First, let’s call the kettle black. What do I do when I am sitting on the toilet? No . . . I don’t read the newspaper or pull out a magazine. I pull out my iPhone and catch up on emails. Yes, comforting to know I’m keeping up to date with you all as I “sit on the can” isn’t it?
A little background first. I have an iPhone. I have had one for about a year and a half now and I am no stranger to smart phones, having owned Windows Mobile, Blackberries, Droids and more. I’m a network engineer by trade and also a technology reviewer (see Tech Advice for the Common Man). One thing that continues to amuse and dismay me, however, is how society as a whole adapts to smartphone technology. Some people like the CEOs and sales people user their phones to keep up with things on a minute-by-minute basis and adapt fairly well. Then you have those who barely know it is a “smart” phone and use it for nothing more than a touch screen phone—now there’s actually nothing wrong with that, though it is a bit of a waste for such a powerful tool.
Generally, people act responsibly and use their phones for their intended purposes when they should be used, but every now and then you see someone doing something . . . well, stupid. At least a few times a year you hear about some person driving a bus (or in Boston’s case – a train) who believes he can text while driving and gets into an accident or worse yet, kills himself or someone else: stupid people with smart phones.
Excellent example happened a few days ago right in front of me. I was walking to work and I saw this man walking toward me through the courthouse at a brisk pace. He is staring at his phone while he is walking and texting. Ten seconds after I begin watching him, he crashes into a pillar on the courthouse, shattering his phone and hitting his head in the process. Again—stupid people, smart phones.
So, I say we create an app called “Hey stupid, look up!” It’s required when you own a smart phone. Any time it catches you walking and texting or driving and texting it will send an electric pulse through your hand and you will hear the words “Hey stupid, look up!”
In all seriousness, our society has really taken on a side of the bizarre. What is really that important that it can’t wait until you’ve stopped or are standing still? I don’t think people really need others to get back to them as badly as they think. Perhaps the truth is that these people just can’t resist that adorable blinking text message or those enticing little red numbers telling them that they have unread emails.
I read somewhere recently that terrorists are planning their next attack to strike not our buildings or our people, but our communications network. What will America do, I wonder, if we lose our smart phones for a few days, a few weeks or more?