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Question of the day *** UPDATED x1 ***

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008

Yesterday, we talked about your use of online social networks. Let’s continue in this technology vein today.

Question: Do you have a basic cell phone or one of those “smart” phones? If you have a smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry, Treo, etc.), which one? Besides calls and texts, how do you use your device during a typical work day? What do you like most and least about your smart phone? Explain fully, please. Thanks.

*** UPDATE *** Inspired by some of the comments today, I’ve decided to give a test run. The service tracks my RSS feed, and then every time a new post is added to this blog sends you a text message.

This is a free, easy-to-use Internet service, but standard text messaging rates from your own carrier apply, of course.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wndycty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    iPhone. . .I’ve been traveling a lot so I use the world clock and weather application a lot. The way the address book and calendar sync through “mobile me” is probably the best feature from a work stand point. The Facebook application is pretty good for personal use.

  2. - SouthernILRepub - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    Treo - internet usage. Good and bad point all in one, I’m way too connected to the outside world.

  3. - Levois - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:55 am:

    I just have a Motorola Razr. It’s probably an old phone compared to what I could get today. I’ve only had it for the better part of a year tho.

  4. - BandCamp - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:55 am:

    Treo…the camera is more than average for a phone. Pics I’ve downloaded and had printed at store turn out extremely well. Wish it had a flash tho. I text and enjoy the conversation mode it has built in. It has it’s bugs, and I have to “re-boot” (take the battery out and replace back in) to fix, but it’s minor. With 2 yound daughters in school, the calendar is vital. Reminds me of events. Use the web feature for sports scores. It can do more, but then I’d be a geek.

  5. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    I bought a Treo 800W a couple of months ago. Had an regular flip phone prior. I really like the “smart” phone now that I have it.

    Don’t do much business on it right now, but it is nice to be able to check home email’s on the go. It does the web nice, and even plays TV very smooth. Quite nice to watch the markets melt down in real time.

    It could be a real time hog if I let it.

  6. - I-R-B - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Have the AT & T Tilt. Got it last Nov for our company, one of the first in Il. It is an awesome Windows mobile device. Have been on 3G for a year and it rocks! As a phone, it’s poor. Nothing beats a flip phone for a pure phone. I do use a blue tooth headset. Our engineers have reload an OS on the tilt that gives us functionality similar to iPhone. Unlimited customizations on the phone.

  7. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    I have the IPhone 3g. LOVE IT. Had a minor problem with email after the latest firmware patch but found the fix.

    THere are a lot of cool applications that you can download, good free ones, but even better pay ones. I use it for scheduling, email, texting, much more.

  8. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    I have a phone that works very well as a phone. I rarely use the rest of that stuff.

    By the way — most annoying innovation of this campaign season is the use of text messages by campaigns.

    By the way — I assume this is a generational thing. If I was 23 rather than 43, I probably would make more use of the phone.

  9. - anonymous coward - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    I use a blackberry, it let’s me get most of my emailing and blogging done during my 90 drive into work and the drive home

  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:22 am:

    Just a cell. I generally have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the next level of technology, no matter what it is. The good news is I finally ditched my worthless landline about a year ago.

    A couple of years ago, I ditched the family and spent a week camping alone in the Adirondacks. No phone, no radio, no TV. My blood pressure went down to nothing. I highly recommend a similar experience to anyone.

  11. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:24 am:

    I don’t need (or want) to be that connected. I have a cell phone (Samsung flip). It stays in my car. When I enter my car, I check to see if I have any messages. My wife has a Blackberry that she uses for texting and email. She will likely buy an iPhone. She needs to be connected much more than I.

  12. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:27 am:

    I have a simple Motorola/Verizon flip phone with a very usefull speaker phone feature but I prefer my Rotary Dial Western Electric deskset.

  13. - Wickedred - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:29 am:

    LG Voyager. Looked at a Blackberry but settled on this. Can do pretty much all I need on this. No land line in 3 years.

    I agree with wordslinger, there’s nothing like going off to the mountains and being completely cut off from communication. Phones don’t work well out west.

  14. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    ==it let’s me get most of my emailing and blogging done during my 90 drive into work==

    These kind of comments scare me, as a motorist. I have a basic flip phone (Motorola, but I had to check) so I guess that makes me a dinosaur. It has a camera, but now it has so many scrape marks on it from me dropping the phone I don’t use it.

