‘My new mobile is lumbered with a bewildering array of unnecessary features aimed at idiots’

Posted in Miscellany by netscheri on August 4, 2007

I find this article-review hilarious. From The Guardian –

It is astounding how quickly you get used to technological change. For instance, within the space of 18 months, I have gone from regarding wireless broadband as an outlandish novelty to considering it my God-given right. Cables appal me – they belong to the stone age – alongside electric typewriters, fax machines, video recorders, pagers and the plough.

But there is one device I just can’t get comfortable with – my mobile phone. I’m not some medieval yeoman, infuriated by mobiles full stop. Just this particular model. The trouble started the afternoon someone from Orange rang me up to say, “Hey, valued customer – do you want a free phone?” At first I wasn’t interested, but he went on and on about how popular and great the Samsung E900 was, then promised me free texts at weekends for life if I said yes. So I gave in.

The phone arrived the next day and immediately began elbowing me in the ribs. It seems to have been designed specifically to irritate anyone with a mind. It starts gently – a pinch of annoyance here, an inconvenience there – but before long the steady drip, drip, drip of minor frustrations begins to affect your quality of life, like a mouth ulcer, or a stone in your boot, or the lingering memory of love gone sour. The menu system is a confusing mangle of branching dead ends. It has touch-sensitive buttons that either refuse to work, or leap into action if you breathe on them. One such button also terminates calls, so it is easy to cut people off merely by holding the phone against your ear to hear them. It has no apparent “silent” mode, and when you set it to vibrate, it buzzes like a hornet in a matchbox. It is lumbered with a bewildering array of unnecessary “features” aimed at idiots, including a mode that scans each text message and turns some of the words into tiny animations, so if someone texts to say they have just run over your child in their car, the word “car” is replaced by a wacky cartoon vehicle putt-putting onto the screen. There is also a crap built-in game in which you play a rabbit (“Step into the role of Bobby Carrot – the new star of cute, mind-cracking carrot action!”). When you dial a number, you have a choice of seeing said number in a gigantic, ghastly typeface, or watching it moronically scribbled on parchment by an animated quill. I can’t find an option to see it in small, uniform numbers. The whole thing is the visual equivalent of a moronic clip-art jumble sale poster designed in the dark by a myopic divorcee experiencing a freak biorhythmic high. Worst of all, it seems to have an unmarked omnipresent shortcut to Orange’s internet service, which means that whether you are confused by the menu, or the typeface, or the user- confounding buttons, you are never more than one click away from accidentally plunging into an overpriced galaxy of idiocy, which, rather than politely restricting itself to news headlines and train timetables, thunders “BUFF OR ROUGH? GET VOTING!” and starts hurling cameraphone snaps of “babes and hunks” in their underwear at you, presumably because some pin-brained coven of marketing gonks discovered the average Orange internet user was teenage and incredibly stupid, so they set about mercilessly tailoring all their “content” toward priapic halfwits, thereby assuring no one outside this slim demographic will ever use their gaudy, insulting service ever again. And then they probably reached across the table and high-fived each other for skilfully delivering “targeted content” or something, even though what they should really have done, if there was any justice in the world, is smash the desk to pieces, select the longest wooden splinters they could find, then drive them firmly into their imbecilic, atrophied, world-wrecking rodent brains.

Anyway, over the past week, I’ve bumped into other people scowling at the same poxy phone as me. And in each case, the story is the same: Orange rang up and offered them one for nothing. It’s spreading like a sinister virus, putting me in mind of the meteor storm at the start of Day of the Triffids – a seemingly innocent event that rapidly cripples humankind. My theory: the government is offloading these twittering handheld crapstones on to as many people as possible in a bid to whip us all into a state of perpetual, simmering anger in readiness for some kind of bare-knuckle street war. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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