Cellular: A New Technology

DE89AFD5-5EAB-4D1B-9A7F-39E70114A02BStep into the Wayback Machine and set the dial for 1984.

“Sometime early next year, a new technology known as cellular will be available in the area.”

That quote came from a November 26, 1984, San Francisco Chronicle story titled “Cellular Phones Ready for Bay Area Debut.”

Back then, cellular technology was nascent and available to only the wealthy. That was partly because of the price. Cellular phones in late 1984 cost between $1,900 and $4,100 to install in a car, with a $39 per month base price, plus up to 50¢ per minute between seven in the morning and seven in the evening and 20¢ per minute the rest of the time.

Most early cellular phones were car phones.6ECEBA9C-347B-4420-9FCA-0D7E5706CEB7I remember when we got our first cellphone. It was a Motorola like the one pictured above. We mostly kept it in the car for “emergencies,” which typically consisted of me calling my wife on my drive home from work to tell her how cool it was for me to be calling her from my car.

The Chronicle reported, “Some units, weighing about seven pounds each, can be removed from the vehicles and carried in briefcases.” By the end of 1985, the article pointed out, Motorola had created a 3-pound phone. Is it any wonder that early, large, thick, and rectangular cellphones were often referred to as “bricks”?E03CCB48-AC16-4923-95A9-E980C769F257Cellphones today are tiny, handheld computers and super communications devices that are virtually ubiquitous. It’s hard to remember that just 34 years ago cellphones were heavy, expensive, and rare. Today, most people can’t imagine not having their smartphones with them at all times.

Think about that, millennials. And try to image how we will be communicating and interacting with each other 34 years from now. Assuming that the human race is still around in 34 years.


And Then Along Came Digital

EDCC4042-FD7B-47A4-834B-5F7077CBF1E6When I woke up this morning and I saw that my one-word prompt for today was “develop,” I decided to teleport myself back a few decades to when film ruled the world of photography.

You remember those days of having to load your camera with film, taking your pictures, and then having to drop off your exposed film at one of those once ubiquitous Fotomat kiosks for “finishing,” right? You’d have to suffer through the 24 hour “incubation” period before you could see the results of you photographic prowess.

How exciting it was to drive up to the Fotomat kiosk, pay the pimply-faced teenager sitting in the booth for your packet of photos, tear into the envelope, and view your handiwork.

And then you’d see something unexpected in one or more of the photos. Someone turned away from the camera at the last second. Or the whole image was blurry because you moved the camera when you pressed the shutter button. Or one of the rolls of film from your vacation somehow got exposed to light and all the pictures on that roll were ruined. Oh, if you could only reverse time and take some of those otherwise great pictures all over again.

And then along came digital photography, turning Fotomats into vestigial artifacts of a time forever gone.

I’m doing something a little different this time. Instead of listing the six one-word prompts used in this post below the story, I’ve bolded the words within in the story above. Let me know if you prefer the list or if it’s easier to see the prompt words bolded within the post itself.

Aptitude for Attitude

I leaned something new yesterday. There’s this thing called a slug. I’m not talking about one of those slimy things that slowly slithers across the sidewalk leaving a filmy mucus trail behind it. Yuck.DD7E9250-3753-477C-A787-172AB6B99FDBNo, the slug I’m referring to is a tool that websites use to be accessed. URL slugs are the exact address of a specific webpage. It is the location where webpages are accessed when their URLs are typed in the address bar. It essentially is used to create a permalink for each post. WordPress automatically generates a post slug from the post’s title. For example, the slug for this post is “aptitude-for-attitude.”

So why is this important? Allow me to explain. You know I host a daily word challenge. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret. I generally create these posts about a week in advance and then schedule them to post at 12:01 am Pacific Time on the appropriate day. So far so good, right?

One of the posts I scheduled in advance was yesterday’s post, which was the word “attitude.” When I originally scheduled this post, it was for the word “aptitude.” But a few days ago, I decided to change the word to “attitude.” I changed the post’s title. I changed the word “aptitude” to “attitude” in the body of the post, and I also changed the tag to “attitude.”

What I failed to do was to look at the scheduled post’s slug. I mean who knows to check the slug? Turns out the slug said “fowc-with-fandango-aptitude,” even though I had changed the post’s title to “FOWC With Fandango — Attitude.”B8D7D1E8-3679-4912-98F9-908FCD700AE7When I changed the title of the post, it did not also change the slug correspondingly. Remember earlier when I wrote “WordPress automatically generates post slugs from a post’s title”? Well, that apparently only happens the first time you either initially publish or schedule the post. If you change or update the post later*, it doesn’t update the slug.

And this apparently led to some confusion, as a few bloggers wrote their posts in response to the One-Word Challenge built around the word “aptitude “ and not “attitude.”

As soon as I saw this, I went back to the post and manually changed the slug to read “fowc-with-fandango-attitude.”

So if you have ever either scheduled a post and then change the post’s title before it’s published, or if you’ve published a post and change its title after it was published, be sure to check and update your slug.

You’re welcome!

*This is not the case with draft posts. If it’s a draft, when you change the title, the slug will also change. It’s only once the post has been scheduled or published that it doesn’t change the slug if you change the post’s title.

How Do YOU Use Your Smartphone?

A023CB09-89DF-4A5E-B827-C42C3DDAB2C5Earlier today I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post about how personal technology, particularly the now ubiquitous cellphone, has evolved over the last quarter of a century.

In a comment I received from Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith, she wrote about her smartphones, “We rarely ever use them as phones.”

That got me thinking that I, too, rarely use my iPhone as a phone (i.e., making and receiving phone calls). So if I don’t use it as a phone, what do I use it for? Well, here’s my list, in no particular order:

  • for texting
  • for WordPress
  • for instant messaging
  • for Google
  • to surf the net
  • for games
  • to get sports scores
  • to get the latest news
  • to get the current temperature and weather forecast
  • as a camera
  • as a photo editor
  • as a GPS device
  • to track my daily steps
  • as a notepad
  • as a reminder
  • as a dictionary/thesaurus/encyclopedia
  • as a calendar and appointment book
  • as an e-reader
  • to play music
  • to watch videos
  • for streaming
  • as a timer/stop watch/alarm clock
  • as a stock ticker
  • as a place to make online purchases
  • as a mobile banking device

But as a phone, not so much.

So what about you? Do you have a smartphone? How do you use it?