I’ve got an iPhone, but it’s one of the old, first generation models that uses the 2G EDGE network for data rather than AT&T’s 3G network. Is it me, or did the EDGE network get faster the day the 3G S came out? I am forced to think it’s a combination of two factors: (1) AT&T adding a whole bunch of bandwidth for new 3G S customers and old EDGE customers increasing their potential bandwidth use by going to the 3G S and (2) a bunch of users moving off the EDGE network. Awesome!

The Boyf and I watch a lot of old TV because we are suckers for shows such as Twin Peaks and Rockford Files and Buffy and the like. When we watch something like that one of us almost always points out the way in which the cell phone would have negated the entire plot or at least a great deal of its action. Twin Peaks would have been utterly impossible in the age of the cell phone, or at least a lot more difficult. A tremendous number of scenes in Rockford involve someone being locked in a room, out in the middle of nowhere or trying to run to a payphone. Countless moments of suspense in Buffy would have been easily solved by the eponymous heroine simply having a phone by which she can be reached when everyone else needs some critter’s ass kicked.

It’s remarkable to me how such a simple idea – a mobile phone – can rewrite our everyday expectations. Those sorts of technological transitions endlessly fascinate me: the shift into a mindset where day-to-day living includes there being a telephone available at all times or, in earlier eras, that transportation is readily available and can move at one’s chosen speed on one’s chosen path, that mobility has come to the masses in the form of the automobile, that correspondence needn’t take weeks or months, all the ways transportation and mass communications have completely reshaped our world. I watch something like Rockford and I think, wow, this entire goose-chasey episode would make no sense in the age of the cell phone because at the very beginning he could have just called the guy. I watch one of the Thin Man movies and there are Nora’s clucking old relatives dressed like a Victorian wedding party and I think, wow, these people probably don’t understand how to use the telephone they own. I see little artifacts of set dressing – a telephone table in a hallway or a payphone in the background or a horse on a city street or a living room that isn’t oriented towards a television – and I marvel.

I don’t claim any special insight as a result of this. I basically am just entranced by the ways we barely notice how everything has changed.