Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Hello again all,

For those of you who know, this week has been the week of CES (Consumer Electronics Show). This is an opportunity for companies to show off their newest gadgets to the press and public. The prevailing theme this year seems to be high definition and portable media devices. The focus is trying to bring consumers products that basically do everything. During the Sony press conference at CES, Sony unveiled the Sony EricssonW760. This phone/video player/videogame/mp3 player can do everything, it even goes as far as having tilt control, so when you’re playing your racing game on your phone you just turn the dandy little thing to its side and steer it like a steering wheel.

Products such as these interest me to no extent; I love gadgets that can do everything because it eliminates the need to carry around multiple gadgets that can only do some of the stuff. So for this post we’ll be looking at the need for multitasking and how that affects society. The medium that I’ll be looking at specifically is the iPhone. This coveted consumer good has the capacity to eliminate the need to carry around any other media that one might need

Nowadays in our busy lives people are working longer hours, traveling greater distances, and just trying to manage time so they can do all they need to do. For this reason we have gadgets like the iPhone. With products such as these the idea is to save us time as well as conveniently be able to locate everything we need. Laura Pappano recognizes this in “The Connection Gap” and says:

“In the electronic world, screens are not objective tools but personal accessories that amplify and fill in when human capabilities fall short. Screen technology expands our memory, polishes our look, extends our reach, and even gives us the illusion of having more time.”(Pappano: p.64)

This is the practical use for the iPhone, the other side of it is the bragging rights that come along with it. The truth of the matter is that the average person who is not a traveling businessmen might not need all of the software that comes with this but just to be able to say that you can, for example, convert money at the touch of a button is reason enough to buy this product.

Our favorite author Laura Pappano, brings up this issue again in her book “The Connection Gap.” In her chapter titled Screens Pappano discusses the disconnect from society that screens have on us. An example that she gives is of a woman who was dying of liver cancer and was unfortunately bed ridden. Since she was immobile she spent a lot of time in chat rooms with people who have the same affliction as her when she said that she was “dying from liver cancer” people would say to her instead “you are living with liver cancer.” The point Pappano was trying to make is that people were not actually listening to what this woman had to say and were instead spouting cliché lines in a feeble attempt to make her feel better. This is the lack of connection that Pappano is talking about.

Now that we have products like the iPhone that does everything are we less connected with one another? After much thought and debate with Brian I have to say that my answer would have to be yes. I don’t have a problem with multitasking, in fact I think that it necessary. As a person who has dual monitors on their computer I like the fact that I can write my blog and watch the Sony Press Conference at CES (that is actually what I’m doing right now for those who are wondering). At the same time I feel I am at the proper venue to multitask. I’m not neglecting my friends and family because I would have had to write my blog anyway and so I can spend more time with my friends I won’t have to sit isolated from them watching CES another time. I am basically killing two birds with one stone.

The problem arises when you are not in the proper venue. I will agree with Pappano that if you are listening to music while web browsing and organizing your day outside and around others then you are in fact missing out on the human connection. Making media portable distracts us and in our attempt to stay connected with others we are in fact missing out on connections that could be established.

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