Phone Calls Are a Crucible. Here’s How Not to Get Burned

How I learned to stop worrying and love phone calls.

Early in my career, I hated phone calls. They were time-consuming and inefficient. Why can’t you just email me, I’d often wonder?

My aversion was so acute that not only did I exclude my phone number from my email signature; I also recorded a message for my voice mail that said something like this: “I rarely check these messages; please email me.”

In short, I viewed Alexander Graham Bell’s invention as an unnecessary evil.

Today, I know better. I know the phone is not a burden but an opportunity. I recognize that for a relationship to thrive, you must do more than swap written words; you need to hear the other person’s voice.

Continue Reading

Why I Refuse to Give Up My BlackBerry

BlackBerry 9930

I’ve been using a BlackBerry since 2005. I got hooked as part of the “CrackBerry” generation in Washington, DC, and have gone through scroll wheels, track pads, and touchscreens. I currently have the Bold 9930.

Why am I such a “sucker”? To be sure, I’d be thrilled to get an iPhone. It’s gorgeous. The app ecosystem is unparalleled. And the integration with iCloud and my beloved iPad is tantalizing.

Yet I can’t make the leap for one stubborn reason: when it comes to a phone’s most important facet—its keypad—no one can touch the BlackBerry. For someone like me, who uses a smartphone primarily for email, the ability to type both quickly and accurately is absolutely critical. When I type, I need to think about what I’m saying, not whether I’m making typos (as is the case with my iPad). I need to look forward, not backward. The BlackBerry’s physical keys, curved and tapered, “each one subtly reaching up to meet your thumbs on either side,” as the tech blog Engadget puts it, allow me to do this in a way that I just haven’t found even remotely possible with a touchscreen.

Continue Reading