The future is now

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37 points
  • BearnieZardoz

    How would righty know how to use that phone? He doesn’t even know how to put on a cap.

  • Inaba

    i mean, it’s not exactly the most intuitive design

    • Martin Kamenov Georgiev

      How is a smartphone more intuitive?

      • Inaba

        they’re not persay, but they’ve had a hundred years to simplify icons, acclimate people to them and streamline the design in general
        i’m thinking more in the line of buttons

        • Shibuya

          but rotary phones do not have buttons.

          • Inaba

            that was my point

          • Shibuya

            oooo i misread that i retract my comment.

          • Martin Kamenov Georgiev

            Smartphones do not have buttons to dial as well.
            And while you may ridicule the penny-farthing, it is the sole reason why your sorry privileged ass gets to ride on a mountain bike.

          • Inaba

            i am sure we would’ve ended up with the now antiquated technology of mountain bikes without taking a detour to that evolutionary dead end on the way
            they are both just bad engineering

        • Martin Kamenov Georgiev

          Wait…. what?!? A simple Wiki search shows that rotary phones have been around since the 1890s and with a simple converter, you can use them even today. So, that is about 130 years of use and experience.
          Smart phones – NOT mobile phones – became widely popular with the iPhone 1, introduced in 2005 – just 14 years ago. Unless my math is as bad as my meth, I’d say 130 years is a way longer period than 14 years.
          To that regard, in these 14 years I would argue that the basic calling function of a smartphone has not developed one inch. You still press on the telephone handset icon, a keyboard appears and you press on the numbers. Simplifying, acclimating and streamlining is nothing but corporate fluff to wow customers into overpaying mediocrity.

          • Inaba

            are you honestly arguing that rotary phones are not completely worthless?
            are you saying that whoever came up with a wheel before buttons did a good job?
            and we’ve had the same recognizable icons on everything from remote controls to just regular push-button phones that they apparently upgraded to before my mom was born

            i’m like actually offended that you’d defend a technology this backwards, you fucking boomer
            oh, and we had cellphones since forever

          • Martin Kamenov Georgiev

            If you are 12, then I have nothing else to say.
            If you’re anything over that, then I don’t want to say anything else.

          • Shibuya

            i still have a rotary phone that works. its from my grandparents. think its from late 40s early 50s thing works fine to this day.

          • Inaba

            sure thing grandpa, go ride around on your pennyfarthing

          • The009

            Actually I will defend a technology that STILL WORKS today. Works without issues. Hold up to WAY MORE abuse then a cell phone ever could.

            Your argument is like saying. I am going to throw this T-Shirt out because its has a tv show name on it that was canceled.

            Just because it is not part of the time dose not mean it is not worth still using or having.

          • fanofde4ever

            Rotary phones were rotary, cause it was the simplest design that worked with the phone system at the time. The number being dialed (and it’s called dialing because of the dial on rotary phones FYI) was indicated by clicks. Spin the dial to 5, and it clicked 5 times on the way back around. Unless you wanted to hit a button 40 times or whatever with the correct timing to get your call connected a device that did the number, and timing of the clicks for you and all you had to do was spin a dial was ingenious.

            Today yes they are antiquated, but for a completely analog system from before circuit boards and LCD displays it was a damn good design. If you have an issue it should be with a phone system that worked based on clicks through the phone line, and not with the phone designed to work with that system.

          • RC

            “We’ve had cell phones since forever”

            I’m in my thirties and remember a time before cell phones…..

          • BlackSwan

            I’m 27 and remember back before cellphones…

          • Shivers

            I have a surprise for you…. the earliest commercial telephones where you actually dialed a number were push-button!

            However, forget “before computers”, this was before electronic circuitry. Heck, you were living wealthy if you had electricity and running water. So the only way they could think of was to send a little pulse of down the phone line. What they did was to have a different button for each digit, that you pressed the number of times designated, so that a ten-digit phone number like we have now would take a solid couple of minutes to dial. Rotary dials were a massive improvement that sent out the pulses in a rapid-fire way. And then, guess what, once they had the ability to do so, they went back to a better push-button method that landlines still use (touch-tone.)

            Just because folks had a lower level of technology than we currently enjoy doesn’t mean that the device was badly designed, just that it was the best possible at the time. I predict that later in your lifetime, some kid is going to say to you “What’s a phone number? That seems like a stupid thing to have to do!” They’ll be absolutely unable to dial a push button cell phone from today since they grew up with cell phones that automatically self-program numbers in, so they just have to say “Hello Assistant, call Steve Smith” to whatever Alexa or Cortana or whatever automated assistant is dominant at that time. I predict that at some point soon-ish, the communications industries will link some databases such that people and businesses will funnel phone calls through primary e-mail addresses since then you can phone and e-mail from the same piece of info. SMS will get merged into e-mail from the user side, only making a difference on the infrastructure/delivery side. The user’s experience of acquiring contact info will be near-field device-to-device handshakes, QR or similar codes in person, and automated standardised contact snippets from the internet. “Shivers at server dot service provider” is both faster and more memorable than rattling off ten numbers and reconfirming it back, then doing the same with the e-mail, then saying which method you want used. But that’s the best that we have at this time.


            In regards to the “cell phones have been around” comments, please let me share some context with you.

            I grew up predominantly with touch-tone phones, as you pointed out, but in the 90s, it was common for a house to have 2, 3, sometimes more landline telephone sets. Most houses still had 1 phone that was older than the rest and used a rotary dial, because if it’s not broken, why replace it? It’s only 5 more seconds. Bell Canada still supports pulse-dialing because there are still some rotary-only customers out there to this day with very old accounts.

            The very first time I was entrusted with a cell phone would have been in the summer of 1996 if I’m not mistaken (small chance of 1995) and I remember that day well because of that excitement of actually making a phone call on it. It was a barely functional novelty at the time, so that even outdoors in a city, call quality was on par with a walkie talkie at the very limits of its range with frequent dropping due to the limitations of the analog network, and having to repeat everything three times to get it right.

            In 2002 or 2003, I got a cell phone of my own that had a plan of 50 minutes for $50 a month, with free calls from 8am-4am daily, when the earliest digital networks rolled out with spotty coverage where the phone would switch back to analog mode, still subject to drops and incomprehensibility. Analog networks in Canada were only discontinued in 2008, and are still in use in some areas of Russia.

            I didn’t buy my first “smart” phone until 2013, admittedly a late adoption. But that ain’t forever or 100 years as you claim. That’s not even “one decade ago.” Dumb phones are still available to buy brand new today, and some people will use em for a good couple decades yet.

            Just because a product has been produced and proven to work in a lab doesn’t mean that the actual functionality has reached the public yet. Just as rotary dial telephones stuck around for 30 years after touch-tone began (they were still common when I was a kid), so too have you grown up with landlines. There is always an overlap of technologies.


            In short…. don’t be condescending, kid. You are probably not the next Socrates.

          • Inaba

            you expect me to read that_ ill go to the wiki if i start caring

  • Justin Geer

    80’s kids will never forget the first moment that phone was slid to you in the school office to call your parents.

  • BlackSwan

    Naw. Just experienced. xD

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