Monday, February 25, 2019

The No-Win of Phones

Photo by Salt Water New England
It is a pleasure to live with things that generally align with ones needs and aesthetics.  Given that, phones provide what often seems to be a no-win challenge.  The design of most of the phones that are useful (including, for example, spam blocking) are often discordant with the rest of the house.  More expensive high tech phones look better and sleeker, but they do not necessarily behave better or last longer, and still look dated quickly.  Reproductions of older phones, or in some cases the actual older phones, have some appeal, but functionality is thin.

Given that, how have you reconciled the phone challenge?

Still in Use

36 comments:

  1. We eliminated our landlines ages ago. Telephones are less inharmonious when in your pocket.

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  2. Never had one, never needed one. Mobile phone contracts are so cheap, a landline phone is simply unnecessary.

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  3. Same. Somehow the buried cable for our landline kept getting disturbed and the connection was iffy at best. The phone company seemed to give up on fixing it, so so we gave up, too. A cell phone lies inconspicuously on a shelf or stack of books.

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  4. I have a cable landline at home and use a vintage working rotary phone in each room (estate sale finds.) I love the sound of a true, non-simulated bell ringing and the colors of each (white, yellow, turquoise, pink, cherry red). In my online account I'm able to block all calls to my landline except for numbers I enter which is standard for any cable phone account. I do not like using my mobile phone for personal calls when I'm home. In addition to a rotary in my home office I also have a "modern" phone since businesses no longer offer the option: "And if you're on a rotary phone, please hold for an operator." Also, I like the speaker option for the long hold times that seem common today.

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  5. Love that phone. Would still use one like that if I could find it.
    I have a 100+ year old desk in the office with a 80 year old am/shortwave radio that would be age appropriate for a phone like that. Yes we still have a landline and have set up our cordless phones in out of the way places.

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  6. Every month I get annoyed at the $100 invoice I get for the landline that really is useless unless you enjoy spam calls daily. Then I think back to Hurricane Sandy and how it destroyed the Jersey Shore and the only phone that worked was the landline. So I still have the landline. Because destructive weather is getting more and more common.

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    1. I keep a land line for the very same reason, and non-electric cord phone plugged in to the jack, only to find my land line is no longer on a cable, but wireless. So, it goes out when the power goes out. You might want to check yours. All best.

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    2. Thanks I will!

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  7. Buy a modern phone with a retro or vintage design. Wild & Wolf's has a range of corded phones with 60s and 70s looks - https://www.wildandwolf.com/brands/telephones-brands/. There must be other options too.

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  8. We too finally abandoned landlines in 2015. Much easier to drop a fully recharged mobile phone in a drawer. However, they and the related charger cord-plug thingies look pretty awful when left in view as do similar laptop/iPad/charger combos. The bane of one's existence if you care about how your interior looks and keeping surfaces and outlets clutter free.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  9. I had all the phone jacks and wiring removed here. Problem solved.

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    1. If my wife would sit still for that (and she is the true techno junkie of the pair), I'd have it done tomorrow.

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  10. Sadly, we live in an area with not-that-great cell service, so we hold onto our landline. It's tucked behind the microwave in the kitchen, but I can still see it! And, yes, I still pay for the landline and my cell phone service. Grrrrr

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  11. I live in hurricane country so I must keep my landline which doesn't cost much at all when added to my internet service. I keep my landline phone and base in my office and move the handset around the house during the day. I also have another base and handset in my garage. My cell phone stays in my purse until I decide to use it and I charge it in my kitchen.

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  12. Some years ago, we correlated headaches and irritability with EMF (Electro-Magnetic Frequency) radiation sensitivity. We lived for some time very near TV transmission towers that bristled with microwave antennae (our garage door opened randomly when the local PBS channel did maintenance on their antenna). Carrying a portable EMF meter around was an eye opener. The stores we just didn’t like turned out to be high in EMF. I now understood why I would be so impatient and irritable with the unfortunate clerks in the local Barnes and Noble music department. The store’s Wi-Fi antenna was right above the cash register.

    We opted for a non-wireless lifestyle: Land-line phone, shielded Cat5 ethernet cables, disabled Wi-Fi on all devices, no “Internet-of-Things” appliances (Who wants a refrigerator that snitches on you anyway?). We chose our internet service provider based on their ability to supply a router that could be cord only with an actual, physical switch to disable Wi-Fi. Among the worst offenders are cordless phones with a base station. We have taken the meter along when viewing condominiums. The radiation from adjoining units is enough to register. If the base station was in the unit, the reading was off the chart.

    We turn the router and PCs off when not in use. It may take a few minutes longer to boot up and answer those burning questions like “What year is Steed’s Bentley in that Avengers episode?”, but life is good.

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    1. Where do you get the meter, please? I've been saying the same thing for some time, but did not realize there was a way to read it.

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    2. EMR has become the cigarette of the 21st century. I feel the same as you about all the ' smart' ( I call it Nanny) technology. I don't need AI to tell me when I'm out of milk or that I'm driving out of my lane or that it's time to take my clothes out of the washer. We now have adults who don't know how to think for themselves.

      What are we going to do when 5G hits us in the near future?

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    3. Apologies to Muffy. I didn’t mean to hijack the thread topic on to EMF radiation sensitivity. That said, the meter we have is a Cornet Electrosmog. They are available from Amazon. If anyone is interested in a basic introduction to the topic, there is a good TED Talk on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0NEaPTu9oI
      To answer Muffy’s original question: We have the basic AT&T 210 Trimline corded phone. It does what we want, it’s only $12.99 and the buttons are big enough to use your sterling Tiffany phone dialer (I speak from experience).

