WAY more cell phones than the US. It was the first time I had really experienced people constantly on their cellphones at a trade show.

I was informed that Italy had more cell phones because their landlines were so bad/unreliable. Maybe it was the same case in Spain?
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:38 AM   #24
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It's always musing to see people declare on the Internet that they don't need fancy electronic gizmos.

Well, can these people do without the computers and the Internet connection service they use to post these neo-Luddite declarations?

How many of them can even go without being online for a couple of weeks?

Smart phones now are basically extensions of the computers we're all using to exchange these opinions. For decades, computer scientists have been predicting this process, as we went from mainframes to eventually personal computers for all, to "wearable computers."

The idea is that computing devices become more ubiquitous and weave themselves into the fabric of contemporary life. About 10-15 years ago, there were people saying computers and Internet are not for them. Companies tried to sell email boxes, so that the technophobic older generation could still be in contact with their friends and relatives.

But the sense is that a lot of people who were reticent to use technology have come to see the benefits of going online. Really not that different from when telephones were first widely adopted.

So this pooh-poohing of mobile devices by people who are already using technology seems a repeat of history. Now, if you want to say you can't justify the expense (and even then, there are growing options for people who don't want to sign onto another expensive monthly bill), especially on ER where people aggressively manage their living costs, that would be more understandable.

Regarding DSLRs, yes a cell phone camera will never be as good as a DSLR. But I don't carry my DSLR with me all the time. And to do the HDR and panorama photos which is now supported on iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, I would also need to carry around a tripod.

The often-repeated adage is that the best camera there is is the one you have with you to capture shots that are unanticipated. That's probably why iPhone is probably the most widely-used camera in the world.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:43 AM   #25
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In the mid-late 90s I noticed Italy had WAY more cell phones than the US. It was the first time I had really experienced people constantly on their cellphones at a trade show.

I was informed that Italy had more cell phones because their landlines were so bad/unreliable. Maybe it was the same case in Spain?
Italy has real good cell phone networks. Very affordable services and good coverage, by several carriers with real competition that we don't have in the US.

They pay a fraction of what we pay. They've adopted smart phones too but I think they're just more social people. Remember that texting hit big in Europe and Asia long before Americans adopted it heavily.

As for their economic problems, no the debt problem in Spain had to do with an overheated housing market. Fiscally, Spain was in good shape but the financial crisis bursted that housing bubble.

What's more common in Europe is people use prepaid cell phone services, rather than sign contracts, though with smart phones, contracts are becoming more common.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:46 AM   #26
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Am I stuck in the 20th century or what? Of course I am. I am still listening to music of the 50s to the 70s, and still want to read literary works from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The question is:
  • Do you insist on reading that 18th or 19th literary work on paper?
  • Or do you insist on listening to that 50s to 70s music by popping a CD into your stereo or into your Sony Walkman?

I still listen to 17th and 18th century music - it just happens to be stored on my laptop and iPad.

explanade - I'm pretty sure Gumby is having us on. "Semaphore flags" indeed! LOL!
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:51 AM   #27
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What, iPhones are luxuries? Next they'll be telling us that high end Mercedes and diamond rings the size of doorknobs are too luxurious for the working poor.

Yes, I have an iPhone. I would never dream of having one if I couldn't afford it, though.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:59 AM   #28
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In Hong Kong, I was on the subway when this girl in a McDonalds uniform got on and pulled out her smart phone -- think it was an iPhone -- and started using it.

I know in some countries, fast food employees get paid more. In fact, you can spend $15 on a basic McDonalds meal with fries and coke.

But I think it's also to do with more affordable cell phone service, where you pay as you go. I paid $10 at the HKG airport and they gave me a SIM and I used it throughout my week stay there, never had to top off once. I only used data though, no voice or texts.

In China, there are a couple of hundred million people who can afford a Western lifestyle, so they have the Mercedes and other status symbols. Maybe there are a few factory workers who save up and get something like an iPhone.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:05 PM   #29
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Regarding DSLRs, yes a cell phone camera will never be as good as a DSLR. But I don't carry my DSLR with me all the time. And to do the HDR and panorama photos which is now supported on iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, I would also need to carry around a tripod.