  15. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    I agree with Wordslinger. I spent four days in St. Barth in July. Verizon cell phones did not work. It was great to really be away.

  16. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:53 am:

    Regular old cellphone with text. I was dragged into that by my cellular provider when they forced me to update my phone because of a change in which “wavelength” they use for service.

    One downside of dating a younger woman is that when she first “texts” your phone you have little idea of how to reply. I had to find the manual and look up the directions. It would have been easier to just end the relationship. Which she thankfully did. “Just say no to text”!

  17. - Rufus - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:55 am:

    I have TracFone - Motorola W376g — It has a camera, and Blue tooth. Best deal for the money, I bet I’ll get by with $70 for 15 months (that would be for about 300 minutes.), but internet use is very expensive.

  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 11:58 am:

    IrishPirate, I can’t thank you enough for that chuckle.

  19. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    Well I have a personal iphone and a work blackberry…

    I use the blackberry for getting work e-mails.

    After having an iphone to surf with, the web browser on the blackberry isn’t worth the effort, if I want to get something off of the web I use the iphone.

    Don’t use the iphone much during the day besides a bit of surfing and checking personal e-mail. Use it to read the NYT on the train ride in to work and surf a bit with it on the way home. Also use an application called inap which wakes me if I am asleep when I am a mile from my train station (best .99 application ever).

  20. - Shelbyville - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:20 pm:

    I use the Verizon Razr and like it. It is old, but it has a Cubs scratch guard on it. I have the Touch Ipod. I would suggest it to anyone that doesn’t really need an expensive phone. But, I have to carry 2 objects.

  21. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===Cubs scratch guard===

    I’ll let that one go by, but it ain’t easy. lol

  22. - Mongo - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:26 pm:

    Treo…took some time to get used to it but I love getting my emails 24-7 without having to open up the laptop. I am not a picture guy and do not know how to take pictures with it. I do use the internet feature mainly to look up Sox scores.

  23. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:31 pm:

    Got a Motorola flip phone with a camera and Cingular. Works just great for my purposes. Tried my son’s device with all types of stuff tied to it. Buttons way too small. He thinks it is great. I told him wait until you are tied to a beeper or cell for 24 hours for several years with those 3:00 am calls. The coolness will get real old, real quick. Heavily into other high tech, but smart phones just bore me. I have easy access to networked computers all day and at home. Sometimes you just have to step away. The mountains and beach…they don’t need no phones there.

  24. - EL Rider - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:31 pm:

    I use an iPhone for: phone, e-mail, Safari web browser, calendar, maps, weather, iPod, calculator, CarStat (keeps track of auto expenses), Bloomberg, stock market snapshot and of course, iBeer.

  25. - Captain America - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:47 pm:

    I have a fancy Motorola camera phone - I’m so such a luddite/technophobe, I don’t even know what kind it is. It might be a Razr - I’m looking at it, but I can’t tell. I’m going to ask the next time I pay my bill. I didn’t pay extra for it, It is part of my US cellular contract.

    I can make a call, retreive my messages, that’s all I need/want to//know how to do. I had one of the old-fashioned black land-line dial phones long after they were obsolete. I don’t have a land-line now, makes no sense to me to pay for two phones.

    Since I can barely type on a full-size keyboard (reference my many typos on this blog), text-messaging is out of the question for me.

    So if I was fortunate enough to have a girlfriend,younger or older, my message to her would be use voice-mail or e-mail. My last girlfriend complained that we weren’t communicating, but it had nothing to do with technology.

    My eysight is pretty bad, so I don’t think I’d enjoy reading messages/surfing the internet on one of the handheld devices like Blackberry. I’m amazed that people seem so addicted to them. but if I had a real need for one of these high teach devices, I’d simply get someone to teah me how to use it. I could use them if I really wanted to or needed to do so.

  26. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 12:59 pm:

    It certainly be useful if the cellphone could be placed in a cradle that then would power up the home phone system. Anyone know how that can be done?

  27. - Lefty Lefty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 1:03 pm:

    I just went from a plain old LG cellphone to the iPhone when it came out. It is very difficult to put down once you get one. You get the actual internet, not just mobile feeds; visual voicemail to skip to the important messages; a very clear connection compared to my old Verizon service; an iPod; push email; and the apps!

