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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Naked gadgetry
My father taught me to be very careful with touch screens. When he bought me a PDA as an experiment to see if it would help me work around some of my various learning disabilities (with its to-do lists, reminders, and general Pocket Word and scratch-pad functionality), he wouldn't let me so much as use it until he got a screen protector for it, impressing on me how fragile it is. I took him at his word, since I could see the thin resistive film on the screen, and it was obviously not very sturdy. So we kept my Cassiopeia E-125 in screen protectors, switching them out about every month because this is before screen protectors were especially good.

(As an aside, the PDA thing helped a hell of a lot, which is why I remain reliant on one to this day. People use tools to cover for what they can't do with their bodies alone- well, this tool covers for what my brain can't do.)

Not that I got many more touch-screen devices; I took the PDA to college, but it was rather dated by then, and its battery life wasn't where it needed to be. (And believe me, you care about battery life on a device that loses all its data if the battery goes flat.) So I bought a floor model from Office Depot, bought a pack of "universal screen protectors" (with a 1mm grid on the backing, so I could trim the protector to fit the screen), and went with that for a couple of years, until we switched from Sprint to T-Mobile and I got my first smartphone, the T-Mobile MDA. (I've been with Windows Mobile for a while, yeah.) And it got a screen protector too.

Nintendo asserted up and down that the DS didn't need a screen protector, so I didn't get one. The only scratch it got was when someone ran into my elbow while I was playing Yoshi's Touch & Go, and it was only visible in certain light. But by the DS Lite, they gave up trying to convince people not to use them, so I got a screen protector for it- by now, I was on Invisible Shield. My DSi, in turn, also got one.

So it's almost a heresy that I'm considering peeling it off. But I think screen technology has improved a little bit in the last 14 years. My Nokia N810's been used rather thoroughly by both myself and blackvoiddragon since I got it, and the only damage the screen has taken is fingerprints. The screen protector included with my new HTC Rhodium (or, as T-Mobile called it, the HTC Touch Pro 2) was nearly impossible to apply correctly, looked horrible, and didn't sit on the screen right (it's cut to less than 1/10mm smaller than the screen, making it nearly impossible to line up against the bezel without it leaning up on it on the other edge), so I gave up on it, haven't replaced it, never applied one to Rakeela's, and the screen is absolutely fine. The phone relies on touch so much I can't use my usual screen protector- the texture of the Invisible Shield just doesn't work for that. Actually, that texture is exactly why I'm considering peeling it off my DSi- I don't think it's doing me any good at all.

I see on a lot of mobile device forums threads about screen protectors, with the occasional person mentioning not using them (generally for screen texture reasons, same as mine), and not having particular trouble with scratches. They're usually quiet voices, and don't divert the conversation much, but I think they're right: screen protectors are outmoded, unless you like to shove your electronic devices in the same pocket as your car keys.

So having used my (kick-ass) new phone for a while, and using it rather aggressively, and discovering that it looks quite literally like it's been completely unused after a quick wipe with an optical microfiber cloth- I really don't think screen protectors are needed anymore. I'm going to stop advocating them, at least.

*peels InvisibleShield off DSi*

Edited to add: ...wow, I hadn't realized just how non-invisible the InvisibleShield was for reasons other than my own imperfect application. Seriously yellowed. I should probably scan it to show the yellowing problem I've heard rants about.

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I was excessively paranoid about my DS's touch-screen, so I bought a screen protector with it.

The irony is that the screen protector, being less hard than the stylus tip, took a hell of a beating. Whereas once I realised I could hardly see the screen through it after two weeks of use and peeled the thing off, I was using the stylus on a much harder surface.

Three years later, my touchscreen is absolutely flawless. My stylus has had to be replaced once, but that's very much the lesser of two evils. Caution's all very well and good, but generally touchscreens are stupidly durable things in my somewhat limited experience. o.O

my husband has been using PDA for years. He was actually fairly instrumental in getting the Coast Guard to use them. When he got his first Palm Pilot way back when, few people were familiar with them. He was able to install several chemical and hazardous materials data books to his and started taking it with him on oil and chemical spills. When other Coasties saw him whipping through information on the fly out in the field (this was pre-Panasonic Tough Book laptops) everybody wanted one.

They had spread pretty far through the Coast Guard until the Tough Books came out. It was impressive how much abuse those PDAs could take, not just for the screen but over all. Most people just tossed them into a brief case or "ready bag." Hubby still uses his PDA, but since he's retired from the CG it has to put up with much less abuse.

Now he seems intent on converting everyone over to netbooks as the default "on the go" computer for business travel. We've not tried any of the new "smart phones" with the PDAs built into them. He's always been concerned about having all of his data on any one device. Lose one, lose it all!

Me? I don't have any need for a smart phone (touch screen or not). All I was my cell phone to do is make and receive calls. But try to get that through the head of some dopey sales clerk who can rattle off the names of 1000 different apps but can't tell you jack shit about how efficient the damned antenna on the phone is! I don't care if I can play Super Mario brothers while listening to the latest MP3s. What is gain on the antenna?!

I've had terrible paranoia with LCD panels (and consequently, touch screens) ever since I broke one with an empty spool of thread.

My BB Storm has a protector on it mostly because my parents bought the screen guards for me with the phone. Fortunately, it was a 3-pack, and it took me 3 tries to get it to look right. The other two had air pockets and general filth underneath them by the time I got them right. Ugh.

I keep the phone in the protective holder (a.k.a. 'condom') whenever I'm not using it, so that helps protect it... but I guess at this point you don't hear a lot of complaints about wussy screens. Technology and plastics in general have come a long way. You don't hear a lot of people bitching about scratched screens on BB Storms because most of the time they're complaining about the flaky firmware.

I've been amazed at the durability of touch screens.. my old Sony Cliés got scratched up fairly bad.. but my DS Lite (before I sold it) held up to me beating EBA with much gusto without any damage.. my iphone is two years old now, and has been through a hell of a lot and still cleans up absolutely perfectly (except the corners.. the screen's stronger than the metal). I have a protector on my G1 but if it hadn't applied perfectly and been so unnoticable I wouldn't've bothered, I know it doesn't need it either

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