Sunday, June 17, 2007

Side By Side Geek Gadget Comparison

It's the Star Trek TOS (the original show) Communicator vs. The Cell Phone

Although there are many obvious similarities between these two communication devices, there are also some striking differences. Which is superior? Which one should you buy? Let's pop open the hoods and take a look at what each one has to offer, shall we?


Communicator: Generally good. Subject to bleed-over static from nearby phaser blasts, mysterious atmospheric phenomenon (represented by really crappy 1960's era green screen special effects) and jamming by nefarious alien evil-doers.

Cell Phone: Generally good, depending on distance of nearest cell tower. Subject to interference from solar flares, coronal mass ejections and electromagnetic pulses.


Communicator: Very bad. Almost restricted to line-of-sight communication. Nearly as bad as Cricket.

Unable to communicate with ship if on other side of planet or behind a moon. For personal testimonials on just how unreliable these devices can be, go talk to a red shirt.

Cell Phone: Excellent. Instantaneous communication with anyone on the planet who is within range of a cell tower. Serendipitously, those NOT within range of a cell tower are generally not that interesting and you wouldn't have anything in common with them anyway, so why bother?


Communicator: No address book. In fact, it's pretty much like the crank phones in The Andy Griffith show. You have to dial the operator (Uhuru) and have her "patch you through" to who ever you need to talk to.

Cell Phone: Many cool address book options. You can synch it with your desktop Outlook or your PDA, some phones even allow you to exchange numbers via infrared transmitters and recievers. You can store the phone numbers and personal data of people you met in a bar when you were drunk, don't even give a shit about and whom you wouldn't even bother calling to warn of an impending zombie attack. Oh, and you can store your family stuff too.


Communicator: No calendar. Uhuru is your calendar. Want to know if you have any appointments? Ask Uhuru.

Cell Phone: Comprehensive calendar with many options. I can set alarms by date or by elapsed time. I can create reminders for birthdays, anniversaries, car maintenance events, medications. I can turn my cell phone into more of a naggy Nazi Uber Bitch than my last wife ever dreamt of being.


Communicator: No graphics. It has a sort of circular, moire screen thing going on that I swear the designers stole from the background of the Green Hornet's logo.

But other than that and some blinking lights, no graphics.

Cell Phone: I can put whatever I want on there. I can even associate certain pictures with certain people and have those pictures displayed when the person calls! How fucking cool is that? My daughter calls, I see my daughter's picture. My girlfriend calls, I see her picture. My ex-wife calls... get the idea.


Communicator: No ringtones. It has this little alien jungle cricket chirp. That's it.

Cell Phone: Way customizable. If my daughter calls, it's this jumpy little mariachi number. If the girlfriend calls, it's Handel's Halleluiah Chorus (because I love her that much). Get a call from work? It's the theme from Mission Impossible. Ex-wife calls? Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (a.k.a. The Theme From The Exorcist).


Communicator: Games?!? There are no fucking games on a communicator! You don't have time for games! You have to figure out how to make a gunpowder bazooka out of some sulfer, some saltpeter, a stick of bamboo, a vine and a handfull of rocks before that toga-wearing lizard-like Gorn dude (man-in-suit! man-in-suit!) fucks your shit up! FOCUS, Kirk! FOCUS!!

Cell Phone: Lots of cool games. It's like a little pocket Playstation. You can put all kinds of stuff on there. Me, I'm too self conscious to actually tuck something to read under my arm on the way to the crapper at work. Sort of sends a signal that says "I'm going to be unproductive and out of communication for the next 20 minutes! Taking my time, baby!" So I just sit in there and play video poker on my cell phone. Much more subtletyer. Kind of like this chick:


Communicator: No camera.

Cell Phone: 3.2 megapixel camera with digital zoom. I can pretend to be reading text messages while actually taking pictures of that bodacious booTAY babe on her smoke break. [note to self: disable that flash!!]


Communicator: Here is at least one area where the communicator is superior. The designers of the communicator determined that it takes less time and effort to SAY SOMETHING than it does to type it with your thumbs on a microscopic non-qwerty keyboard using an arcane code known only to people below the age of 20. There is NO TEXT messaging with the communicator. Just say what you fucking mean!

Cell Phone: Infuriatingly text capable. My daughter exchanges, on average, 4500 text messages a month. All of the "cool kids" do too. We'll see how "cool" she is when I yank her cell phone and send her to school with a Star Trek Communicator.


When in the fuck is somebody going to take all of the cool features of a modern cell phone and put them in a case that looks just like a Star Trek Communicator?

Do I have to do everything myself?

What the fuck do they teach you in those marketing programs at the community colleges?


Go with a cell phone. It has more features, better range, it's highly customizable and, it actually's not just a geek toy.

Look for future Geek Gadget Comparisons in future posts. Including;

Mark I Hand Phaser vs. Buck lock-blade folding sheath knife

:SPOILER: turns out that range is an important factor!

Mark II Hand Phaser vs. a hand-and-a-half bastard medieval broadsword

(again, range, upper body strength and dependence on reality are all factors)

and finally, the Tricorder vs. The Google and The Internets

I should just go now. I have things to do.


emawkc said...

Great Scott! This Geek-o-Meter 2000 just went off the charts!

crse said...

Why are you not a dorkblogger again? (although I LOVE the pic and exorcist theme for your ex)

satyavati said...

Serendipitously, those NOT within range of a cell tower are generally not that interesting and you wouldn't have anything in common with them anyway, so why bother?

I'm so trying not to be offended because I love you so much, but damn, man.

Spyder said...

Admit it. This post was all about showing off your toys. Wasn't it?

Xavier Onassis said...

emaw - I'm sure it did. And rightfully so!

crse - because, how can I be "Hip" if I'm a dorkblogger? Can I be a hipdorkblogger?

satyavati - you are too interesting not to be within range of a cell tower. What about that windmill farm down the road? That grain silo just outside of town? Ever notice that one "sunflower" in the neighboring field that points to a spot in geosynchronous orbit instead of at the sun?

spyder - yes. it was.