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Poll: Could you live without your cell phone?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 17, 2007 7:23 AM PDT

Could you live without your cell phone? Why or why not?

-- Absolutely! I've done so in the past, so I can definitely do without it all over again. (What if there was an emergency?)

-- No way! This is my main point of contact and I feel naked without it. (What if you were in a dead zone?)

-- I don't own no stinkin' cell phone, never have and never will! (Why not?)

-- Maybe. It really depends.(Please explain.)

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For sure
by kodiak53 / October 17, 2007 10:24 AM PDT

I know that cells phones are a convenience for most people and the few that use them for very call all day long ( and in the middle of a conversation with me) are rare. I hate the damned things, They are a pain and they do interfere with loads of business being done. I know some people use them for their sole form of communication but could you turn it off or ignore it in the middle of a conversation. As for emegencies!!! WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE CELL PHONES????????

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Life before cell phones
by KaplanMike / October 17, 2007 10:40 AM PDT
In reply to: For sure

What did we do before cell phones? Well, we all worked in big offices where we sent paper memos around, and hung around the water coolers. We had phones on every desk. And when we were out of the office, we could find pay phones on virtually every corner in a big city, and next to most big stores in the suburbs.

Well today, the pay phones are almost all gone, and a lot of us -- a LOT of us -- work for ourselves or in small businesses, where there is no receptionist, no assistant to man the phones. It's just us. When I opened my small design business in 2000, I resisted getting a cell phone. I could use pay phones and friends' phones to check my answering for messages whenever I was out of town. I kept that attitude for about eight months, where not returning a phone call for 90 minutes meant the loss of a job that would have brought in $5,000 (they found another designer before I could call back).

I bought a cell phone the next week (an early b&w Treo) and haven't looked back. These days, my cell phone is never far away, especially when I'm out of the house. With a cell phone, I'm always "in" my office, whether I'm out to lunch, at the beach, or shopping at Target.

I agree that people who don't get off the phone when they're at Starbucks, a cashier or a bank teller should be eligible for the death penalty. But otherwise, I feel my cell phone (currently the iPhone, after years with the Treo 300) is as important to my business as my landline. I would never give either one up.

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Who Needs Them!
by whbos / October 18, 2007 3:30 AM PDT
In reply to: For sure

I only have one for emergencies especially on the road, but it is the least of things I remember to take with me before I get into the car. I see so many people leave their house and the first thing they do is get on the phone. Either they don't have a landline in the home or they just can't shut up!

What is even more irritating with customers holding a cell conversation at the checkout line is when the cashier is also on the phone or paying more attention to incoming calls when he/she should be minding the register. I've actually blasted a few workers for this. If I were the manager, they would be in the unemployment line.

And what's with people who have the cell phone held in front of them as they walk. As kodiak53 said, and I've said this for years, what did these idiots do before cell phones? Sit by the phone all day waiting for it to ring. How pitiful.

I especially think the use of cell phones should be banned in all 50 states. These people cause more accidents than they probably realize.

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cell phones
by BeckyTucker / October 18, 2007 12:29 PM PDT
In reply to: For sure

My husband and I made a pact about 35 years ago when we told each other that we would be the first people on our block to own a **** Tracy wrist radio. Cell phones go one (ok, 1000) better. I rarely use mine in public. Our family uses them to stay in touch, inform each other to location, estamated time home, etc. I don't like to see folks forever on their phones, but I understand why. Communication!!!

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Cell phones are a nuisance
by Biker Jon / October 18, 2007 8:54 PM PDT
In reply to: For sure

I couldn't agree more. I think it the height of insult when you cut off a live conversation to answer a cell phone. They (cell phones) cause some to put life on hold while they stop any and all activities to answer that thing. They have their place lile anything else. Many days I leave mine in the car or in my brief case and just wait until it is convient to answer. I also try to keep in on vibrate so I don't disturb things like weddings and other serious ceremonies.

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What did we do before cell phones?
by FVTampa / November 17, 2007 5:51 AM PST
In reply to: For sure

Before we had cell phones, you could stop at a convenience store or street corner and use a pay phone. Now, most pay phones are being taken out of these locations because of crime - drugs, etc. Either you have a drug dealer using the phone for contacts, or they are hanging out waiting to make a call or receive calls. (Receiving calls have been taken away at most if not all of the remaining pay phones). There are other reasons such as convenient store owners do not want people just hanging out in the front of the store to use the phone. They feel that this takes away from actual customer space. Also, because pay phone users are making less money because of cell phone usage.

