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IPhone 7 and AM push button radios...how did we get here!?

  1. Nov 12, 2016 #1
    Hi Guys,
    My old cell phone died so I got two new iPhone 7s, one for my wife and one for me. They were not free...lol

    Instead of talking to people, I now talk to my phone. I talk and it converts my redneck voice to text...lol No one actually answers their phone anymore anyway, so "leave a message" "you know what to do, just do it after the beep". I am not crying the blues about all this modern electronics we have but we really live in a different world today.

    I certainly like the fact I can talk and see my friends live, who live on the other side of the planet via Skype for free. If one wants to spend the money, the iPhone will start your car and warm it up for you or turn on the AC which I guess could be useful here in Florida.

    The other day I saw two kids sitting at Starbucks two feet apart texting back and forth to each other. It appears that spoken language has gone out of fashion.

    Six zillion songs can be listen to on the phone using MP3. The quality is not the greatest but who cares because we got the songs for free.

    Actually the quality of the music on my old 1963 Chevy Super Sport AM pushbutton radio was not that great either. I did very much like the fact I could turn one knob and push a button and actually hear someone I recognized sing something I could understand.

    All my newer photo albums came from the camera in my phone and live and are kept safe on a cloud somewhere I am told.

    I guess "how we got here" is not too mysterious. We can borrow the money on credit to fund our desire for the latest and greatest next new thing. I understand I am a stranger in a strange land as I pay cash for everything and don't owe anything to anyone.

    Perhaps the greater question is where are we all going.

    It is possible to resist to some degree the advance of electronic technology. For the most part, most of us give in and go buy and use these new "toys". Who doesn't own a cell phone in todays world? Ever notice how even just about every homeless person standing on the street asking for money has a cell phone? I guess now it must be some sort of inalienable right to own a cell phone at this point.

    Just for the record, no vocal chords were harmed in the production of this post...lol


  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2016 #2


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    The old electromechanical doorbell in our house broke down. I would like to have it repaired but I do not dare to do it myself. (There is lots of feeble wiring sticking out everywhere that I prefer not to tamper with.) So far, everyone I asked for help, acquaintances and payed service providers alike, told me (without even taking a look) that it is best to forget about the old doorbell and install a modern digital replacement.

    I refuse to do that. I want my old doorbell fixed. Until that, visitors will just have to knock on the window.
  4. Nov 12, 2016 #3
    Hi Krylov,

    I wish you lived close to me. I would come over and fix the doorbell. I vaguely remember repairing one about thirty years ago. I don't remember what the voltages were that make it operate. I think I remember something about it having a low voltage transformer but I am not sure.

    I think I truly understand why something like a simple doorbell would be important to someone. Or course there are "modern" replacements but the new one will not sound the same and will not feel the same and will not look the same. The doorbell is a connection to the past and all the memories associated with it. It is a old friend who has worked tirelessly for you for many years.

    I am not opposed to modern stuff but I also am not enamored of the " disposable culture" we live in. There was something very special too me about living in a house in France that was several hundred years old.


  5. Nov 12, 2016 #4
    I just moved into a new place built around 15 years ago and the old style chime and striker doorbell was broke down. I was actually able to find a replacement, they still make those old style doorbells. Sometimes the old tech works perfectly well enough and there's just no reason to modernize. So I bought a similar replacement. Though you can most commonly find the wireless ones with a whole data base of ring tones and they're cheaper, I wanted the old ding-dong doorbell. There's just something comforting about the door bell I've had in every place I've lived for the last 50 some years.

    In terms of the transition from voice to text, I can see the convenience of it and I'm forced to use text on occasion, but really it's a hell of a lot faster and easier to convey information over voice. For very short quips text can be more convenient, but I really fail to see the draw in using text as much as most people do now.

    In general I like new technology, but I have a tendency to pick and choose what I employ in my own life. If I don't think something is going to provide some benefit to me, I won't pick it up. I'm definitely not one of those early adopters only for the sake of adopting new tech. In some sense I do feel a little left behind.

    One thing I would like to see (but will not in my time) is a direct mind to computer interface. I think that's something that would be just such a huge improvement in life. Being able to call up the power of a computer directly from your mind would amplify intelligence and productivity by orders of magnitude.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  6. Nov 12, 2016 #5
    I guess there is a certain amount of "conforming to current popular culture" involved in the use of texting. "When in Rome" and all that. We live in an ever increasing fast paced world characterised by an assumed need for multitasking.

    Setting in a conference room in a meeting, and sending a text is certainly an expedient that is frequently used. What it really says it that the meeting is not important enough to give it one's undivided attention.

