We do not have an iPhone or an Android or anything close to a smart phone. We have an old-fashioned (more than two years old) dumb phone and texting is a chore. You know how it works, the “1” key is A, B or C depending upon how many times you press the “1” key in quick succession. You have to switch between upper case and lower case letters and punctuation is a whole new button grouping. I watch my sister texting on the mini-keyboard of her iPhone and she breezes through a message in seconds. Me … I spend as much time looking for the letter “s” as she does to type and send a full page document. Our nephew says e-mail is old-fashioned and way too slow.
So … why no iPhone or at least a phone with a keypad … besides the fact we're cheap? Well, when you only plan to be in a place for a short period of time, the options are limited. You can't buy a 2-year contract and without a contract, rates and actual phones can be very expensive. In Australia, for instance, you have to be a resident with an actual address plus have a bank account in order to get regular phone service. Otherwise, you're relegated to very limited, expensive, buy-by-the-byte phone and internet service. We have a collection of dumb phones from several different countries. Rarely does a phone from one country work in another and the phone service is different in each as well. Sometimes we've been able to simply buy and switch out SIM cards, but more often than not, the $10 go-phone we purchased in Panama along with leftover minutes do not work in Ecuador and the Ecuadorian phone does not work in New Zealand and … you get the picture.
All that aside, since it wasn't really my blog topic anyway, I just read that there's a U.S. National Texting Championship coming up. Last year's winner won $50K. The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 250,000 people compete in the qualifying on-line competitions which test speed, accuracy and dexterity. We're not talking an Olympic event here, but wow! Who could have known? Certainly, not us boat folks. These kids (ages 16-24) compete while blindfolded, with hands behind their backs (really?) and then have a Text blitz where they are required to copy random phrases displayed for only a few seconds. According to the Huffington Post, 42% of teens say they can text with their eyes closed. I can't even open our phone with my eyes closed.
I might add that the US is losing serious ground in education compared to kids around the world, but heck, who cares as long they can text fast.