It was the 1970’s and the world was no longer viewed as a large formidable expanse. Humans walked on the moon, sending us snapshots of a finite earth. We jetted from coast-to-coast for work and pleasure in less time than an automobile day trip. And even the car rides were fast with the advent of new, wider super highways. The earth was shrinking!
Still, the one invention that shortened the distance between two points, and was a bit more affordable than a trip to the moon or a coast-to-coast flight, was the simple telephone. And because it was affordable, it was accessible to all.
When we last left our hero, the phone, he (she) was still attached to the wall. The circle of freedom was limited and attempts to increase the radius of that circle resulted in Melvillian entanglements and a host of broken bric-a-brac in homes all across America. But America is all about freedom . . . freedom from the tethered box on the wall. Freedom to walk and talk anywhere you want, whenever you want, and to whomever you want at any time, any place, anywhere!
Freedom from the hard-wired phone was at hand, thanks to an invention by Dr. Raymond P. Phillips, Jr. in 1956, however, general consumer use didn’t escalate until the 1980’s when Sony Electronics introduced one of the first “cordless” phones to the public. The sound quality was poor, and the transmissions were insecure, but it was wireless and new! Who cared? We were free!
As I mentioned, there were some limitations to the so-called “hands-free” phone. Unlike regular old “land” lines, it needed an electrical connection. It’s life-blood was a fixed base station from which you might wander twenty to thirty feet or so and since the power and frequencies along a telephone cable were only just enough to produce intelligible speech, the cordless phone quality was sometimes unintelligible. You sometimes heard conversations “bleed” over into your social intercourse and none of the transmissions were secure, but these problems couldn’t keep old wireless down. In fact, a set of cordless phones are in most homes today. They still don’t work any better than they did in 1980.
While the cordless phone reigned in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a new vicious and powerful monster raised its ugly head. The beast was spawned by Martin Cooper, an inventor for Motorola, in 1973. It was a giant by today’s standards, and was inspired by Star Trek. It is the beginning of the end. It is . . . the cell phone!
Find out how this new treacherous, electronic serpent will leap from the Garden and end the human race on the next episode of We are the Borg!