Plugged In

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dorajar
Posts: 3870
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Plugged In

Post by dorajar » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:25 am

How "plugged in" are you to the technological world? How many different devices do you use to stay connected? Do you get anxiety if you don't have access to the technological web of communication in some way for a length of time? Do you think this trend of everyone being constantly plugged in is healthy for society? For individuals? For you?

dorajar
Posts: 3870
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Post by dorajar » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:38 am

I'm a mixed bag. I was one of the last people I know to get a cell phone. Didn't succumb until after I graduated from college in '03. I still don't own an iPod, and I'm perfectly happy with my little crappy, cheap phone that has the ability to text, take grainy photos and make calls and that's it. I have no interest in a blackberry or palm pilot or iPhone or anything that would let me be connected to the internet from my hand 24/7.

That said, I'm totally addicted to checking my e-mail. I do get anxious if I'm unable to check it for a long time. The exception is when I'm on vacation. On my Southern road trip of '07 and my cruise last March, I consciously chose to avoid any and all computers for the duration of the trip, because I think it's healthy to really, truly unplug once and a while. Lately I'm feeling the need for it something fierce. Probably won't get a chance to unplug and reboot until April, though. By then I'll need it like crazy.

thrice
Posts: 14147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:28 am

One Way Street

Post by thrice » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:20 am

I'm very hooked on the Internet and all the things it offers me in terms of communication, convenience and information.

Having said that, I prefer it be a one-way street.

It seems quite clear that the competitive nature of enterprise and individuals is using technology to raise the bar of involvement and time commitment both for their peers and competitors.

My workplace is pushing us all to get Blackberries. Microsoft Outlook software manages our email, and while it's certainly a convenient way to get information out, it's also rather pushy. If I invite you to a meeting at a certain day and time, Outlook can DEMAND an answer and commitment from you, and will keep nagging you until you respond. Cell phones also have GPS capabilities on them, which allows your employer to track your physical whereabouts whenever they want to. My boss certainly feels free to call my cell at any time of day or night, regardless of my work schedule or lack of urgency of the message intended.

I've been rather astounded at the rudeness and insensitivity of management types who frequently check their PDA's and scrawl notes on them with a stubby pen while other people are presenting information at meetings. It goes bottom up as well. My spouse recently complained to her boss because one of her peers had a laptop computer out and was pecking away furiously at it during staff meetings, essentially ignoring presentations to send emails or otherwise entertain herself to the great distraction of others present.

Bottom line is that a group of hard driving people can literally force all their peers and subordinates to "speed up the production line" and compel them to abandon a personal life or true "off time" and join them in a 24/7 obsession with work or business. And unfortunately, with our very "wired" generation upcoming, family and friends demand the same instant and constant access.

I manage to frustrate them all by ignoring those email messages and invites that I choose to, and wearing my cell phone when I damn well please. I manage to get by with it, but if I were in a very cutting edge or competitive business climate, I'm sure my little rebellion wouldn't be tolerated.

For a country that frequently expresses its admiration for the large amount of paid off time given by enlightened European nations, I'm amazed at how little attention is being paid to the growing intrusions of the electronic "leash".

dorajar
Posts: 3870
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Post by dorajar » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:36 am

I'm also a little appalled by this new iPhone application that lets everyone know exactly where you are at all times. In the commercial they present it as, "Look, great, Marsha is on the corner, let's see if she wants to grab some lunch!" It feels much more sinister than that to me. I don't want people knowing my exact whereabouts all the time. I value my privacy too much. And I'm not even a particularly private person. But that to me is just creepy.

praecorloth
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:34 pm
Location: Robbinsdale, MN

Post by praecorloth » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:33 pm

I'm pretty plugged in when I'm at home. I've got three laptops and three desktops. I've got my cell phone which isn't a Blackberry or an iPhone, but it does have some cool capabilities. For instance I can buy a 2 gigabyte micro SD card and throw it in my phone. I can put all kinds of cool applications on it. My phone can't run them, but computers that I run in to can.

My answer to the problem that Thrice lays out before us is to make sure that I have access to my own personal projects from work. Being that I'm a computer nerd, most of my projects are computer related. Other projects can be researched on the Internet or whatever.

When I start a job at a company which has draconian Internet policies, one of the first things I do is test the guile of the network administrators. Breaking out of locked down networks used to be a hobby, but has now turned in to a process I generally do in my sleep.

But I guess this hints towards my answer to the question "Do I get anxiety if I'm not connected." At home or when I'm at work, I have a computer near me. I do feel the compulsion to check my email every few minutes or what have you. The trick is, once I get away from a computer, that compulsion isn't there. I don't feel the need to find the nearest computer and check my email. Which I think is a good thing. It mans that I can head up to the boundary waters with a canoe and a couple of backpacks and enjoy the silence and the solitude.

COWman
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Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:50 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Post by COWman » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:10 pm

I would like to comment, but I have to go check my e-mail.

praecorloth
Posts: 1812
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:34 pm
Location: Robbinsdale, MN

Post by praecorloth » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:38 pm

COWman wrote:I would like to comment, but I have to go check my e-mail.
Thread over. COWman wins. :)

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