Since most pay phones have been taken out and most people have cell phones these days (yes, it is a bit of a catch 22), we have to have cell phones for contact purposes and safety. If I breakdown on the road, it is very comforting to know I have a contact line to the outside, AAA roadside service, and so forth. I remember one time I broke down on Adamo Drive in the middle of the night. I got picked up luckily by a man who was a father and he gave me a lesson in finding pay phones. I was lucky because another man could have stopped that was not so nice. Yes, it was in the before-cell phone era. Bottom line --cell phones are a necessity for safety and convenience stake.

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by Dat270 / October 17, 2007 10:32 AM PDT

My cell phone is given to my by my office, meaning, if they call, I need to answer. In other words, I can live without my phone, but my boss can't!

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it REALLY depends...
by aeg4compy / October 17, 2007 12:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Maybe

Depending on what you do for a living, you may NEED a cell phone.
Being able to get constant updates on a situation in the corporate world gives a constant advantage over competing businesses.

It also depends on age.
Those people that are older tend to not care for such technology because it was introduced to them at an age where they are most likely fully developed in routine and are not open to new ideas.
--This is not denouncing older people as stubborn.

Younger folk are in the process of developing as people. Communication is a part of this developing process. Cellphones are the way to communicate unless told otherwise.

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by marybmcc / October 17, 2007 11:57 PM PDT
In reply to: it REALLY depends...

Another big problem for me is cell phone users accepting personal calls during working hours. Somewhere along the line, the callers have been given permission to call the cell phone owners at any time during the day with any subject (not emergency situations). I find this of utmost rudeness, mainly because cell phone owners do not know how to speak quietly and because, work has stopped when the owner switches to their private life mode. "I'm raising children" does not cut it for me. I raised children without infringing upon someone else and without taking time out of my employer's time. The cell phone owner is teaching their children and friends rude behavior. Dumb is teaching dumber.... Just how important do you need to feel?

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I'm an 'old guy' and I do have a cell phone
by softwarecritic / October 18, 2007 4:11 AM PDT
In reply to: it REALLY depends...

I am absolutely digusted to see people with cell phones glued to their ears while they are driving. That is a known safety hazard and is banned in many countries. I am also annoyed when people in restaurants have their cells glued to their faces and carry on loud conversations. I consider it to be rude and obtrusive.

I have cell phone -a Jitterbug - which I have mainly for possible calls to 911. I also use it to tell people when I am running late for appointments. Even then I pull off the road,if necessary, to use it.

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given to me by my office.
by kodiak53 / October 18, 2007 9:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Maybe

If your phone was given to you by the OFFICE and they really need to get ahold of you I am sure that they realize that there are times that you should not answer the damned thing. Like when you are driving or when you are in a conversation with a customer!!! Use your common sense ( if you have any) and do not endanger or be rude to other people because of a phone!!

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Talk about rude
by Treker / November 3, 2007 3:49 AM PDT

I don't think you need to be swearing at this person. They have a right to their opinion as well.

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Untethered for years
by rcardona2k / October 17, 2007 10:39 AM PDT

I dumped my landline back in 2000 so my cellphone is my only phone. I have my plan and calling patterns tuned perfectly. I love not paying for LD (who does these days?) and I'm considerate of others. I use it in an empty conference room, in open areas or outside only. Although I do check email on it a little too often.

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A life line
by MacKillBill / October 17, 2007 6:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Untethered for years

I can understand many people detesting the intrusion and tethering by cell phones but I think the question of are they essential to modern life or are the bane of it comes down to having a good reason to keep a cell phone. My simple Motorola C115 has been my ownly contact while I had no permanent address. I could not have done without it for that reason. They serve as a insurance against mainline failure. You can keep one as a backup on a low use plan. There is no substitute for having a cell phone for emergency calls if your car breaks down for instance. If your business requires one then appreciate it for the income it helps bring you. Turn it off when you want to leave your work for the day. They are a tool. You either need one or you do not. Just never let it become something that controls you. That is the moment it starts to ruin your life. But it will not be the fault of technology or people, only the owner.

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No way
by jahan / October 17, 2007 10:43 AM PDT

We don't even have a landline anymore. it's all mobile and VoiP for our house now.

