Trying out high-tech toy

November 06, 1991|By Leslie Cauley

The Silverlink phone is sleek, stylized and high-tech, everything an adult toy should be. It also happens to work -- maybe too well.

On this particular day, I'm using the Silverlink to call my office on Calvert Street from the floor of the cavernous Baltimore Convention Center, a place where no regular cellular phone would have a chance. That's because concrete walls have a funny way of stopping cellular in its tracks.

But these walls don't seem to bother my Silverlink, which promptly puts me in touch with my office. An editor answers the phone. We mutually agree that the connection is like that of a poorer-quality long-distance link, but nowhere near as bad as a regular cellular connection.

I hang up and call back, this time from a moving escalator, just to make sure the first test-call wasn't a fluke. Same result.

As I had been warned, the Silverlink beeps when you near the maximum reach of the engaged antenna, which is about 500 feet. Once you pass the invisible line, you lose the call. I lose several calls before deciding the warning was merited.

I also ignore the warning to remain stationary when making calls. Big mistake.

Wending my way through a crowd at the Inner Harbor, I am so engrossed with my high-tech toy that I fail to notice where I'm going and am almost sideswiped by two kids with day-glo knee-pads on roller-skates. Jarred by the near-miss, I accidentally cut off my call.

I think I heard a few snickers from the crowd, but by that time I was too busy redialing to pay any attention.

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