Sunday, July 31, 2005

portable hell

Today the Washington Post's Sunday Business section ran a few articles under the heading "Gadgets to Go." One article was about some guy who always has five devices with him at all times -- his laptop, cell phone, Blackberry, a personal organizer, and a digital camera (what, it's not part of the cell phone?). His comparison between the Blackberry and his cigarettes was apt, I thought. When he was a three-pack-a-day smoker, this guy used to light up a cigarette first thing in the morning. Now for his first action of the day, he grabs the Blackberry from its resting place on his nightstand and looks at it before getting out of bed.

A second bit was about the move to make cars more like living rooms, complete with cell phones (plural), walkie-talkies, TV screens, DVD, computer games, and radio headphones for the driver. Plus navigation equipment, one item not usually found in the family room.

I'm not a technophobe (hey, I even have a blog!), but I find all of this kind of appalling. I do have a cell phone; about 5 people have my number and they know that it's rarely on -- with my prepaid minutes, it's basically a cheap emergency device. No camera or web browsing, needless to say. The idea of having the Blackberry and all that other stuff with me at all times just stresses me out.

As for the car -- according to the article, TV screens are NOT viewable by the driver which is good (if true). But it's kind of pathetic to have all these devices to keep the kids occupied while on the road. I don't mind the radio, but headphones -- wow, that's dangerous. And the idea of movies blasting in the back seat sounds equally distracting for the driver.

I have to admit that although my first impulse upon reading these articles is to suppress a shudder, my second impulse is a bit of self-congratulation at not having wasted the money on those things for me!

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