Dumbphones rule!

I think we’ve all been hearing a lot about the new Iphone and other smartphones that are the current hotness in the world of gadgets.  I was inspired by a smartphone thread on a message board I frequent to look a little more carefully at my own dumbphone- an ancient (late 90s tech) Kyocera that I got when I was signed up for Virgin Mobile in late 2002 as a Christmas present from Mr. Shark.

I was pleased to find this contemporary review at http://www.silverace.com/smartpig/issue2.html:

“The Kyocera 2119b is the older of the two designs, in both size and display, and typical in design of many bar phones from the mid-90s. Despite it’s aged appearance, the 2119b is one of the most reliable, trouble-free phones ever made due to a solid construction that allows it to withstand much abuse, and has easy disassembly for repairs. It was introduced during 2001/2002 along with the new Virgin Mobile cell phone service as one of two phones you could then buy. ”

Yup– “aged” in 2003, who knows what you would call it in 2008. “Old School” is the polite term, and “coprolite” would be somewhat less polite.  But it is every bit as good a unit in use as the review states.  Makes and recieves calls, has caller ID and voicemail, and always works.  What more do I need?

Here is a nice pic of the big guy:
http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000 … ZZZZZZ.jpg  Mine looks just like this except it has a funky red metallic faceplate, a little black leather case over that,  and a more creative name than “Virgin Mobile”. 

I’ve been thinking about replacing it with a more modern phone that’s smaller and lighter, but you know, I don’t think I’m going to.  It ain’t broke, so I’m not going to fix it, assuming I can get a new battery for it.   And I’m going to go top it up right now.

I wonder if anyone else is Old School enough to stand up for the dumbphone?


Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 2:13 am  Comments (5)  

Shining flashlights on expensive TVs in public places

I know this sounds rather pointless, but if you have any idea at all of buying an HDTV sometime, please read! 

If you were in our local big box electronics store yesterday (well, not our local BBES, but the bigger one in the next county where they have the premium stuff) you would have seen Mr. Shark shining his Streamlight pocket flashlight at a series of moderately pricey HDTVs while I squinted at them.

Performance art project? Momentary insanity? Impulsive act of silliness?

Nope.  Serious product evaluation going on here. 

I’m including this here because I’m pretty sure a lot of you out there in the blogosphere are in the same boat as the Sharkipede household, where we are thinking about upgrading our AV entertainment setup in anticipation of the coming digitization.

Yes, we watch TV here, and we enjoy it.

So, anyway, we are shopping for an HDTV. Not a cheap crummy one, though not a top of the line one either, pretty though they are.  (I am not going to pay more for a TV than I paid for my car.  Sorry, but that’s how I feel.)  We are not ready to buy yet, but we are steadily narrowing things down.  We know we want an LCD, and are getting an idea what tech specs yield the kind of picture results we are looking for. 

Mr. Shark is the primary person on this project and will probably make the final choice.  He’s certainly doing most of the research, since reading TV specs on the Internet in teeny tiny print is major MEGO for the Sharkipede.  I mostly go along to look at the sets and complain about how the stores tune, or fail to tune, the color.

But this week Mr. Shark latched onto an idea that had never occured to us before: the issue of screen reflectivity.  Some LCD screens have incredibly shiny surfaces that reflect light sources in the surrounding room in a very distracting way, others have a kind of matte surface that diffuses light sources into vague clouds. 

If you intend to use your HDTV setup as a screening room,  strictly for watching movies in the dark, then this may not matter.  But if you want to watch TV in the usual way, in a lighted room while doing other things,  a highly reflective screen could be extremely distracting.

Hence the flashlight bit.  This turned out to be a real brainwave on Mr. Shark’s part, as we discovered that a set we were strongly considering was horribly reflective, while several other brands had excellent diffusion.

So if you are a regular watcher who integrates TV into everyday living, take a little flashlight with you when you go shopping for a new set.  (An LED penlight that makes a tight, bright white point gives the most dramatic results. ) It’s only good sense to spend your limited “meaningless entertainment” budget wisely. 


Published in: on January 12, 2008 at 10:30 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,