    The "smartphone" is a very intrusive device and irritates the hell out of me at times. It is bad enough to be distracted by important needed information. It is infuriating the amount of "robocalls" and other advertising that is so prevalent.

    I rarely turn my phone off and I suppose I have become a slave to the bloody thing!! I guess we all become "addicted" to some extent to modern electronic devices. It seems counter intuitive that is a good thing.

    For a large segment of the "smartphone" users none of this is very meaningful. The 100 most popular apps are games so the phone for them is really nothing more than a toy.


  7. Nov 12, 2016 #6
    Hey CraigHB,

    Direct mind to computer connection would be useful. I assume at some point in the future that may become a reality in some form, who knows.

    It also reminds me of a line out of a song. "What if the police heard everything I thought, what then" I will not speak for anyone else but I have had some "thoughts" I would not want anyone else knowing about...lol Air tight security would be a real necessity for such a system.
  8. Nov 13, 2016 #7


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    If you did not yet go on a trip to Europe (I believe all American people tour Europe at least once in their life?), I can offer you dinner and lodgings in exchange for the repair. (I am assuming I will not be successful in having it repaired in the short run.) Schiedam is an old Dutch town and we live in a house next to one of its windmills. It is probably a bit different from Miami, though.
  9. Nov 13, 2016 #8
    Yeah that would be a real problem if the two systems were connected full time (the mind and the computer). It wouldn't be a system where a computer could log your thoughts unknowingly since I expect you would have the control to enable and disable the interface, just like turning on and off the devices we use now. However by the time technology advanced to that point, some kind of artificial intelligence would probably be the norm for computers. In that case there could be some security risk to privacy. There is already with the systems we use now. Things could change a lot culturally in the amount of time it would take to develop a system like that. I'm thinking in terms of several lifetimes. Who knows what society would be like then and what value people place on ideas.
  10. Nov 13, 2016 #9

    jack action

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    I don't. I still don't fully understand the need for it when you are always in the city, especially when mostly at home or the workplace.

    It's like Facebook: What is the advantage of Facebook over good old email? It's basically a webmail service ... that declares it owns the content of your messages! Imagine a postal service that would do that, keep a copy of any letter you send and use it to God only knows! Still, one of the most popular website on the web.

    I just changed the 50-year-old oil furnace to an electric one. Everyone wanted me to change the mercury switch thermostat to an electronic one. I didn't. First, it works (probably will still do in 50 years from now), so why spend the money and waste the resources? Second, I don't want to repaint the wall because the 2 thermostats have different shapes and we can see the old paint around the new thermostat. Third, mercury is poisonous so why take a chance of having it wrongly disposed? It doesn't hurt anyone in my house.

    Everyone said it would've been more comfortable. Still, in the range between «making a fire in the fireplace» and «turn on the electronic thermostat» - on a comfort point of view - I'm pretty sure my mercury switch thermostat is a lot closer to the latter than the former.

    I'm not sure it will go «forward» as much as we think. Sooner or later, someone will realize the uselessness of a lot of things we are doing right now and the waste of resources it represents. Your example of the 2 kids texting each other while two feet apart comes to mind.

    A lot of stuff was invented in the 50's and 60's that look cool on paper but died with usage. The example that comes to mind is the electric can opener. When I was young (70's-80's), everyone had one on the counter. Way too bulky for such a small task so, nowadays, it seems everyone I know has a manual version only. Same thing for the electric knife (I haven't seen anyone use this in a while).
  11. Nov 14, 2016 #10


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    Yes, the voltages are quite low -- 10 to 20 volts. There's a step-down transformer to drop the house voltage (120V here in the U.S., higher in Europe) down to what's required in the doorbell ringer.
  12. Nov 14, 2016 #11


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    I own one, but I rarely turn it on. I charge it about twice a year, which should give you an idea of how seldom I use it. It's a Nokia that I think I got in 2001 or maybe 2002.
    Maybe for you, but I don't buy it. I refuse to text. If the device doesn't have a full size keyboard to let me use all ten fingers, then I'm not having it. I might waive this by getting a satellite gizmo from De Lorme that I can use when I'm on a backpack trip in the wilderness (where there is no cell reception), but not otherwise.
    I'm not a total Luddite -- I like the digital thermostats, and have replaced them in my last two houses. They're programmable, so you can set the time that the furnace comes on and shuts off. You can also set them to a lower temperature if you're going to be gone awhile during the winter. A lower temperature will keep your pipes from freezing during a cold spell, but you aren't wasting a lot of fuel by bringing the house temp up to a level that would be comfortable for people.
    We have one, mostly for my wife. If it were just me, I'd be fine with a regular can opener. And in a pinch, my Swiss Army knife has an opener that I used once when I had nothing else.
  13. Nov 14, 2016 #12