    All of these are free:

    Weatherbug (includes live radar)
    Pandora radio
    AOL Radio
    SportsTap (live sports scores)
    Baseball (every baseball player statistic EVER)
    Now Playing (local movie times and places)
    PhoneSaber (turns phone into light saber)
    NowLocal (local news headlines with links)

    And that doesn’t include any games. The entire universe of information at the touch of a finger. As I said, very difficult to put down at first.

  28. - Just My Opinion - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 1:21 pm:

    Let’s hear it for the Jitterbug. HUGE numbers, no camera, no text, no e-mail, no color screen, heck no screen, no net. 3 speed dial numbers, 1 for 911 and 2 for your kids so you can drive them crazy.

  29. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 1:46 pm:

    I have a microchip implanted in my head which allows me to get calls and e-mail transmitted directly to my brain. The web surfing on the insides of my eyelids works better than you might think. Only downside is the speaker phone feature, which kind of bothers some people when they hear multiple voices coming out of my mouth.

    But seriously. I have no cell phone. I have a candy bar-type phone which belongs to the office. I believe it may have been manufactured in the 80s. Sometimes I charge it up and turn it on, but only in a pinch.

    I also have no cable TV and I drive a 15-year-old car with 170,000 miles on it, for whatever that’s worth.

    Not that I don’t love the iPhones and Blackberries and Treos I’ve tried. I just know I have no willpower so I would rather not be tempted by them 24-7. Better to read and play with small children and work in the garden and play guitar than be tethered and wired up and yakking all the time.

    But I appear to be in a very small minority ’round here.

  30. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:02 pm:

    Rich, texting peoples phones is just wrong. This blog is like crack already. How can I hope to get anything done if I start getting phone messages from you. Stop the insanity!

    Motorola RAZR. Camera (I use it but haven’t figured out how to get the pix off the phone), video (see camera), texting (takes me forever to type a very short message, so rarely send) special ring for my wife (she gets priority answering) NO web service NO unlimited texting NO auto-texting. I do use the phone for non-work related calls, esp. political ones. I do not have a land line at home.

  31. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:11 pm:

    Rusty, our old rooster crows when the sun rises, which requires I go out to the barnyard and hunt down some logs in which to build the morning fire. This builds up the steam in our boiler to turn the electric generator which creates enough circuit to turn on our computer, which I whittled out of driftwood, a ham radio, and an Etch-A-Sketch.

    Phones? Nah, we don’t have phones. But I have a remarkable carrier pidgeon, named Huggy that brings me messages from home, my daily medication, and coffee with that little extra something only pidgeons can add to make it taste like a cross between Starbucks and Sanka.

    Instead of a cell phone I have a rock I carry on my belt. When I need to get someone, I throw the rock and hope it makes contact.

  32. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:13 pm:

    Hey Bill!
    I’m trying to call you!
    Stop ducking!

  33. - Belle - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:18 pm:

    the new incarnation of Razr phones. Use the phone voicemail and text, ignore the rest. I keep the ringtone on mute so I don’t have to hear who I’m ignoring…

  34. - Bill S. Preston, Esq. - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:23 pm:

    Blackberry that I use for everything - phone, text, email, internet, calendar, teleportation. I’m one of those incredibly annoying people who keep the phone out on the table during meals. Want to challenge one of my statistics or bit of trivia? I’ll show you how right I am in a matter of seconds by looking it up on the web.

    Yeah, I’m one of those people. But at least I can admit it.

  35. - Way Northsider - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:29 pm:

    i phone. Use the calendar function a lot. Also email and web. Routinely check Kos, TPM and other sites. Text with my kids. Keep on top of Cubs scores. Watch out for new polls coming out.

  36. - aqui, alli, alla - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:31 pm:

    I have a Motorola Razr.

    I can’t justify spending a lot of money on a fancy iPhone when 1.) I don’t even know how to use all the features on my 2-year-old Razr 2.) I spend enough time on the Internet at work and at home.

    And, sitting next to Blagojevich’s flacks, watching them constantly scroll through their BlackBerrys like they’re so important really turned me off to that device.

    I’m sure I’ll cave soon enough though… :(

  37. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:43 pm:

    I have a cell phone and blackberry. The cell phone is used for calls, photos, web-browsing, etc., but my blackberry is my lifeline. I cannot live without my blakcberry - instantaneous satisfaction. As a result, I am always plugged in 24 hours a day. My boyfriend calls me an addict. Perhpas that’s why he refers to the device as a “crackberry.”

  38. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:45 pm:

    Web alerts???
    By text?
    First Illinoize was destroyed (I just can’t wade through those GOP posts).
    Now this?