The often-repeated adage is that the best camera there is is the one you have with you to capture shots that are unanticipated. That's probably why iPhone is probably the most widely-used camera in the world.
It's pretty amazing what you can do with the iPhone camera, and the new one looks to be excellent. DH is considering upgrading his iPod Touch. The camera is not quite as capable as the iPhone, but it has a lot of the new capabilities. This is for when he's not lugging his enormous nature photography gear around.

This lovely iPhone (and HDR processed) photo caught my eye recently:


from Morning Fog | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:07 PM   #30
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But I think it's also to do with more affordable cell phone service, where you pay as you go. I paid $10 at the HKG airport and they gave me a SIM and I used it throughout my week stay there, never had to top off once. I only used data though, no voice or texts.
DH tells me customers in the US pay WAY more for cellphone service and data plans than in Europe and other countries. Hmmmm - kind of sounds like the steep prices on prescription drugs in the US.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #31
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It's always musing to see people declare on the Internet that they don't need fancy electronic gizmos.
The point is that one does not need all that is available, nor the latest one.

Certainly one should not buy something he or she can ill afford; that is the point of the OP linked article. As I reported earlier, one even went to the extreme of selling a kidney to get an iPhone and iPad. Wow, are they that good?

As for me, I already accumulate too many toys that got obsolete before I really check them out. No need to get more.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:36 PM   #32
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The question is:
  • Do you insist on reading that 18th or 19th literary work on paper?
  • Or do you insist on listening to that 50s to 70s music by popping a CD into your stereo or into your Sony Walkman?
Yes, I still prefer printed pages to the electronic format.

But I will admit to having mucho MP3 on my laptop, PCs and home media servers (note the plural). I am still in the process of converting my cassette tapes and CDs, which has been going on and off for quite some time. Now that I am fully retired, maybe I will finish it.

But, but, but, I have found myself spending way too much time managing all that crap. Hardware kept getting burnt out, and software got bugs. Arghhh... Instead of simplifying my life, all that stuff takes all my time. I often wonder if it is really worth it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:36 PM   #33
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I have relatives that have fallen on hard times and have taken a real hit in their standard of living. It astounds me to see them pull out the newest iPhones when all they really need is a basic cell phone - if that.

I will grant you that I am extremely LBMY when it comes to cell phones, but I can't imagine spending a couple of hundred bucks a month on a toy when my own retirement was not secure.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:31 PM   #34
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It shouldn't cost a couple of hundred bucks a month unless you're using it constantly, downloading data past your cap, using too much voice minutes, etc.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:44 PM   #35
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It shouldn't cost a couple of hundred bucks a month unless you're using it constantly, downloading data past your cap, using too much voice minutes, etc.

I think you missed my point. An iPhone is just another unnecessary toy when you are counting your pennies.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:49 PM   #36
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I think you missed my point. An iPhone is just another unnecessary toy when you are counting your pennies.
No. You meant that some iPhone users are supposed to count their pennies.

Of course, the above does not apply to most people on this forum, who have successfully managed to retire early or been on their way. They know if they want one and can afford one. They are not the type to have to call Suzie Orman for approval.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:13 PM   #37
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Sorry for a sidetrack, but about GPS, I will have to say something.

I have found GPS and a digital map and associated landmark/store databases extremely useful in my RV treks. It lets me rough out a route, and plan for nightly stays with reasonable driving distances between them, and the stops along a day's driving too. And as I rarely stick with the original plan, I can easily modify it while already en-route according to my whim.

I usually plan for a stop and rest at a Costco, if there is one along the way. I can then refill with less expensive gas, then take a rest to walk and look around the store. I was surprised to see how different Costcos carry different food items, and I often restocked my pantry with some unique items that were not available at the Costco at home.

