The Phone That Refused to Die

by Sina on October 4, 2014

I know, I haven’t blogged in forever. So, as a prize to my one remaining reader *waves to mom!!!*, I have a story…

This is the tale of how my last candy bar phone, a Nokia E52, became my “last” candy bar phone.

Also, more blogging soon! (I mostly promise, sort of, with much fervor but less certainty)

Background

The story begins in 2011. I’ve just had dinner out with some friends, and as we finished paying the check, it had begun to pour. So we’re running through the parking lot in the torrential rain, without an umbrella. We scramble into their SUV and head for home… where I promptly realize that my phone is nowhere to be found.

Unbeknownst to me, mid-dash, my phone had fallen out of my pocket.

We head back to the restaurant parking lot, rain still gushing down, but can’t find the phone. Thinking perhaps someone turned it in to the restaurant, we call several times to no avail. At this point, we’re desperate and soaked. I call AT&T, hoping that they can tell me the last registered tower my phone was attached to. Of course, despite the massive amounts of data they hand over to the government, they can’t tell me this one small fact. I end up explaining to them, in small words, how unbelievably and utterly incompetent they are. There might have been a touch of yelling. I had just lost my precious communications device, and I was irritated with incompetent humans. Seriously, you can’t tell me the last registered tower, you useless excuse for a telecommunications company that has the innovational ability of a kitten walking on a piano, which is to say lots of noise, and all of it, bad?

Anyways, I digress. A few hours goes by. The rain does not. We go back, soaked now thrice. My buddy, Ian, actually finds the phone in the parking lot. In a puddle. Definitely run over by their five thousand pound SUV. But… it’s found!

This thing has now been sitting in a puddle, bathed in a torrential downpour, run over, possibly repeatedly, for hours. At this point, it is time to get a new phone. That is just a fact of the universe. Right?

Exciting Outcome

I come home. I put the slightly dented phone and its battery in a bag of rice, mostly because I’m Persian but also because rice sucks out all the moisture out of the air in the zip lock bag, and I’m hoping the phone can benefit from drying out. I really have nothing to lose, and I want my data.

24 hours later, I dredge the phone from the rice and pop the battery in. Bam—it sizzles. Not a great sign, but hey, it’s something, right? As I brush stray grains of rice from the still-sizzling phone, it begins to get warm. It’s probably a bad idea to continue at this point, and it’s definitely a bad idea to hold a sizzling, hot, fried phone up to your face, but I’ve never claimed to be all that sensible where my precious data is concerned. I want the damn data! My face only partially singed from the baking Nokia, I put both the battery and the phone back in rice.

Another 24 hours pass, and I check back in. This phone, now smashed, drowned, crushed, fried, and suffocated in a bag of rice for 48 hours, is surely toast, but again… I want the damn data. So I pop the battery in again, waiting for a sizzle or spark, but instead it just boots. I swear, it boots! It actually turns on. Unbelievable. This crushed, smashed, drowned little plastic phone is now speaking to me (I’m blind, and a program aptly called a screen reader reads me the various screens of a phone). It boots. It talks. What the hell! So I lunge for the closest USB cable, jack it in, and I quickly get all my contacts off.

At this point, the universe decides to just start messing with me. This poor phone manages to get signal and download my text messages. I cannot stop laughing at this point—this is just wild.

Now, unfortunately, the microphone is a bit busted so it can’t functionally make or receive calls, but it does still actually have the ability to put the call through. Even the speaker still works fine!

Some Thoughts on Technology

Nokia was the absolute god of hardware. Nobody on this planet Earth makes hardware like this for consumers anymore. IBM used to before they sold the PC division, I guess, but ThinkPads, much like Nokia/Microsoft phones, just aren’t the same anymore.

Anyway, that’s how my last candy bar phone became my “last” candy bar phone. Since then, I’ve had a string of iPhones, including most recently the iPhone 6. I read a few days ago praise for the iPhone 6’s super spill resistance, and I just smiled to myself, virtually patting Apple on its cute little head. Spill resistant? That’s adorable when compared to the sheer indestructibility of that little Nokia.

How About You?

Got any stories to share about incredible deaths of beloved technology? Let me know in the comments below!


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