  39. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:46 pm:


    It’s optional.

  40. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:49 pm:

    I understand. I’m just looking at trends.

  41. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:53 pm:

    LOL. I understand. I’m getting text updates for a couple of news sites right now. Need to block the texts at night. Two nights in a row I’ve been awakened by worthless news updates.

  42. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:56 pm:

    Rich, it’s not optional - you dangle this in front of these nerdy techno junkies and they simply can’t resist. And you have become their Enabler!

  43. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 2:57 pm:

    I’m at the point where the only “text messages” that are worth receiving are the one’s from my nanny with photos of the twins. They serve as a great reminder: “Work hard today, to continue to afford nanny.”

    If she makes me sign up for an alert though, I’m getting a new nanny.

  44. - Scooby - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 3:49 pm:

    On some days you update the blog pretty early in the morning and no offense pal, but you’re not the first thing I want to see in the morning. On the other hand, Fritchey has a blog …

  45. - montrose - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 3:50 pm:

    I have blackberry via work that is as slow as molasses. Outside of e-mails and my calendar, I use it for very basic web browsing - checking the weather, headlines at NYTimes, and the Capitol Fax Blog, of course.

    I have started using my personal phone more for texts, mainly because people are texting me. I find it a frustrating, if quick communications tool.

  46. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==and no offense pal, but you’re not the first thing I want to see in the morning. ===

    No offense taken.

  47. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 4:08 pm:


    I am of the firm belief that text messages are the work of SATAN.

    I also believe that Sarah Palin is fully qualified to be President and that Adam and Eve traveled by dinosaur chariot.

    Just Say No To Text!

  48. - jessica - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 4:24 pm:

    I have a regular phone. It is the “new” Chocolate and Verizon just gave it to me for free. My motto is never pay money for a phone.

    I’m already online enough with a laptop and wifi. I do not want to go online on my phone. I don’t like anyone having the expectation that they can get a response from me 24 hours a day, and often times when I’m relaxing or with my boyfriend I put my phone I silent so I won’t know if I receive any calls or texts. Same as when I sleep.

  49. - yinn - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 4:36 pm:

    Regular. I think. Samsung something, new though, and when I need to figure out another function I toss it to my 12-year-old. Cell phones are mostly still just for emergencies in my mind, and I’m slow to change. Maybe about 6 people besides family even have the number.

  50. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 4:37 pm:

    AA, clumsy old fool that he is, has a razr2 for the family/friends and a work Blackberry. Colossal waste of technology. Felt quite empowered when I learned to send texts and change ringtones, until I blasted off “Theme from Mission Impossible” in front of 175 people.

    Would seriously like to take the ‘Berry and heave it into the nearest ditch. Annoying email is 3x annoying when you’re in a restaurant.

    Have a B’Berry Curve with the goal of “device integration” but haven’t gotten very far down that road yet.

  51. - curious george - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 5:01 pm:

    WorK??? I don’t work!
    semi-smart phone w/verizon… the DARE.
    Gets all my e-mails from different hosts, connects to the internet via HTML, bluetooths to my laptop and cars, v-cast music and …. It makes and receives phone calls.
    No TV but who has time for that!

  52. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 6:14 pm:

    Standard cell. Only on to make an occasional outgoing call that sometimes includes a conference scheduled for a beastly hour or when there’s a major issue at hand.

    Having had a car phone and a cell phone for business when they first came out, plus having been hooked up to pagers now and then because of a project, I cherish the periods where I don’t have to be constantly available–and I won’t make myself available to that level anymore unless truly warranted.

    Family and close friends always know how and where to reach me. Plus, I’m not big on chatting with friends on the phone. I’d rather see them.

    Oddly enough, I used to BIG on PDAs because they helped to keep my life organized. I stopped buying them though when two things happened: I ran one over with my car in the driveway (for the 4th time) and they “merged” with cell phones and the internet. Won’t touch them now because of the latter.

  53. - Highway Man - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 10:30 pm:

    I live on twitter now, if you follow the right people the information is faster and better then the news feeds. Micro blogging with links is the future. Go Web 2.0

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Random thoughts.
* Free Malcolm London.
* Sunday posts, pics and tweets.
* Chinese Take Out
* "Mexican Food, Opening Soon"
* Tony at the Red Line Tap.
* The cover-up of the killing of Laquan McDonald.

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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