In Defense of "Dumb" Phones

Recently, I've been noticing that wherever I go, people are constantly face down, looking at their phones. I commute to work by bus, and without fail, every day I would estimate that 95% of the riders are either actively poking their phones or listening to music on their phones. They've basically created little mental force fields around themselves and have disengaged themselves from the world. I noticed this happening with myself as well, and I didn't like it. When we're out in public, we should really be out in public. I understand the draw of listening to music, and I do it myself. However, it's become more widespread these days and it's affected the world more.

I would estimate that around once a week I read about a motorist killing or seriously injuring someone because they were distracted by their phones. If I ever hurt someone because I was distracted by my phone, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. So, I decided to prevent that from happening. I canceled my cell phone service and got a landline. The feeling I got from not being beholden to my smart phone was amazing! No more clearing notifications, no more beeps and bloops telling me something I probably didn't need to know about. I stopped needing to worry about if I was going to break a $600 piece of equipment that was in my pocket. Heck, my pockets felt light and unencumbered because there was nothing IN my pockets! It brought me back to back when I was in high school and all I needed was my wallet and keys.

Of course, all good things must end. My wife wasn't particularly happy about not having a good way to get a hold of me. I spent most of the day at Grumpy's Bar for Bash '17 this summer, and while I was fine with being incommunicado, my wife grew concerned about my wellbeing. So, a few days ago I capitulated to her requests and bought a "dumb" phone that would do the bare minimum. I didn't want it to do anything besides send text messages and make phone calls. Believe it or not, it's hard to find a decent phone that'll do these things! I settled on the Nokia 105, a tiny little basic phone that is designed to be sold to developing countries. I was able to find it on Amazon, sold by a third-party with no warranty. It cost me $30, so I wasn't too worried about the lack of warranty. I guess it's grey market anyways since it's not supposed to be headed to the USA.

First Impressions of the Nokia 105

Here's a picture of my phone, next to my keys for a size comparison. As you can see, it's pretty tiny.
Nokia 105 and a key ring

It's a GSM phone, which means I had to get a GSM card from my cell phone provider, Ting. They do both CDMA and GSM now, so getting my phone up and running on the GSM network was easy enough. The hardest part of the process was making sure that the Nokia 105 was compatible with the USA's GSM network. Most Nokia phones only work in Europe's network, which does me no good. Once I activated my phone through Ting's website, I made a couple of test calls and things worked great! Ting's activation process is so easy. I particularly appreciate how they'll let you try and activate any phone. As long as you claim that you know what you're doing, they just ask you for your SIM card's ICCID and let you, the subscriber, deal with the fallout. I had done the legwork so I knew this was going to work OK.