This piece originally appeared in March 2006 for MPH Magazine.
Column: The Prodigal Screen Protector and Other Bedtime Stories
Title: Titillating scandals of text
Subhead: There are those rare moments when the demo unit reveals all
There’s a reason why I love reviewing phones for m|ph. In the beginning I ‘d choose to review phones for the pure sake of gadget bliss. Lately however, I’ve wanted to get the last dib on mobile phones, from the long line of people from the press and the rest of the local tech community. You heard that right. I like being the last person to review a press unit. But why, pray tell am I so excited to get the tail end of this month’s tech?
The answer is quite simple – because I like counting on the fact that Filipinos are too lazy to reset devices back to factory settings. Most people think that once they let go of a unit, it will auto-reset itself erasing whatever evidence they left behind.
Evidence may include text messages in the inbox and sent folder, names and contact numbers of loved ones, videos and pictures if the phone happens to have a camera. If I were an ass, I could think of a hundred ways to have fun with these people. If.
On several occasions I get tech feedback from writers from other magazines. I remember the time when one of our editors was fiddling around with a certain mobile phone just last year. True enough there remained some text messages that formed part of a conversation between the previous user and someone who was asking feedback. “Dud, iksi ng battery nya” (‘the phone has a short battery life’) was the first message I read. Thanks for the feedback, Mr. Anonymous.
There was another time in 2004 when I kept a certain handheld device for a couple of weeks. Because it was a PDA-phone, it had an almost unlimited amount of space for messages. As a bonus, I had a ball reading the text conversation between two lovers. I had found out that the guy, perhaps from the media, had no time for his girlfriend. The girlfriend, insecure most likely, would ask him to send pictures from the phone just to prove that the guy was still at work burning the midnight oil, and not with friends. Alas, the trials and tribulations of young love.
Sometimes though I find interesting gems – like familiar numbers of people I know in the industry as well as camera phone shots of writers’ pets, children and the occasional “I love you Daddy!” that makes the heart melt. Sometimes I also grab interesting quotes and jokes, which people leave behind, on purpose I would guess. Sometimes there would be alludes to gaming, especially with online bingo — ‘why not no deposit bingo?’, for instance. Well, such is life.
There are many things one can learn from a person by just browsing through his or her mobile. It’s that human element that makes me want to see how individuals put their gadgets to use. Of course, in the real world, no one in their right mind would let me read their message inbox. Let’s just say that during these rare moments with the demo unit, I get to know a little bit more about the lives of our happy little tech community.
The moral of this bedtime story is obvious – be the last in line. Hehe.