Back in my day, when pizza and hot dogs were separate things, we didn’t even have smartphones. This is what I imagine I will be telling my teenage daughter in about 15 years from now.
Also “go to bed, it’s after 4pm” and “no, you can’t borrow my hoverboard, it’s way too powerful”.
My daughter is only 14 months old and is already fascinated with my iPhone. I honestly believe there is something about the Apple logo that subliminally attracts children from a very young age. Think about it: Why is the logo placed so conveniently at the back of the phone?
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NSW now has the toughest mobile phone laws in Australia where if you do anything other than pick up your phone to pass it to a passenger you will be hit with a $298 fine and lose three demerit points.
Even pressing silent or stop to kill an incoming call will be illegal, in keeping with the mountain of research showing how massively distracting any use of the phone is while you’re behind the wheel. Now, Victoria’s top highway patrol cop wants to go one better and make it illegal even to have your mobile switched on while you are in the car at all.
It sounds on the face of it like an overreaction. Certainly it would make life incredibly difficult for the many people whose jobs require them to be in contact while out on the road, people who work in sales and deliveries, and who are set up with all the latest hands-free Bluetooth gizmos.
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unreachable /nritəb(ə)l/ adj. unable to be reached or contacted; inaccessible.
Sorry to spell it out but I wanted you to see the true meaning of this wonderful word one last time before it disappears into the kind of thin air that airplanes with Wi-Fi flap about in.
Technobabble has brought about many new dictionary definitions, from floppy disks to hard drives and everything in between. But now technology is making the dictionary thinner rather than fatter by rendering words such as ‘unreachable’ passé, or at least confined to describing children’s footballs in tree branches.
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Okay, I realise as far as pressing, first world problems go, this isn’t nudging the top of the charts, but it’s Friday — so bugger it.
I am puzzled by many things, but fairly high on the list is why people make/take phone calls while in/on the toilet. Granted it’s probably not the worst sound you could hear emanating from a toilet cubicle, but seriously, why?
Do you feel so important sitting on “the throne” that you need to take that call right then and there? Can’t you call them back?
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We respect Dr Teo’s work as a brain surgeon and acknowledge his right to express his strong personal opinions about mobile phone safety and health issues.
However, our industry relies on the expert opinion of national and international health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which have found no convincing evidence that radio frequency exposure within internationally accepted safety limits causes adverse harmful health effects.
The WHO says in its fact sheet Number 193 of June 2011: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”
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There are three undisputed facts about the link between mobile phones and brain tumours. Firstly, the jury is still out. Secondly, the number of mobile phone users is increasing rapidly and currently stands at over five billion worldwide. Thirdly, IF there is a causal link between exposure to non-ionising radiation and brain tumours, then the social and financial consequences would be devastating and on a scale never before witnessed in history.
With over twenty one million mobile phones in use in Australia, why are we not spending the resources on finding the answer? Perhaps the answer is one that all of us would rather not imagine. Could those with a vested interest be misguiding us?
The other, less divisive explanation is that epidemiologists and scientists truly believe that the jury is no longer out and that there is absolutely no link.
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No doubt you’ve heard the rather disturbing news overnight that a Jetstar pilot was texting midflight, which resulted in an aborted landing when he forgot to deploy the landing gear.
It’s pretty funny, only it’s not too, for a whole bunch of super obvious reasons.
Just recently, I was in the hands on a young driver who was navigating with the use of their phone as we drove around the suburbs. They had eyes more for their small electronic device than the road. I didn’t say anything, but I should have.
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If you have a mobile phone, internet service or fixed line and you live in Australia; chances are you’ve experienced had some sort of issue with your service at one time or another. No big deal, right?
You call the customer service helpline of your provider and begin to explain the problem. You might be told you are speaking to the wrong department and get transferred … multiple times. You might be kept on hold. You might be promised a call back. You might, if you’ve spoken to the right department, be promised a solution, which may or may not happen. If not, you’ll have to call back, and possibly even start again.
It’s no great secret that customer service across the telco industry is lacking. Last year was a record year for complaints – almost 200,000 of us had to resort to taking our problem to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. By comparison, the banks – another industry Australians love to complain about – generate around 24,000 complaints a year to the financial ombudsman.
It’s a sunny afternoon and I’m sitting on the grass, headphones in, leaning against a retaining wall in a busy Sydney park. Suddenly, while thumbing through my phone, it’s snatched from my hand, inches from the ground. It all happens so fast I just jump up and yell, “Hey!”.
My brain catches up with what’s happened. A tall man, in a white shirt, sprints away and I see two, thin, white headphone chords flailing behind him.
My phone has been stolen.
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Ever since mobile phones first popped up on shopping centre shelves equipped with tiny 2 megapixel cameras, we’ve been subjected to endless hysteria about how, gosh darnit, that new fangled Generation Y just can’t go a minute without MMSing pictures of their genitalia to each other.
Today Tonight and talkback radio have frightened the bejesus out of us with horror stories of teenagers’ naked pictures being spread around entire schools. Parents have chewed through fingernail after fingernail fretting: Just what sinister sexual secrets lie behind the PIN on my teenager’s phone? What’s happening to our daughters? Could somebody PLEASE think of the children?!
Newsflash, wowsers. Sexting is no big deal. It never really was.
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As of next month Air New Zealand passengers will be allowed to use mobiles while on board, enabling Kiwi jet-setters to advise their loved ones that their flight is on schedule and they’ll be home by sucks.
What really sucks about this move is that it will destroy the sole remaining bastion of public peace, the sanctuary of the aircraft, which in this hyper-connected modern world is the only escape from texts, tweets, emails, and the sheer horror of the loud and long-winded conversations of strangers.
I’ve never been to New Zealand but from what I can gather it consists of two islands, each of them about 500km long, with a large airport in the middle somewhere so that its citizens can emigrate to Australia to find work. Based on this rough estimate the longest domestic flight in NZ would take about 40 minutes and the extremely popular one-way flight to Bondi only marginally longer.
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Last Friday I did the unthinkable – I switched off my mobile phone.
At first there was the separation anxiety, not unlike the cravings one feels when on a diet, that insatiable yearning for something you know you can’t have. Then there was the involuntary impulse to reach into my pocket to check the phone for a text message, email or a missed call. Every look at the blank screen was disappointing.
As lunchtime approached, I’d become suitably acclimatised to this change to my daily routine. I read the newspaper uninterrupted over a strong Irish tea. It makes you realise how much the mobile impacts on everyday life. I use it far too much. If you ask me, enough is enough.
Now the movie Australia was long. Really long. Which might explain why when I saw it at the cinema the guy down the row not only answered two phone calls, but smoked two cigarettes inside the cinema during the flim.
I wish now The Drover had turned his head from the dusty plain, stepped down through the silver screen into the cinema and said to the guy what I was too shy to say: turn it off you selfish idiot! (Just to clarify this Drover dream sequence of mine was all about mobile phone etiquette, nothing else, really.)
Harry Connick Jr, however, would have been as useless as me. Sitting there wishing the battery would go flat but politely soldiering on “in character”.
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Mobile phones are the new cigarettes.
Not when it comes to cancer, of course. That’s still unproven, according to mobile phone companies which have much deeper pockets than this humble scribe.
No, what I’m talking about is the way we’re ditching the fags for another addictive accessory. Instead of going downstairs for a smoko, we fondle the slimline package in our pocket, relishing the thought of our next text or tweet.
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“Real transformative change never begins in Washington.” (Pause for quacks.)
You’ll need to turn up the volume but the quacking is audible early in the video.
Got a story about a mortifying mobile moment? Share it in the comments.
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