My friends get the biggest laughs from my experiences with cell phones. I don’t have good luck with cell phones. In fact, I once had to reboot a cell phone because I locked up the cell phone OS trying to see how the IR interface worked.
Ironically, the only thing I really care about with a cell phone is its reception. A few years ago, after unhappy experiences with reception from other carriers, I switched to Verizon. How’s it working? You know those “can you hear me know?” commercials for Verizon – I want them to send that guy out to my house.
I once had to call Verizon customer service and, for fun, made the call from my basement. They actually asked me if they could call me back on a land line. I mentioned that, although I was calling for other reasons, my reception at my house and in the areas I would most like to use the phone was terrible. They immediately said that they made no promises about reception.
When I ride my bike, I always take my cell phone in case of an accident or emergency. Today, I was driving along a stretch I ride on a regular basis and noticed no bars on the cell phone. I hope that I don’t fall or have the bike break down there.
On the other hand, my reception when I am out of town is usually awesome. I once recorded my message on my voice mail while I was out of town because the reception was so much better.
However, my favorite story comes from a trip we made through Indiana last year on the return home from visiting my parents, brothers and relatives. We wanted to stop at the Indianapolis Speedway and wanted to check as we approached Indianapolis on the availability and times of a track tour. By the way, calling from the road is one of the main reasons I wanted to have a cell phone. I could not complete any calls. I wanted to call customer service, but simply could not find the number under any of the menus. Undeterred, I tried a few tricks to generate an error message and one popped up that gave me a number to call.
After about 20 minutes on the phone, we got the advice to “try the call from a pay phone.” I love that.
On Friday, I was going on a family camping trip with my wife’s family at Meramec State Park, one of the most popular state parks in Missouri. The park is a few miles from the town of Sullivan, which is right on I-44. In other words, it is not in the wilderness.
I had a conference call scheduled that I planned to make from the campsite and planned to return some other calls. At the time to be on the conference call, I noticed that there was no service available. It’s fair to say that this was not something I expected – but, hey, a little professional embarrassment builds character.
As it turned out, this was not just a Verizon problem. No one else there could get a signal on their carriers either. Later, my brother-in-law determined that if you stood at a certain spot near a certain tree using a Sprint phone, you could get a signal to make a call, but you couldn’t tell if the person on the other end could hear you.
I recently went through a 24-hour period where I had phone calls with five of the most tech-savvy lawyers in the country and, in each case where someone was on a cell phone, the sound quality of the call was atrocious.
If I hear people talking on cell phones these days (and I will invariably hear them because they are talking so loud), the side of the conversation I overhear goes something like this: “What! Say that again! You’re cutting out! I didn’t catch the last part of that! What!”
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to have some doubts about this whole cellular system. It seems like we are moving backward, rather than forward. It’s not great for making calls, at least for me, but it’s given me some great stories.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]