And when navigating on the freeways through metropolitan areas like SF or LA, it is nice to know in advance that I need to change lanes to merge onto a new freeway. Though my MH is not that big, I need plenty of time as I am pulling a car on a bumper-to-bumper freeway. Ugh... That is one of the drawbacks of RV'ing, but it is a price I have to pay.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:31 PM   #38
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Although computers keep getting faster and cheaper, it seems like cell phones (smartphones) keep getting more expensive. AT&T's voice + data is actually more expensive now then when I got my first smartphone (treo) years ago and it's no longer unlimited.
I've got an iPhone 3GS. I just ordered an iPhone 5 a couple of hours ago. When I got the 3GS AT&T had an unlimited data plan. When I ordered the 5 it looks like they are continuing my unlimited data plan.

I hardly ever talk on the phone whether it is wired or wireless. My smartphone is basically a portable computer/internet connection.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:07 PM   #39
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I do have a prepaid cell phone, which is virtually always turned off (it's for my convenience not someone else's) and is often lost or with a dead battery. It just makes phone calls -- no pictures, no texting, no tweeting or twittering or whatever, no internet, no gps -- just phone calls. And I almost never even make a call. I load $25 on it every 3 months, just so the balance doesn't expire.
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I have a cell phone, which, like Gumby's, is usually not turned on, and only my wife would call me on that phone, if there is a need for me to know to turn it on beforehand. I cannot even recall its number right now.
Exactly. Spouse actually lost her phone number about six months ago (she forgot to reload before the 90-day date) and hasn't used her phone since.

Gumby, spouse and I still have our decks of signal cards. But our flashing-light gizmos died a horrible cockroach-infested death...

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AT&T's voice + data is actually more expensive now then when I got my first smartphone (treo) years ago and it's no longer unlimited.
There's a tremendous geographical difference between covering Europe with cell towers vs the U.S. Oahu is also notorious for crappy coverage due to all of the valleys & ridges, and it'd take about 3x the current infrastructure to achieve the same coverage as the flatter areas of Kansas or Texas. We can't even reliably get coverage from one end of our neighborhood to the other.

Cell bandwidth is also approaching full load. It's going to take a fundamental redesign of frequency management (which looks promising) before bandwidth gets cheap again. And when that happens, I'm a tad skeptical that monthly fees will drop-- until the entrepreneurs start undercutting the global megacorps.

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Now, if you want to say you can't justify the expense (and even then, there are growing options for people who don't want to sign onto another expensive monthly bill), especially on ER where people aggressively manage their living costs, that would be more understandable.
Spouse enjoyed an iPhone earlier this year during her 150 days as CEO of a non-profit. She was always shuttling among meetings at three different locations, and the phone saved her a lot of hassle at changing schedules or catching up between meetings. Of course the optimal answer would be... fewer meetings.

Once her 150 days was over, the iPhone was a waste of resources. Instead of laying in the recliner watching TV and occasionally checking e-mail, now she has to haul her butt almost 30 feet to her laptop. Luckily the fridge is along that commute, so she doesn't starve from the exertion.

OTOH an iPhone has been an essential college tool for our daughter. She's always between places where she doesn't easily have computer/media access, and the iPhone is cheaper than a landline + TV. (Her off-campus apartment has neither of those "utilities".) When her prof is talking, she's frequently downloading the PowerPoint slides or checking the online homework. If the students are confused during class but don't want to be "the one" to ask a dumb question, they actually start texting each other. She went for 30 days without the Internet when she was on her submarine training last summer, so she keenly appreciates the tech.

But it'll be interesting to see if she keeps it up when she graduates and has to start paying her own iPhone bill-- instead of the college fund. I predict she'll drop the Internet access, use voice only if there's WiFi nearby, and pay just for texts.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:01 PM   #40
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Hey, I like using paper maps for the challenge. It is part of the vacation experience. But I think I'm weird.

I will eventually get a smartphone, eventually. I'm always a late adopter. The current pricing turns my stomach. Hoping it comes down.

But it is a bit ironic, because the MegaCorp I work for makes a lot of money off the smart phones. So, I smile when I hear about all the people buying them. More customers equals less stress in my final years of w*rk.
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