06 Sep Alexander Graham Bell, What Hast Thou Wrought?
It wasn’t so long ago that, when the average person wanted to make a phone call, they walked into the kitchen or living room and grabbed a phone off the wall. If they weren’t at their house they pulled in to the nearest filling station and parked next to (remember these?) a payphone where they could scrounge around in the car for nickels and dimes to thumb into the tiny coin slots.
Nowadays, things are so much simpler! Or are they? Recently, a friend of mine went to the local cell phone store searching for a new phone. With over 4 billion cell phones in use throughout the world and roughly 3 million sold every day, you can bet there were some choices to make. In fact, the sales rep in the store asked her a question that, until a short time ago, probably would have doubled you up in laughter. “What are you planning on doing with it?” the rep asked. Ten years back, you would have smugly replied, “I plan on making phone calls,” while holding back the laughter and rushing to get out of the store so you could recount the story to your friends. Today, there are phones that “specialize” in texting, taking pictures, social media, videos, video gaming, music storage, and—last but not least—operating as an actual phone.
There is no doubt that being able to pull up your weather app to see if the rain moving in from the west is going to affect this evening’s ball game is just one of the many conveniences modern day “cell phones” afford to us. This new technology doesn’t come without its hazards, however.
All over the web are stories of snafus arising from the use of touch-screen phones. The most common themes seen to arise from accidental “pocket” dials and the auto-correct feature that automatically corrects the spelling while texting or emailing. While these can be frustrating issues for the average person, a couple of would-be thieves in Wisconsin got the ultimate surprise after shoplifting from a Target Superstore.
In December 2011, after swiping DVDs and computer games they hopped into their SUV where they began bragging about their haul and debating the best
place to unload their merchandise. They discussed which outlet would give them the best prices in addition to, mentioning the make and model of their vehicle and what they had stolen.
Continuing to chat it up, they pulled into the store to unload their cache only to find several armed law- enforcement officers waiting for them. To their surprise the officers seemed to know everything about what they had done to the extent that one of the men asked if they had tapped his phone. What he didn’t know was, when they left the store, he had pocket-dialed 911 and the operator heard every word they said. Ah, the frustrations of modern technology!