A couple of years ago, my wonderful Alcatel gave up and stopped working. Old age. And probably one drop too many. Money was short at the time so when I went looking for a replacement, the main criteria were the ability to make and take calls, and low cost. I got me a Motorola VZ170:

Piece.  Of.  Shit.

I’ve used phones from Nokia, Ericsson and Alcatel, and I’d learned that though the different brands had their idiosyncrasies, they did their main jobs without much fuss. I assumed that the Motorola, a brand I hadn’t used before, would be much the same: a period of adjustment, and then business as usual.

Silly me. Voice calls were straightforward enough but texting was frustratingly slow – each button-push required a half-second wait before anything happened or anything else could be done – and when I wanted to send a message, I’d have to jump through hoops:


(finish txt message)



Send Message? Y / N




Send Message Now? Y / N


Y Y! Y!! Y!!!

Navigating the menu was much the same – with the added frustration of the ‘Yes/Confirm’ and ‘No/Cancel’ buttons switching sides with no apparent logic to it.

I loathed that phone.

After two hair-yanking years of putting up with it, I eventually snapped that fucker in half (and then jumped on it) (several times) and killed it.

Of course, I immediately needed a new cellphone – and thanks to my decade-plus-long patronage of Vodafone, I scored this for a hundred bucks:

It makes calls – even two-way video calls. It texts – ooh, the button response is so quick! – with an intuitive functionality that harks back to the Alcatel, Nokia and Ericcson cellphones.

But that’s not all. I can take photos and short blocky video clips with it. The original Lalo Schifrin Mission: Impossible theme has been set to ring out in the very rare instance that someone video-calls me. And I’ve finally caught the podcast-listening wave – I may look like I need stereo to make calls on the Z400 – but I’m enjoying working through my backlog from KCRW’s The Treatment and The Business, National Radio and my favourite Vidiots.

So this is why they’re pumping cellphones full of features.

Anyway. The moral of this story?

Don’t buy a Motorola.


(This post was supposed to segue into a rant discussion about appropriate screenwriting tools – does one really need Final Draft to be a screenwriter? – but my PTSD got the better of me. Another time maybe.)

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2 Replies to “Technology”

  1. yep – that’s me: always behind the ball.

    (and no, the new phone isn’t that slim – i’ve yet to figure out the html-code for “smaller, but in proportion”.)

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