Tag Archives: cellphones

‘Technology’ Needs a New Name


Trying to understand how new gadgets, iPads, smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and whatever else you can name are changing the way we learn, I’m prompted again with an annoying error message: Technology.

Sure, back in the day, when regular mail became electronic, remotes were without cords, and phones could actually be carried “mobilely,” using the word ‘technology’ seemed appropriate.  It made sense to know that ‘technology’ in Greek meant ‘art,’ since we were witnessing new forms, with the world acting as its gallery.

But now, the term ‘technology’ seems too formal, sounds too weird, mechanical, a ‘technical’ abstraction— separated from reality.

Technology used in the old way reminds me of how my mother uses the word, computer.  She speaks about it as so different, distant, disjointed, and always foreign from her real world. 

But in reality, ‘technology’, is ever-present, seemingly integrated naturally into our daily lives. Emerging innovations makes it a lifetime companion, a new edition to the family, again and again. It is already a common language shared around the world, speaking many tongues with variety. 

So, I think we should find a better term to reflect just how well it functions today, labelling it in the right way to fit its continuing leading role. 

You know, if I told my mother that I will order a new refrigerator to be sent tomorrow (never reminding her that a ‘computer’ will make the order) she would appreciate how it made her life easier, rather than having to make a special trip all-the-way to Sears.

32 Days without a Cell Phone


ole bage phoneand still counting… What started as a refusal to pay an overpriced bill has turned into a personal research project.  I wondered what it would be like to not use a cell phone, and I came up with 3 major findings so far:

1.   Cell phones are biological just as red & white blood “cells.”  Imagine if you lost an arm or even a best friend.  There are bonds to our cell phones that we ignore until it is lost or gone.  Cellphones are mini-representations of ourselves and make statements about who we are.  Look at the Blackberry- i-phone war going on now: it’s really personal and we discover that ‘cellphone blood’ is thicker than plastic.

2. Cell phones are not actually for talking.  Some call these smartphones or super smartphones, but many applications attached to cellphones makes it unnecessary to speak.  In fact, due to texting or checking emails; talking is an afterthought.  A better outlook is that they are used for contacting and locating each other.  It’s probably weird today for someone to make a surprise visit stopping by while pressing a doorbell.   

3.  Cellphones acts as contact information.  What I mean is that having a cellphone is what people keep for the sake of others.  Additional examples are: home phones (some cells act as such); business cards; websites, and of course a facebook page.  If you are without any of these, you may appear outdated, disconnected, anti-social, or even suspicious.     

Overall, what I noticed in these 32 days is that I am more free. Free from checking my phone so often that I never  concentrate on one thing at a time.  Free from frustration when my signal is low, battery dying, or periodic drop calls.  However, although I enjoy these freedoms, they are  only temporary.  I’m still bound by the wave of social connection and constant communication.  Having what could be considered as a PC bagphone on your hip, you have complete access to the world. 

But, when I finally succumb to being cell-phoned again, I hope to keep in mind that my life is more than devices. I’m convinced that being truly connected means being fully linked-in with oneself.