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    4. EMF- its valid;

      https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2015/07/us/quiet-town-american-story/

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    5. I have a sterling Tiffany phone dialer! It was my aunt's. :)

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    6. Thank you for the information. Much appreciated. Patsy, thought the furrier comment was very funny. Reminded me of an old song where the parents are reluctant to send their daughter off to a party at the Astor Hotel. "She had to go and lose it at the Astor!" it is called, and turns out at the end she has misplaced her sable.

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  13. We'll always keep our landline (assuming we have the option) for the same reason others here have noted: it works through disasters better than the electric power system. Also, the audio quality is far, far better than any cell phone I've heard.

    As for cell phones, I have one for work, which I dislike, and my wife has one that she uses only for outgoing calls. The rest of the time it's turned off and she hasn't set up any voice mail. When I retire, I'll happily give up the cell phone.

    As for the internet of things — you gotta be kidding. That's one of the dumbest ideas imaginable. We don't even have a programmable thermostat, just the classic Honeywell Round on which the temperature is set manually. You turn it down when you go to bed, and turn it up when you get up. C'mon, how hard is that?

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  14. We had a phone like the one on the bottom on the Cape. If you stood on the floor while using it, you got an electric shock, so you had to remain seated on the bed.

    My mother gave her sister a Tiffany rotary phone dialer many many many years ago. It was supposed to spare your manicure. It's my favorite party game - "guess what this is?".

    Did away with a landline years ago.

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  15. I know we are discussing telephones but what about the high tech flat screen televisions? I don't care for gigantic televisions - especially when placed over a fireplace. I'm just curious where people keep their televisions or how they disguise them.

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    1. What's a "television"...?

      OK, OK, but we sometimes sit down to our super-wide-screen 18-inch and binge-watch things like Downton Abbey. The monster screen sits on a small roll-away stand so it can disappear at will.

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    2. Am I really that old? Pffff! But, I can be hip too...remember the British 1936 Television Song ( check it out on Youtube)?

      A mighty blaze of mystic magic rays
      Is all about us in the blue
      And in sight and sound they trace Living pictures out of space
      To bring our new wonder to you
      The busy world before you is unfurled
      It calms – It’s tears and laughter to
      One by one they play their part In this latest of the arts
      To bring new enchantment to you
      As by your fireside you sit
      The news will blip
      Upon on the silver screen
      And just for entertaining you
      With something new
      The stars will then be seen – so
      There’s joy in store
      The world is at your door
      It’s here for everyone to view
      Conjured up in sound and sight
      By the magic rays of light
      That bring Television to you

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  16. When I was growing up we had a wall mounted rotary phone in our kitchen. Our phone number was one number off from the Fire Dept and people would dial our house instead, give the address of the emergency, and hang up. We would call the fire department and pass on the info. Finally, my mom couldn't take it anymore and we changed our number and got a modern push button phone.

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    1. Ours was one number off from the furrier! Old ladies would call about having their coats taken in/out of storage - lol! "This is Mrs. Smith calling, I'd like my sheared beaver ready by November 1st"

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    2. Sheared Beaver! hahahaha
      My old phone number was one digit off from WALMART!!! Can you imagine what Christmas Eve was like at my house? We immediately removed that line.

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  17. We have several telephones. In bedrooms, we have our (old reliable) Western Electric TrimLine TouchTone table-top telephones - in neutral colors - on the night stands. Living room and Den have Western Electric TouchTone table-top telephones, each in a wooden rectangular case. This looks like a curio box until opened to reveal a beige key pad and handset. We bought ours new in the 1980s. The Western Electric telephones were designed to last, and so they have. In the basement, a wall-mounted Western Electric TouchTone telephone is in the utility area.

    On the television front, the last programme we watched was the Great British Bake Off - last August. At Christmas, we realized we hadn't watched any form of TV or DVD/Blue-Ray since August, so we unplugged the TV and moved it into basement storage. So far, we have not missed it at all. We never had cable/satellite TV, instead relying upon a good quality TV antenna in the attic. We each still have several books queued up to read. A side benefit is that the house looks much better without the TV set.

    I guess we are statistical outliers, but the above works well for us. We listen primarily to Classical music (Baroque and earlier) which makes us statistical outliers in a different dimension.

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  18. I have a lovely old style reproduction phone from Pottery Barn that sits out, proudly. However, due to the need of cordless, I tuck those handsets behind lamps, photo frames, etc. Allowing the best of both worlds.

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  19. Most of my calls/texts/emails/messages/alerts come across on my iphone, which can be handy-but annoying. The antique phones, like the one shown in the last photo, are still available at Killian's Hardware in Chestnuthill, PA. I've been tempted to get one. It depends on how I want to interpret "simplify".

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  20. Still have a landline and use a "pay as you go" cellphone carrier. It works fine for us and I know that if the electric goes out for an extended period of time, I still have a way to contact the electric company as well as friends and family.

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  21. I have a 1960's rotary phone with a land line today, due to winter wind storms and hurricanes. Two years ago, it was the only thing that worked due to no electricity for five days. We became the neighborhood darlings.

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    1. I'm curious about this - did the wind storms and hurricanes damage the cell towers? Why wouldn't cell phones work?

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