(Or how I learned to love the phone ... with apologies to Dr. Strangelove.)
I just got off the phone from a 90 minute call with a marketing madman in Russia. Let me put that a different way - I just had a Skype video call with a person about software development and marketing who happened to be located in Russia. Nothing odd about that except for handling the 10 hour time differential - the call started at 10pm my time, 8am the next day his time.
But, ... (You knew there had to be a but didn't you?)
My memorable telephone experiences began with a phone little different than this:
But life went on and the dial phone arrived.
Then came college and I was thousands of miles from home (and from the college L was attending). Calls on weekends and late nights were made for the incredible bargain rate of $1.25 for three minutes. I could sometimes afford to call once a week! People locked phones in the dorms by the simple expedient of a dial lock in the 1 hole. That prevented dialing any number or even O for Operator.
But some were clever enough to tap the pulse code the dial generated on the switch-hook, beginning the whole new enterprise of phone freaking.
After graduate school, calls were down to $0.30 a minute and the nascent idea of a cellular phone was hatching. Still, a 90 minute call would have been a true luxury. Not to mention a budget breaker. And the touch-tone phone started to become the norm and the surcharge for having a touch-tone phone on the line disappeared as well with time.
Then came the internet and cell phones and the break up of the AT&T monopoly.
Suddenly there was competition and phone costs began a long decline. Until today we think nothing of fixed price unlimited calling and free or nearly free calls. So my 90 minute video call? Cost me nothing per se.
We sometimes forget about the silent revolutions happening around us all the time. Having a video call with someone was the stuff of dreams and Bell Labs when I was young.
Now it is so common that my shock is not that I talked so someone half a world away on a video call, but the fact that it cost me nothing beyond my already existing internet connection.
Viva The Revolution!