Friday Fun: Totally Sidetalkin'


With the advent of the iPhone, I'm reminded of an older phone/gadget that introduced us to a new way of making phone calls: the Nokia N-Gage. The N-Gage was (well, is) a gaming phone which suffered from several serious design problems in its first version. With the original N-Gage, if you wanted to make a phone call you'd hold the edge of the phone to your head to talk, thus presenting onlookers with a full view of the phone's face. (Also, in order to change the game, you had to partially disassemble the phone!) Anyway, the strange posture required in order to talk was dubbed "sidetalking," and it was a mark of either geek cred or just pure lameness, depending on how you looked at it.

Portland software maven Cabel Sasser started a web site as a tribute to the new art of sidetalking: Written in hilarious pidgin English, the site encouraged visitors to send in photos of themselves "sidetalkin'" using objects other than the N-Gage, as a kind of homage to the device. Soon the site was filled with pictures of people totally sidetalkin' with cats, shoes, Nintendo Entertainment Systems, various Apple products, and...well, just take a look. (I recommend: sidetalkin' with animals.)

Tragically, as the site proclaims, sidetalkin' is now history. Later revisions of the Nokia N-Gage changed the phone function so it didn't require users to look like goofs when making phone calls. Despite the site's efforts to save sidetalkin', it is now just a footnote in cell phone history.