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Phone technology has come a long way

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POSTED: February 2, 2012 5:00 p.m.
Photo by Francis Bond/

The telephone weighed more than 3 pounds, and the cellphone on the right, well, you can guess how much that one weighs.

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We all know what a cellphone is and the possible health effects of the frequencies involved over a long period, but do we appreciate the benefits and realize what made it all possible?
Cellphones, iPods, iPhones and many other electronic devices — computers, digital sound, digital pictures, digital TV and on and on — are based completely on the digital system.
The use of the digital system is made possible by the binary system. It’s the reason for the difference in size and performance.
There are changes taking place in other fields right due to the digital system — and communication by the cellphone and other devices are just some of them.
The binary numeric system is not new. As history has it, a Hindu by the name of Pingala, who lived during the second century B.C., presented the first known description of a binary numeral system. Its use was dormant until the 20th century. In between these two periods, volumes have been written about the subject.
The cellphone and all its derivatives are now part of us in so many ways that they are irreversible.
Right here in Richmond Hill, and all over the world, can you remember when we only had the one phone we called the telephone?
The only places we see the old telephones are in antique stores and flea markets, and some are considered valuable collectibles.
The telephone’s only use now is that it defines an era we once lived in.
What has the arrival of the cellphone done to us? Remember expressions like, “You may use my phone; it’s over there on the table,” or “There’s a pay phone on the wall”? I miss that.
The old bell-ringing telephone is just another part of our culture that is in the passing parade. Although we no longer see it around in most public places, some of us still have them in our homes, mostly for nostalgia.
What has the cellphone done for us? There is no limit to the speed in which we can communicate anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, and its uses are nearly limitless. No longer do we have to ask an operator to put in a long-distance call for us.
There are uses of the cellphone that have not yet been developed. They have inspired the creation of the iPhone and iPad and other electronic devices.
How easy and convenient it is — while standing in a crowd or stopping in a grocery store wondering what to pick up for supper — to just whip out the little bug and call home. By now, most of us take it for granted.
Eventually, the use of the cellphone and all its derivatives will become old hat. Maybe it, too, will be replaced by yet another form of communication. But even so, we long will remember the romantic era of the old bell-ringing telephone.

Bond lives in Richmond Hill.

 

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