So yesterday I dropped my phone in a toilet and was forced to take out the battery and wait until it dries out to use it again. Which is incredibly frustrating when my boyfriend lives far far away, but is also making me think about memory and history. In school, I had tons of phone numbers memorized-- easily twenty and possibly even more. Because there was no option. Now that my phone will store those numbers for me, I wouldn't even recognize the number if a friend called me on someone else's phone. Until recently, I didn't even know my own boyfriends number, because to me it was '1 call' instead of a complex stream of numbers. Phone numbers are in a way becoming like URLs, where the number itself is computer code that most people don't need or want to learn and all that matters is the pretty name you attach to it. Which in turn makes sense when you think about the way phone numbers used to work at the turn of the last century, when you could ask the operator for 'San Francisco 295' or the like. This is not a profound thought, I'm just musing. And attempting to make the pitiful state of my phone into more than just an incredibly annoying accident!

Wish me a working phone in the morning!

From: [identity profile]

I have a friend who doesn't have any numbers programmed into his phone, and...well, he's probably got a bunch of reasons, one of which is that he's too lazy to do it, but part of it is because he believes that he should be able to dial the numbers himself. I say that's garbage. All automated systems substitute a code for doing a task. Want to watch "ER"? You have to remember to turn on Channel 10 at 10:00 on Thursday. That's a code. If I want to talk to Red, I have to enter your code in my phone. And if I want my computer to do my taxes, I have to write several million lines of code -- or buy that code from Intuit, who's already written them. It's a level of abstraction that's supposed to become less and less necessary over time. Someday, I'll be able to look at my computer, say "Do my taxes, Hal," and the computer will do it. Simple as that. Right now, I can open up my phone, say "Call Red" and the phone will do it. (Or it would, if I knew your number. But if I did, I'd have it on voice-dial, because I love voice-dial, and I have all my numbers programmed that way.) That's the way it's supposed to be -- the number was a middleman, a relic of the past. You only need it if your system breaks down.


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