Is it a good connection ?

                                             I just met Joan Baez after a recent concert that she performed in Austin, TX. I reached into my pocket for my smart phone to get a picture. I then discovered that there were black blotches on my screen and a crack on my screen.

                                            So much for the idea of taking a picture. I decided that I needed to try and figure out what has happening to my phone. I retreated to an uber upscale bar/restaurant on Congress Street ducking a very menacing thunderstorm.  Two young professional people looked at the phone and they gave a provisional diagnosis: they were convinced that water somehow got into the phone.

                                            The thunder storm produced lots of unrelenting rain.   After several hours napping in my car at the parking garage, I ventured back out on the road back to San Antonio, TX.

                                             During the following day, I visited my cell phone carrier and asked their opinion. They pronounced that my phone was dead and immediately they wanted me to sign up for another plan, a $ 800-dollar phone at $35. Per month. Apparently, you cannot buy a phone and pay for it in full anymore.

                                            I replied to the salesperson that I thought this was a monopoly. He looked concerned and nervous and finally offered a referral to an independent business that was able to repair my phone at a fraction of what I would have had to spend buying a new one.

                                             When did technology have to become so complicated and, at times, mercenary regarding  its business practices ? I thought that technology was going to make all of our lives better and easier ?

                                             I then remembered the discussion between Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs documented in Walter Isaacson’s wonderful biography “ Steve Jobs “.  Isaacson details that Wozniak wanted the internet to be free and available for everyone, a precursor to net neutrality. Jobs wants the internet to be subject to some controls that would leverage things to be more profitable for apple.

                                              Here’s the rub-this mentality now permeates the telecommunications industry. We are supposed to be grateful and accept that a phone we use will only last for two years. We will then dutifully go to the phone store and buy a new more expensive phone with a lot more bells and whistles.

                                              Meanwhile, the Pacific Ocean collects more garbage, more plastic, more metal. Garbage dumps that include a lot of old discharged phones continue to leak led and other contaminants into the soil.

                                              How is this process earth-friendly ?

                                              Probably the best phone that I ever had was one that was plain, sturdy, manufactured in Scandinavia  and was incredibly reliable.

                                            One wonders how all of the servers are handling the digital traffic of all of our phones, tablets , etc. especially with all of the demand for high-speed connectivity and digital capacity including storage of video ?

                                            Several years ago, someone I knew received a very unwelcome ,pornographic picture on their phone. Worse yet, the person responsible to sending the picture got to this other person and broke the phone.

                                             My friend wanted to have access to the picture so that legal charges could be filed.

                                             When the carrier was contacted regarding the situation of the broken phone and the picture, it was discovered that the server had captured the picture after all.

                                              So, here’s to the unknown server.

                                              Here’s to also, cellular phones becoming more stable and reliable for longer periods of time, thus reducing the amount broken digital devices ending up in landfills.

                                              We deserve better.

                                              Our planet deserves better .

                                              May it be so.