Another image from the museum trip yesterday...And off topic domestic stories.

©2014 Kirk Tuck, for www.visualsciencelab.blogspot.com
The Sony RX10. At the Blanton Museum.

I bought my kid a phone today. I thought it only fair. He's graduating from high school and while many of his friends, with parents in the high tech industries, outfitted their children with state of the art, smartphones many years ago poor Ben has been laboring along with a nasty little flip phone with service provided by TracFone. It's one of the companies that allows you to buy minutes in advance. Use up your minutes and you have to come back and buy more. I thought this solution would provide two advantages: First, it would teach the boy to conserve his minutes and prioritize his phone use.  Second, it would limit the damage a runaway binge of texting would inflict on my finances (as I was paying for the service). 

In the end the first phone we got was so odious to use that Ben texted only in dire emergencies. Those times when one had to find out, "where are we meeting for dinner?" Or my favorite, "Is there cross country practice this morning?" Thankfully he has never gotten into the habit of gratuitous and continuous texting and messaging. The tiny keys were a good deterrence. 

I thought we should acknowledge his maturity and scholarship with a new phone. One he wouldn't mind using. After all, when he leaves to go to school in the Fall we do want him to call us or text us on a regular basis. So I started to study various cellphone "plans." Which quickly led me to understand that the service I had contracted for years ago was......not state of the art. 

I hated texting at the time and still do, but now it seems that more and more clients default directly to the tiny keyboard to stay in touch. I did not originally have free texting on my plan and recently realized that I was paying twenty cents per text. All the time. Then I came to understand that my wife and I were sharing a data plan with 500 megabytes of data per month. Something like five big files transferred. Finally, I remembered that in my dogged determination to save money, no matter how much it cost me, I had set up the plan to share 500 minutes of talk time with my spouse...

Clearly not a good plan for the 21st century.

After conferring with the boy we decided on an iPhone 5s. And we landed on some sort of "family plan." Now we have unlimited texts and calls and we're sharing 10 gigabytes per month of data. Grudgingly moving into the 21st century. Who knows what might happen next. Is there any real reason to have cable television? Naw. I didn't think so.