New Castle News

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November 9, 2013

Josh Drespling: My smart phone has helped me shed those dumb old devices

NEW CASTLE — Many of the interesting little gadgets that I found so intriguing and helpful just a few years ago have become obsolete.

It's not that I no longer have a use for these items and the information and aid they provided me. They have just been trumped by a single device.

My smart phone (Android, of course) has become my constant companion. It is by my side nearly every waking hour. In fact, its nightly resting place is right beside my bed, just in case I need to send an important text message at 4 a.m.

This little device has replaced so many things in my life and the lives of many Americans. The one item that sparked this realization was the lack of need for a GPS. My phone has several different options for directions and maps so that there would never be any reason for me to spend hundreds of dollars on a Garmin, Tom Tom, or similar product.

Upon pondering this nugget of enlightenment, I started to make a list in my mind of items that I no longer have a use for. The first that popped up was my complete avoidance of banks and ATM machines. Through my phone, I can deposit checks by simply taking a picture of them. Additionally, I can access all my accounts, transfer funds, and pay bills, all from my phone. No more waiting in line or dealing with “banker's hours” for me.

Another area that has evolved is the keeping of time. Since owning my very first cell phone, I have forgone the wrist watch. The main screen of  my phone displays the time, date, weather, and even a list of the things I have scheduled for the day. In one fail swoop, it eliminated the need for a watch, a day planner, and spending half an hour watching the Weather Channel to catch the local forecast. It also has the capabilities to function as an alarm clock and stop watch (two more things I will never have to buy again).

I can check my plethora of email accounts with just a few clicks. I post items to ebay, argue with people on Facebook, and look up the name of that actor from that one movie that I just can't remember, all while I am supposed to be working. Good thing I don’t have to log into an old- fashioned computer, because I would never get anything done if I had to do all that old-fashioned stuff.

I used to lug a camera with me everywhere I went. Not anymore. My trusty camera phone is just an arms-length away to catch that perfect shot. Plus, within minutes, I can share it with a multitude of social media outlets and feed my need for instant gratification.

Aside from watching movies and eliminating the need for an iPod with my phone, one of the coolest things I have done is diagnose the check engine light in my car. With a little OBD (On Board Diagnostic) device that plugs into a port under my dash, I can read all the codes in the car's computer.  I am able to see exactly how my car is performing. It offers information on every sensor from bumper to bumper.  This application alone has saved me tons of money and guess work.

My phone also has eliminated the need for a calculator, a phone book, and a flashlight. I have an app that stores all those pesky reward cards that every retail store seems to have, thus eliminating the need to carry all 20 of them on my key chain or in my wallet.

I can also accept credit cards payments for any of my freelance work using a simple application on my phone. For a small processing fee, I can have the money deposited directly into my personal bank account. I have also found this is a great way to get rid of the leftover balances on gift cards.

As you can see, technology has come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell's “electrical speech machine.”  The humble beginnings of this invention has transformed our nation, planet and, dare I say, solar system.

Although I must admit, I can't remember the last time I made a phone call with my phone.


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