Bigger Screens Are Not the Answer!

Bigger Screens Are Not the Answer!

Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Or, advertisers want you to believe nearly everyone does- "smarter phones with bigger screens!" Is it true?

Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Or, advertisers want you to believe nearly everyone does- "smarter phones with bigger screens!" And when you do finally cave to peer pressure, they want you to buy a smartphone with the biggest screen available. There’s an obvious joke to play here; something about being bigger is better, and some sort of innuendo. But that’s not going to happen. What will happen, however, is that screens on smartphones will get bigger and bigger. But why?

The Space Race

Back in the 40s and 50s, computers were a new thing. They were bulky and crude compared to the technology we command today. Beyond that, they could compute equations only if the input was just right. The tubes involved in computers had to be moved just right, or they wouldn’t function properly. And then came the computers with the punch cards. To make the computer do exactly what you wanted, you had to have the right punch cards to make that happen. Those cards had to put in the right order as well. If you had a stack of punch cards for a computer, you had to make sure they stayed in the right order. If someone dropped them or moved just one card out of order, then the whole process was messed up. Computers, though helpful, were not as useful as they were meant to be. Organizations still relied on the time-tested and trusted source of computing numbers- the human mind. To do this, having a math degree came in handy. Once someone attained the appropriate degree and proved they could execute the right calculations with reasonable accuracy, they were handed stacks of equations to double-check. This is detailed in “Hidden Figures,” by Margot Lee Shetterly. The movie touches, briefly, on this skill. Therefore, you must read the book because it’ll show you so much more about what went into computing. In fact, that’s where the term “computer” came from; a person who computes equations.

A Computer is a Person

Back before NASA existed, there was the NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NACA was concerned with creating superior airplanes and missiles after World War I. Naturally, when the Second World War erupted, NACA was expanded to research and test new airplanes and aerodynamics. To do this, they needed help to compute the mountains of data that came with the researching, testing, and experimenting. So they hired people with math degrees to do the analysis. Entire buildings of “computers” were hired out. And with the draft invoked, NACA had to look beyond the typical male candidates they were so used to finding. This was part of the catalyst for women, both African-American and white, to find their way into the NACA, and soon, NASA.

The Moon

After World War II, there came another conflict the United States was intent on winning- The Cold War. Hence, NACA was still needed. But now they had to go beyond the skies- they needed to go to space. Then John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, gave his iconic speech on September 12, 1962. In it, he spoke these lines that would forever define space exploration; “We choose to go to the moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and others, too.” With that, the race to the moon was on. As exciting as it was to claim that we would make it to the moon first, there was a problem- they had to figure out a way to get up there. To do that, they needed to train pilots to be astronauts. And therein lay another problem- astronauts can only do so much. To pilot a craft out of our atmosphere, there needed to be a support staff capable of doing it. Constant communication was required. Data needed to be taken and analyzed rapidly. That’s why they started making computers smaller, faster, and lighter. You can read up on the speech through NASA’s site, or watch it on YouTube. Just make sure you’ve checked the best internet deals and packages first so you can save some cash before you do.

Then and Now

Think about this- the smartphones we now use have more computing power than all of NASA did when they put a man on the moon. And yet, we’re using them to play games and watch fail videos. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Fail videos are fun to watch. And setting a high score is great. What NASA inadvertently started in the late 60s—the miniaturization of the computer—has become an obsession. Now the latest trend is to pack more and more computing power into a smaller device. But there seems to be one drawback to all this- the screens are getting bigger.

The Screen Race

I currently use an iPhone SE. The screen is 4 inches. And it works for me. I don’t need a huge screen on my phone. The size of this thing is just right because I have to carry it with me and I don’t want to carry it in my hand all the time either. I also refuse to use a cradle or hustle of this thing. Call me vain, but I wouldn’t be caught dead with a smartphone holster on me. But fashion these days is taking a disturbing trend. Pants are coming with fewer pockets. They’re also becoming tighter and tighter.

Why This Trend?

This fascination with tight pants is beyond me. Then again, I was never on the cutting edge of fashion. I grew up in the age when baggy pants were “in.” And better yet, add in a couple extra pockets to make them cargo pants. At first, I didn’t want to buy into the trend. I was so thankful when I did. They were incredibly comfortable! It wasn’t the material that made them comfortable, but the room inside them. I was sealed into some denim torture device. No, I had room to breathe. My pants didn’t judge me, instead, they embraced me and said, “You’ll fit right in!” What could make these pants even better? Pockets! Who’d have thought? By adding an extra pair of pockets you could carry extra stuff on you, like a phone! Yet, as these phones get bigger and bigger, cargo pants are shunned from the fashion world. They’re ostracized and cast out. They’re not “fashionable.” And yet, I’m doomed to carry a massive phone on me without a pocket to carry it in. I ask you, why must we be condemned to this existence? Do we really need screens this big on our phones? And if so, why can’t we have pants that can carry them?

The Next Trend

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one who refuses to switch trends. But that’s okay. I’m an outsider anyway, and always have been. Therefore, I’ll stick with my outdated sense of style. I do this because it’s comfortable. Beyond comfort, I know what looks good on me and what I like to be seen in. Therefore, it will be relaxed bootcut jeans, flannel, and a pair of tennis shoes. Even if they come out with a new phone to fit in every pocket, it won’t affect my sense of style. But I have heard of Samsung creating a foldable phone. That might be the new trend. I hope so because a phone that folds will make it easier to fit into a pocket. And when that happens, we’ll have the best of both worlds; big screens, and a pocket that can fit them.