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well what did you do before?
by andified / October 17, 2007 10:43 AM PDT

the poll asks what you would do if there was an emergency and you didn't have a cell phone...well what did everyone do before? honestly, everyone acts like we were all lost little children before the invention of cell phones. there are always options, it's just that we've basically forgotten them because we depend so much on our cell phones. typically I don't even use mine, I just have one because my parents think it's necessary for "emergencies." but I can make do with pay phones and the like since there typically is a phone basically everywhere I go. it's just kind of silly for people think say they can't live without a cell phone I think.

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don't rely on pay phones in Manhattan
by dg27 / October 17, 2007 11:02 AM PDT

>>>" since there typically is a phone basically everywhere I go..."

I take it you do not frequent New York. Good luck in an emergency there w/o a cell.

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Not a snowball's chance in hell...
by gallusnation / October 17, 2007 10:44 AM PDT

My mobile literally is my only form of outside communication i can count on. Internet access is nearly always being in a temperamental state or not working at all... i dont have a house phone... dont have a car... public transport is attrocious... and unfortunately i dont live in the good old fashioned days where everyone i knew lives a mile from my front door... more to the point i dont have a front door i can call my own cos im moving about too much :S

so yeah... my phone is kinda important to me...

on a sidenote... slightly off topic... the main annoyance i have with modern communications... mobiles/cell phones included is that we no longer know our neighbours... that bugs me... i know more people on the other side of the world than i do in my own street Sad

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Time management dream
by tbrucia / October 17, 2007 10:47 AM PDT

When I need information I don't need to write a note to myself, wait until I get to a wired phone, dig out my notes, and communicate. I handle tasks as they come up, no matter where I am. If stuck wasting time (waiting rooms?), I can use my time for something productive. I can pick up voicemail anytime and anywhere, and respond in a timely manner to requests for information. Cellphones allow me to get a lot done in those frequent 'idle minutes' that would otherwise simply be wasted! Cellphones are a godsend!

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response choices are flawed
by dg27 / October 17, 2007 10:59 AM PDT

I selected "No way! This is my main point of contact and . feel naked without it. (What if you were in a dead zone?)" with great reservations, because it's very misleading, as are all of the choices: they are way too extreme. I always turn my cell off in theatres, restaurants, and anywhere else where I feel that I do not want anyone to be disturbed. In general, I probably use it less than most users, but it is very convenient for someone who moves from place to place during the course of the day. What did I do before I had it? I wasted a lot of time checking my answering machine [no longer even have one @ home]. And before answering machines? Well then things really were a bit of a pain and even more time was wasted and opportunities lost. Would I give it up? That's akin to asking whether I'd give up modern dentistry, homogenized milk, or, a computer, for that matter. My answer is a resounding no--why should I? Just as guns don't kill [it's the one who pulls the trigger who takes care of that], cell phones don't disturb others--it's the insensitive, brainless cretins who misuse them who do.

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Use Wisely or Leave Them at Home
by arou42 / October 18, 2007 12:28 AM PDT

I agree with the sentiment that the choices were too extreme; beyond that, I think of cell phones as somewhere between a necessary evil and a blessed convenience. I've had prepaid service with AT&T since January 1 of 2001. My service costs me a total of $100/year, plus tax. I've never, in all those years, used up my minutes and have always carried a balance of WAY over $150 (they've always had a rollover plan and my unused minutes have never expired). This is because my cell phone has always been for emergencies, "hi, 'bye," and "I'm here, where are you?" I even retrieve voice messages on a land line. I can't afford a regular plan and don't want one. They sound terrible compared to land lines, they get hot, and God knows what they're shooting into your brain. In addition, I agree that users' manners are atrocious. I once heard someone on the street complaining loudly that he'd witnessed a car accident caused because s woman talking on her cell phone; she continued to talk as she got out of the car. This is lunacy. I have NO interest in hearing other people's one-way conversations and I make it a point to try to be courteous with regard to my own (such as they are).
I'm delighted that this technology exists and that I can have it for my purposes at such a reasonable price, but I think many people overuse it, sometimes creating hazards and very often creating irritation.

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by t0ny1957 / October 17, 2007 11:06 AM PDT

It is a great convenience, but I don't even bother taking it out of the car when I go to a restaurant or into church, etc.

Ya know, one of the things that seperates us from the lower animals is civility and I think that there's a real lack of civility and manners in modern society. Perhaps we SHOULD give people that use cell phones in restaurants the evil-eye. Maybe they'd get the message, maybe not. You'd most likely get the standard American "It's a free country, I can do whatever I want", but that's not how our Bill of Rights reads to me.