    Staff: Mentor

    There's not much to a doorbell circuit. Here's a link to a page with some typical wiring diagrams: http://www.buildmyowncabin.com/electrical/doorbell-wiring.html. If you understand logic, you can understand a simple wiring diagram.
  14. Nov 14, 2016 #13
    Hallo Krylov,
    Hartelijk dank voor de vriendelijke aanbod. I don't speak Dutch but I thought I would give it a try! I would love to visit Schiedam. I have lived and worked in France. I have been to a good many countries in Europe including the Netherlands. I don't know the Netherlands well. I am sure Schiedam would be a bit different from Miami. Actually, I miss Europe. The French people were very kind to me when I lived there. I lived there in the early 1990s.

    I am not sure when I may have the opportunity to go to Europe. As I have gotten older, the long hours setting on an airplane have become more problematic for me. I also would extend an invitation for you to visit Miami and stay at my house. We eat a lot of fresh fish and vegetables that my wife grows in the small back yard. Miami will be also different from where you live but once inside my small house I think you would feel at home. Perhaps my wife and I are not typical americans. She grew up in Beirut and me in Texas which makes for a comical mix at times. I have traveled extensively and have a pretty international attitude.

    I guess this conversation represents the very positive side of electronic technology. There are some real advantages to this digital age we live in. In fact, with the ade of digital photos and perhaps Skype I could guide you or anyone as to how to repair the doorbell. There are also others on this site who also would help in such an endeavor. Low voltage circuits are pretty easy to deal with and the tools to fix something like this are very inexpensive, as not much is needed.

    Best regards,

  15. Nov 14, 2016 #14

    jack action

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    But my thermostat does all that as well!

    Before going to bed, I lower the temperature for the night. I bring it up again in the morning. I do the same thing when I go out of the house, whether it is for the afternoon or for an entire week.

    The only advantage with a programmable one is that you can set it up to do the night/day change automatically, even start it up earlier in the morning to wake up to a warm temperature. Not a big deal for me, especially since I don't have a morning routine. For the rest, it still fairly easy to slide a switch; I don't even think about, it's muscle memory.
  16. Nov 14, 2016 #15
    Thermostats are something that have changed a lot in the last couple decades. The first digital one I bought was pretty expensive. Now they're quite cheap for a basic one. I don't like the fully programmable ones because I feel they're too complicated just for something that controls the HVAC system. You can even get them wifi enabled with an app now. That's just overkill IMO. The ones I like are the "manual" digital type with auto-changeover. No real programming involved and they are inexpensive. They automatically switch between heating and cooling which is huge feature for my preference. I really have zero need to program zones and settings by time. For me I just set it to my preference and forget it.

    It's funny because we've talked about both doorbells and thermostats in this thread and the new place I moved into had both a broken doorbell and broken thermostat. Don't now how that happens with a house that's only fifteen years old, but I guess the previous owners found a way to break that stuff. Anyway, I've had to look at the current market and it's a lot different just since the house I had before this one.

    I think a lot of it comes down to IoT and smart houses. Talk about useless technology, that's something that rates up there for me in technology only for the sake of technology. I think it's the image of a house that does as much as possible for you automatically, but really is it that much trouble to flick a light switch or any other manual control a basic house comprises. You'll spend way more time programming the house than using manual controls.
  17. Nov 14, 2016 #16


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    Thank you for your kind reply :smile: I write here briefly to let you know that I will be more conversational one of these days, as to do justice to your nice response. However, I hope it is all right that I will do this in a private message because I do not want to carry this thread too much off-topic. As a reminder to myself, I will select the option to "follow" you, which sounds much more sinister than it was probably meant by the developers of the forum software.

    My best wishes,

  18. Nov 21, 2016 #17


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    In some respects, I guess I am more for embracing newer technology. I can change our thermostat by telling Amazon Alexa to raise or lower the temperature so many degrees. We also have smart LED lightbulbs that cost a lot but have a beautiful hue and are dimmable by app or by Alexa. There are many benefits to smartbulbs, so many that I've been giving talks about it locally to people who are interested in learning. But one of the benefits is improving sleep by dimming lights after dark (progressively), and also using blue-light filters on all devices after dark.

    And if you leave me a voice mail (on my phone), Google will attempt to recognize the speech and will leave me a written transcription of the voice mail (which I could also listen to). I love this feature--it is faster to scan Google's transcription than to listen to most messages.

    But I do still have an old-fashioned doorbell and would resist replacing it with a new-fangled camera gadget doorbell.

    OTOH, I'm considering getting a device that will control the television through Amazon Alexa.
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