Before Google

Mandy\'s avatar

 To be fair, for the past two days we’ve been running around catching Pokemon, can you really blame us for forgetting we’re adults?

Fox\'s avatar

I was one of the early-adopters of smartphones. I had the Motorola Q9 before most people knew how to differentiate them from a PDA or Blackberry. While I enjoy ubiquitous technology, I never liked giving up my keypad, and while I’ve a bluetooth keyboard, it’s still too clunky to use frequently. But once the wearable headsets came out I instantly started wearing my LG HBS700 everywhere, and tend to be the one simply asking Google when other people are pondering questions out-loud. When is sunset today? Navigate to The Smithsonian. Dial 867-5309. Call Mandy Seley. Define antidisestablishmentarianism.
I wouldn’t want to go back to a time when we couldn’t just ask Google.

30 comments on “Before Google

  1. I’ve been having fun with Pokemon Go, but it’s a problem that only a small fraction of my biking distance goes into the eggs. I rode for about 6 miles and got about 3 km from it. However, I’ve got a fair number of different Pokemon and now have a Raticate, a Pidgeot and a Beedrill thanks to the extremely high encounter rate for each of their basic forms. There’s about 5 gyms near me and none are my color. One was but changed hands today after I visited it and got my butt kicked. I’m level 7 and the one who stole our gym is level 23. Also, three of the local gyms are real gyms. 🙂

    Whatever. Go team Red!

    1. Another thing to note that (probably like a lot of colleges) pretty much every building at VA Tech is a PokeStop, meaning I’ve no danger of running out of items and already have 4 eggs. I don’t know who set them up but just about every important or memorial sign is now a PokeStop, including several buildings, a jet engine and a few benches.

  2. Hey Fox….You need to try the LG HBS900.

    First off, it’s WAY ‘flatter’ on the neckband and ends so I can tuck it under my collar with a full necktie and all you see are the very tips of it peeking out from under the lapels on either side of the knot.

    Secondly, there is no rubberized coating on the neckband which on my 700 kept putting black marks on the back of all my white shirt collars.

    Thirdly, the wires retract on spring loaded spools instead of simply laying alongside the body while the earbuds are held in place magnetically. Wearing my original 700 every day finally wore the insulation off the wire where it protrudes from the body to the point I had to put a drop of SuperGlue on the junction to stabilize it.

    The wires themselves may look overly thin and fragile, but take my word for it…..they are anything BUT. I’ve had mine for about 2-3 years now, wear it all the time, work or play, charge it up every night and it’s good for at least 24hrs……absolutely love it.

    And like the 700, the left ‘module’ also vibrates to get your attention.

    I initially paid IIRC $140 at the AT&T store shortly after they’d first come out. I’ve seen them on Amazon/Ebay new for under $100.

    Side note: You once stated that dressed for work with your hair slicked back in your suit, people sometimes think you’re a Fed. In MY job, armed chauffeur/personal protection, you can barely see the much smaller wire going up to my left ear from under the collar and in my black suit, I’ve been variously described as looking like a cross between Col. Sanders and the Men In Black. LOL!!!

  3. I’ve seen the “life before Google” joke done before, but never in direct reference to their voice assistant. Granted, the name Google refers to both the voice assistant and search box, but in this strip the focus is clearly on the latter. I guess that’s what Google wants– whether you get there by voice or by typing, it’s all just one Google. All one Google… wait, this *is* what they wanted all along. Without you guys even knowing it, this strip has been an agent of Google’s new age post-mobile branding. Eventually all the ambiguous usages of “Google”– of which this strip is only one of many– will collapse into a world where it’s… all one Google.

  4. I can’t use most vocal systems on phones or voice address systems most businesses use, they react funny to my voice for some reason. For example, I call someplace and get one of those systems, I SAY “Operator” and I GET Frikkin’ Human Resources. I use my phone’s voice command thing to google the fastest route to Birmingham, Al it gives me a route to Brigham Young.

  5. You want to hear something funny? Go to a cell phone store and tell the salesperson that you want a phone that just makes phone calls. I did that and got the strangest look from the salesman. He must have thought i was nuts or a dinosaur or some such. (Of course, I’m probably old enough to be your father. LOL.) I’ve just never gotten into the whole cellphones that aren’t telephones bit. (BTW, my cellphone is a flip phone. How’s THAT for old-fashioned. LOL.)

    1. But it’s so convenient to be able to look up information at any time, set reminders for anything you need to do at any day or time, occupy yourself if you get stuck in a line or something, know the directions to anywhere no matter where you find yourself, see reviews for an item you’re about to buy at the store, see what traffic is like on the road you’re about to turn onto, have a flashlight handy when looking in a dark area, identify all the stars in the sky at night, translate any sign you see in a foreign country, write down or verbally record any ideas you come up with at awkward times, take a picture of something you want to remember, and listen to thousands of online radio stations for free plus your own music collection!

