May 30, 2024
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Do We Really Need a Landline?

A few columns ago I wrote a little about how my 13-year-old daughter needed her smartphone repaired. For those readers who think I am overindulging or spoiling my daughter with a smartphone you are partially correct. Today, smartphones for children are as common as a school book bag.

My wife and I did fight this decision for a while. The bus my daughter takes at her age comes home at 5:30 p.m., which is in full darkness in the winter months. We felt that was a good time to get her a smartphone just in case she had an emergency.

I don’t feel it’s a good idea to get your kid a “$1,000 anything” they carry in their pocket or book bag, let alone a smartphone. What we do at our home is when an adult in our family upgrades their smartphone, our daughter gets a very good hand-me-down. However, the last time her smartphone broke, we were not due an upgrade; I went on ebay and got the same phone for a fraction of the cost.

We are all victims of the same thought process that we all need the best, newest model. True story: I really detest the whole new smartphone aspiration process. I did treat myself, one year, to the latest and greatest, and showed it off to my tech buddies. My pal said, “That model? That’s old.” It was literally the latest Samsung smartphone at the time.

It’s no secret I am not an Apple iPhone fan; even Apple recently wrote that their older phones just can’t handle their apps and the batteries will just die. With Droid phones, the cool part is one can go to 7-Eleven and for $40, you can get the same smartphone I carry. It has fewer features but it still works.

So on to my story: My 13-year-old was without her smartphone for a whole three days. I know, I know; we are horrible parents. Those three days felt like three years. In the meantime, my daughter wanted to go for pizza with her friend. In all sincerity, she asked if she can take our landline portable. She had no idea that a landline is kind of tied to the “land.” As my kid, she is very tech savvy and knows all the constant warnings of internet safety, but the very idea of what a landline is evaded her.

My tech mind started to think: Why do we need that landline? Here are some reasons:

You lose your smartphone and you need the landline to find it.

Your school, for some reason, can’t find you or your wife on their smartphone, which rarely happens.

You just can’t live through a Sunday or an evening at 8:00 p.m. when you receive a marketing call that you would never pick up.

The three reasons are a bit of a joke as you can see, but on a serious note, am I wrong? Some of us 40-somethings have this warm and fuzzy feeling that our landline will give us a lifeline if we lose our smartphone and we need a backup. Few millennials who are single or recently married when getting an apartment even bother with a landline; what’s the point?

However, I may be the laziest “scanner” person on earth. I am the local fax service when some of us still need to fax a document. In my case, I need a fax line that is my landline connection. I use an efax service and fax my documents to my efax service. The documents then are converted to a PDF and emailed to myself.

Otherwise, most of us are not using the landline. I never ask for people’s home numbers anymore. Our landline rings with a caller ID that calls out the caller ID. It’s rarely a real call and when it is, I have usually missed the call.

Some of the internet providers these days do not tell you that the “landline” is now really a digital line that rings in your house. If you lose your internet, you lose your phone so don’t be fooled. Some providers offer the triple play which actually gives you a landline for pretty cheap, but you should decide for yourself if it’s worth it.

Who knew I would be writing a tech column on if keeping a landline is worth the price? Just 20 years ago, without a landline there was no internet.

By Shneur Garb

 Shneur Garb is the CEO of The Garb I.T. Consulting Group and co-developer of 1to1Chromebooks.com. For questions and comments email [email protected].

 

 

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