Skip to main content

My super cheap Chinese cellphone's best feature

I'm living in Shanghai, and I own the cheapest Nokia on the Chinese market.

The first time I came to China, I didn't have a cellphone, and it was tough having to always arrange times and places to meet. The next time I came, I tried to rent a phone at the airport, but was told it's impossible and I'd have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to buy a used phone instead. That was code for "if you had walked 100 yards down the airport, you would have seen a place to rent a phone, but I'm going to try to rip you off." I ended up spending 100 yuan on a phone card that I couldn't even use, so the next day I had one of my coworkers take me to buy a phone + SIM card. I got the cheapest Nokia with an English interface, intending to replace it with an iPhone once I got back to the States, but was foiled by Apple not wanting my money if it didn't also go to AT&T. Sigh.

In any case, I got one of those old candy-bar Nokias. The interface is absolutely terrible, but one day I found that it has T9, which is a total life-saver for texting in English. I often text with my Chinese friends in tone-less pinyin (I can't input 汉字 from the English interface), and originally I'd use multi-tap mode, but one day I decided to just stay in T9 mode and spell each word out. The next day, the revelation hit. My cheap, crappy, outdated Nokia was learning Chinese! Every time I spell a word out in tone-less pinyin, it adds it to the T9 dictionary. How friggin cool is that?! And not only that, but it's also learning my Chinglish! So I can write, "Hey, I'm busy now, dan shi wo men deng yi xia shuo hua, hao ba?", and my phone can figure that out in T9 mode.

Long story short - it doesn't necessarily have to be pretty if it's got a killer feature.

(不过,我还想买比较漂亮的手机。我和Fake Steve Jobs都喜欢美丽的东西。)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Korean Is Hard For Native English Speakers

A couple of days ago, as an experiment, I wrote my first blog post ever in a non-English language . It was an attempt to explain some of the reasons that Korean is hard to learn for native English speakers, so I figured I might as well try to write it in Korean. Those of you who actually read Korean can see how awkward the attempt was =). In any case, the post came from an email conversation I had with The Korean from  Ask a Korean , a fantastically well-written blog about all things Korea from the perspective of a Korean who moved to the United States during high school. Since I tend to geek out on language things, I figured I might as well post part of that conversation. An edited version follows. --------- Out of the languages that I've attempted to learn so far, Korean has been the hardest. I've done a lot of meta thinking about learning Korean, and I think there are a number of reasons it's difficult for non-Koreans (and especially Westerners) to learn: 1) Obvi

Stuttering in Korea

I had given up on English. It's my native language, but I figured after 30 some-odd years of disfluent speech, it was time to try something else. So I signed up for language classes in Korean, rationalizing that if I was going to try to teach myself how to speak, I might as well learn a new language along the way. This might seem completely insane, but when the prevailing theme of your conscious thoughts for multiple decades is some variant of "Why can't I say what I want to say?", you come up with lots of crazy ideas. For background, I've been a person who stutters for my entire life. I wrote about it on this blog a few years ago, so I think it's time for a followup. I've learned a lot since then, about myself and about stuttering, but in this post I simply want to give some insight into what it's actually like to stutter, and how my speech has changed over time. After the last stuttering post, the predominant reaction I got from friends was ei

Is It Worth It To Learn Korean?

Learning Korean as a non-Asian foreigner is an exercise in masochism. Note that I specify "non-Asian". Why does that make a difference? Simply because Koreans possess a deeply-ingrained belief that non-Asians are incapable of speaking Korean. The self-fulfilling prophecy of it is that since Koreans expect you to be incapable of speaking Korean, due to this mental block, they are likely to not understand you regardless of your proficiency level. Additionally, they won't respond to you with normal Korean like they would respond to an Asian person, because they assume you couldn't possibly understand. You will rarely ever have an opportunity to hear natural Korean, because Koreans simply won't speak it with you unless 1) they are open-minded and awesome (meaning they have probably lived abroad - thank you to all of you), or 2) they have known you long enough that they've gotten past the odd sight of a foreigner speaking Korean. In short, nearly every time you o