      1. Unless, of course, you don’t have any need for any of those things. My phone makes phone calls. It will also send & receive text messages or emails. That’s it. Oh, and it can take photos. On the other hand, it’s only 1.5 by 3 inches, and costs me only $8 a month. And a battery charge lasts at least 3 days.

    2. The nice thing about those old phones: they are very hard to break. Drop them out of a moving vehicle, send them through the wash, they take it and keep working like nothing happened. On top of that they’re loads cheaper up front and for the data plan. I know one guy from my robotics team that uses a flip phone for those reasons. (No, he doesn’t have anything fancy other than the required tablet computer for Engineering.)

      1. “…hard to break.” Heh…TELL me about it. My very first cell phone was the old Motorola Ultra Classic “Brick Phone”. Not only was it the single most powerful hand held phone you could buy (4W analog), but was also a GREAT impact weapon. When I first started doing this job, I had to take down an individual who tried to rush the VIP I was protecting. I slammed him in the forehead with the butt of the phone so hard it tore the rails off the battery. He went down so fast that for a moment I thought I’d killed him.

        I picked up the battery, held it in place and called the police and EMS. Closer examination showed that I’d hit him so hard, you could clearly see “MOTOROLA” imprinted in reverse on his forehead.

        Oh yeah……one helluva phone……and that’s ALL it was……at least that’s all it was meant for.

    3. I’ve got a flip phone. AT&T is telling me that it won’t be compatible with their network, pretty soon. I’m wondering if they still even have “feature phones.”

  6. I can remember when modems and even microprocessors were new tech. While not usually an early adopter, my first smartphone was the Kyocera that integrated a PalmPilot (the 6035) back when it was available through Sprint. It meant I wasn’t carrying two devices.

  7. I think I speak for everyone here when I ask to hear of your Pokémon exploits. What are your strongest/rarest/favorite ‘mons you caught so far?
    (Mine is the 110CP Squirtle I found yesterday, after grieving for a whole day that I accidentally took Bulbasaur at the start of the game)

    1. I am amazed you have found any starters. I found a 171 CP Koffing, as well as over 100 CP Eevee, Paras and Venonat. I’ve also found enough Rattata, Pidgey and Weedle to have all of their top-evo forms. I also managed to find and catch a Fearow and my first egg hatched a Grimer. I’d like to have more types, though. (Currently limited to Normal, Bug, Poison, Grass, Flying, Water, Ghost, plus my starter of Charmander.)

  8. In the old days talking to yourself in public was a sign of madness, although to be fair asking google questions like what antidisestablishmentarianism in the middle of the street is probably is edging towards madness…

    1. The difference between a lunatic and an ordinary person is a small piece of plastic… Convince the lunatics to carry that around whenever they’re talking to themselves, and they blend right in with the rest of us.
      That’s why they call ’em self-phones!

  9. Man, Fox, you have no idea how lucky you are to have a voice computers understand. I tried talking to Cortana once and the results might as well have been typed by a caffeinated orangutan.

  10. My favorite was the fact everyone had at least a dictionary and sometimes a thesaurus. So when you were kindergarten age; and you had to look, whatever up, (as actually locate the words yourself in a BOOK) and that’s how you learned to spell. When spellcheck came out it was awesome. (Hell when AOL was all you had, you still felt like the matrix, I think I was around 14.)

    ? I’m old

    1. 🙂 I still have both a dictionary and a thesaurus on my desk. I use them to look up definitions and alternate words when writing stories. 🙂

  11. And then, whoever controlled Google controlled the minds and hearts of the people forever–and it was good.

  12. Seley, it’s all over, Fox has Jenny’s number. My friend had Jenny’s number, and then I lost him for a week. Good luck, I have faith that we shall get through this tough situation.

    On a side note, Fox, have you actually dialed that number, and heard who/what answers? I’m kinda curious.

  13. Fun fact: you can adjust your activation command. You can tell it to retrain the voice command, and then set it to something else. Mine is ‘Activate Voice Command’.

    Plus, it’s really fun to use in front of older folks.

    One nice command – ‘I’m Hungry’. It picks a few places to eat near you.

  14. what i cant grok is how we contacted anyone before cellphones. someone could only answer your call if you were lucky enough to get when they are home, can hear the phone, arent further then twenty feet away or so from their landline, and not otherwise buisy. instead of calling their pocket

      1. This also has the advantage of changing the expectation. When you’re getting messages on your answering machine, you’re not expected to drop everything to answer. As is often the case with cellphones.

    1. You call them when they’re most likely to be home, and if they’re not, call back later. And the phones would be pretty loud (you could hear them throughout the house) and if there wasn’t an answering machine they would ring until the caller hung up. And this is how it was from the 1880s until about the 1970s. (Dates come from Wikipedia, other information from past conversations with relatives.)

    2. Mostly, we planned ahead. Like maybe setting up a lunch meeting several days in advance, instead of on the way to a restaurant.

  15. your drawing abilities are very nice ps are you doing more comic strips??

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