I've been looking into new cell phones recently. My Verizon Wireless contract is up next month, so I've been doing my homework, trying to figure out what model phone I should get this cycle.

Like any good computer geek, I've been doing my research online. So while I was browsing the Verizon Wireless site to see what was available, I came across this lovely little popup:
Due to inactivity, your session will end in approximately 5 minutes.  Extend your session by clicking "OK" below

Seriously Verizon? Asking the user to manually "extend" his session? What the heck?!? Is this some kind of throw back? Is this the Web 2.0 version of a pay phone - you just click a button instead of putting a quarter in the slot?I mean, REALLY?!?

Aside from the mind-bendingly horrible design, there are a few other things that bother me about this dialog.

First, what does it even mean? It's not like I was logged in or anything, so what possible data could this "session" have that I even care if it expires?

Second, why is this an alert box and not a confirmation box? The only option is to click "OK". Well, what if I don't want to extend my session? What do I do then? And if not extending the session isn't an option, why are they even bothering to ask?

Third, why is this even here at all? Speaking as a professional web developer, I can't think of a single technological reason why they would have to do this. It just isn't necessary. There are other, less obtrusive ways to persist data that don't involve issuing prompts. Is this really nothing more than a lame attempt to keep the user engaged, whether he wants to be or not? "Look at me! Look at me! You have to click me! Hey, pay attention!"

Sigh.... Just another reason to hate Verizon. If only it wasn't for their coverage area and free in-network calling, I'd jump ship.

On the up side, at least I got some useful phone information. I was originally leaning toward those new touch-screen iPhone knock offs, like the Samsung Glyde or LG Voyager. However, we just got back from a vacation in Hawaii, so I'm trying to keep the expense down. And even after the contract pricing and rebates, the touch screen phones are pretty much all $150 or more, and I really don't want to drop $300+ on a pair of new phones right now. Plus, appart from the inherent coolness of the touch screen, I'm not really sure what those phones would do for me that anything else with a QWERTY keyboard couldn't.

So, I'm thinking maybe a basic smartphone. After contract pricing and rebate, Verizon has the Motorola MOTO Q 9c and Palm Centro for $100. Both of them seem nice and have document viewing and other features that would actually be quite handy for me. There are still things to debate, though - the Centro has a touch screen, but the MOTO Q has Windows Mobile. I'm going to have to do a little more reading.

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    I have a pay-as-you go cell with AT&T. Yes, I use it that much. *GRIN*

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