In the show, the time frame is the 23rd century. But today in the
21st Century, are we seeing the results of Roddenberry’s “vision?”
The Treky Phaser hugely resembles the modern day Taser. The phrase
“set coordinates” might have been the introduction to GPS. In a
later version, “Star Trek the Next Generation” when Picard stood at
the bridge facing a flat screen and conversed with captains of other
space ships, did Roddenberry know he was the inventor of “face
And finally, when he imagined a communicator that could keep Kirk in
touch with his ship when he was looking for life forms on a new
planet, did Roddenberry know that he was the creator of the “Smart
Smart phones are a remarkable invention, designed primarily to
irritate everyone around you. With a smart phone, you can strap it
to your arm, plug in the ear phones and listen to your favorite
tunes, while walking in traffic, oblivious to the car that nearly
just ran you over.
You can irritate your fellow shoppers by standing in the isle at
Wal-Mart and recounting your awful date last night to your BFF,
unaware his mother is the one standing behind you waiting to get to
the dish soap that you’re parked in front of.
You can call your friends and tell them you’re standing in the
parking lot at Kroger….like they really care.
You can anger you dinner companion by playing angry birds while you
wait for the entre’ to arrive, or you can offend the friends you are
with by ignoring them in order to visit Facebook and see the kitty
that “likes cheezbugers.”
You can text your friends, and LOL at their funny replies, and you
can ask Siri to tell you a joke that really isn’t all that funny.
And finally, you can, like Raj on the Big Bang Theory, “dress” your
phone to match your outfit, or suit the occasion.
Seriously though, the phones do have value in today's rushed
society. The various modes of communication packaged into one small
hand-held device can be an asset to business people on the go,
parents who need to keep track of kids, travelers who are in
unfamiliar territory, and to those who are in emergency situations.
The phones offer a connection to people who are far away, can give
you an opportunity to see that new grand-baby in real time, and
provide you with a certain amount of security and safety when you’re
stranded in a broken down car on the interstate.
The phones though, and the plans that come with them can end up
being costly, so before you invest in your next one, it might be
good to stop and consider why you have the phone; what components
you actually use; and what features you really don’t need. Why pay
for a smart phone when all you want is something you can use to call
home when you’re running late, or a tow truck when you’re broke
Also you might be well advised to talk to friends, family, and
business associates about what phones they have. There are benefits
to using phones with the same capabilities as the people you
interact with regularly, and many service providers have package
plans that give you discounted rates if you have your own “network”
of phone users. Each plan has its own snappy little name, but look
for "free talk and text" between similar phones, or something that
allows you discounts when talking to specific people.
And though we made fun of the designer “skins” a paragraph or so
ago, having a protective cover is not a bad idea. Like many other
products in the world, these covers come in a variety of designs and
levels of protection, and are priced accordingly.
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The middle of the road cover seems to be the one that claims it will protect
your phone from a five-foot fall onto a concrete surface. If you carry your
phone in your hand, that protection could be good for you. More costly skins
boast better protection and could be of benefit for people involved in manual
labor jobs, and for kids who might be a bit clumsy with their phones.
Even with protection though, phones can break, and that can be a costly and
irritating process to get them repaired. Many companies offer insurance
protection on their smart phones, and it may be worth considering. But even with
insurance, once the phone is broken, there are going to be some out-of-pocket
expenses, and there is going to be a period of time you have no phone, while it
is being sent off to the company for repair.
One of the newest innovations right now addresses the problem of a broken phone.
Many companies are currently looking at training their local store employees to
do basic repairs such as replacing a cracked screen.
At the moment, there aren’t many local providers who offer in-store repairs, but
it is coming down the pike in the near future. In the meantime a search on the
internet yielded two businesses, one in Springfield and one in Decatur that
claim they do in-house repairs.
And of course, there is a “do-it-yourself” source on the web, but don’t jump
into that until you are confident that is the best answer. One thing to consider
before popping off the cover and digging into the phone yourself is, do you
still have warranty coverage on the phone or do you have insurance on the phone?
If so, a do-it-yourself effort may void that warranty or insurance.
The ifixit.com website offers video guides for the repair of more than two-dozen
brand names. Speaking recently to a person who wanted to remain nameless, he
said he fixed his mom’s iPhone screen using these instructions. The tool
requirement was the most difficult part of the process for him, but then again,
he is a self-acclaimed “geek” that knows his techie and “treky” stuff inside and
As we look at Mr. Roddenberry and all his gadgets, one has to wonder, with the
modern day phaser, communicator, robots, drones, replicators (today’s 3-D
printer) and flat screens, what could be next? Consider this, "Beam me up