We have freedom, but not when our freedom tramples on the rights of others. Someone using a cell phone in a restaurant or delaying a line in a coffee shop because they don't have common sense or manners tramples on my right to expect prompt service and, in the case of the restaurant, a quiet meal.

What happened to teaching kids manners as they grow up? What happened to expecting adults to act in a civil manner? If technology allows us to be rude, then to what depths have we sunk?


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What if there is an emergency?
by cathrynm47 / October 17, 2007 11:07 AM PDT

I had to weigh in on this conversation because this very thing came up for me. I witnessed a car go over the side of the road, so I stopped to get on my cell phone (this was in 2005) and call for emergency. Guess what? I was in a no-service/dead spot or something, so I couldn't make the call. Lot of good my cell phone did me then. Fortunately someone else came along and was able to use his cell phone (I have no idea which company he used) enough to get out an emergency call. Needless to say, I was very upset. I don't depend on my cell phone for anything. I have a prepaid plan and I do take it with me when I travel, but I also think through where the emergency phones are, rest stops, etc. Even where I live, my cell phone cannot get service--I have to walk a mile up to the end of the road to get a faint signal. For me, the cell phone is just not reliable technology even for emergencies--not even addressing the issue of inexcusable rudeness on the part of many cell phone users.

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Poll: Could you live without your cell phone?
by amckenas / October 17, 2007 11:08 AM PDT

I use a cell phone exclusively. I have a land line but mostly use it if I need to send or receive a fax from my PC. The cell phone has proven invaluable when I have had auto breakdowns. People can reach me if necessary (no more 'phone tag'). However if I am called while I am doing something and would be inconvenienced or would inconvenience someone else, I press the 'quiet' button and deal with the call later.

I am annoyed by some people don't have the brains to do their own shopping. Or those who interrupt a conversation with me to yak on the cell. Or those who speak like they are shouting to someone in the next block.

Before cell phones I used to run across people who obviously had a screw loose and were talking away to people who were not there. Now I find myself checking to see if 'one person' conversations involve a cell or just someone whose deck got shuffled!

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The cellphones are not the problem. The people are.
by FrankWoolf / October 17, 2007 11:14 AM PDT

You guys in the US and Europe are lucky. Try living in Hong Kong and you will see how bad it can get.

It is quite normal for locals to hold conversations shouting at the top of their voices in buses, elevators, restaurants, etc. Cellphones just make the problem worse as we now sit in a bus or restaurant, etc and have to put up with with bored passengers calling one friend after another and shouting their conversations through cell phones.

I use my cellphones a lot but I am sure I never cause annoyance to other people.

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why you say like that
by shebeeb1900 / October 19, 2007 10:39 PM PDT

why you say like that people in US and Europe are lucky. people who know to use the cellphone are rare but there are people in US also who don't know to use a celphone

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Pay Phones
by Tinatoo / October 17, 2007 11:16 AM PDT

I find pay phones very hard to find these days. I have a cell phone but is is hardly ever turned on. When I do use it I am parked in a parking lot, usually asking if I need to pick up any groceries.

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Where are all the pay phones ?
by suedihfed / October 17, 2007 11:21 AM PDT

I really wish I could do without my cell phone. I think society has become detached and rude because of them. I have noticed that there are very few pay phones around any more and I work nights. If I have car trouble I want to be able to call the AAA without having to walk alone at night looking for a working phone.

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Cell phones- actually good for games
by glen271 / October 17, 2007 11:32 AM PDT

Recently, I got a mediocre Nokia cell phone. (It's too soft and you have to put it on speaker to hear well.) I am on a pay as you go plan, so I don't make a lot of calls, and don't really regard my cellphone as essential. But then I discovered that it came with some actually fun games! Better than solitaire. I am killing my cellphone battery playing games. Who cares about the calls?


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Yes - There was life before cell phones!
by dmerrick12953 / October 17, 2007 11:34 AM PDT

I don't see it as a problem to live without a cell phone. Cell phones are a convenience not a necessity. My children might feel different. (They are in there 30's)

I have to tell you that it is real annoying to watch children as young as 7 and 8 with there cell phone glued to their ear. We worry about how our kids will grow up and parents hand them cell phones to access all kinds of things and kids think they are entitled to have their own cell phone.

I don't want to go back and live in a cave but we really don't need cell phones. If you think you need one for an emergency or your child needs one for an emergency, get one that dials only 911!

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