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One Last Point: Smart or Not?

 

Smart phones are pretty amazing things. You can check email, send text messages and even make dinner reservations if you have the right application installed. 

I’ve even had my manly sense of pride saved by using the map app to find myself, instead of asking for directions. 

My wife doesn’t have a smart phone. In fact she has a dumb phone: it hangs up on her when she doesn’t want to. 

Of course, it provides a built in excuse when people she doesn’t want to speak with call her. It does prove troublesome, though, when her mother calls from Germany and the phone hangs up. 

My smart phone puts everything – well, almost everything – at my fingertips, ready to access at a moment’s notice. 

My smart phone is also responsible for the degradation of the American way of life. Maybe not my smart phone in particular, but smart phones in general. 

Because it puts so much information within easy grasp, it has led to an increased amount of laziness. 

In the pre-smart-phone era, if you wanted to know how to rebuild a carburetor you had to do one of three things: go to the library, check out a book and read how;  go to a local mechanic, or friend to observe and learn; or, take the carburetor off an engine, take it apart, fix it and rebuild it to figure it out. 

Now, all I have to do is pull my phone out of my pocket, and google how it’s done. How lazy. 

Even when the Internet was first becoming popular, it was a little harder to retrieve information. First you had to dial in, then you had to know the key codes to find the server you wanted, and then you had to enter the correct search string to find the information. That took long enough it almost made more sense to go to the library or an auto shop to get the information. 

Now, with just my two thumbs I can find out almost anything. 

As the sports guy, having information so easily accessible can be a real boon, but it can also be a real bane. 

For instance, I didn’t have time to really pay attention to the NFL  combine, but via my smart phone I was able to keep up on the comings and goings of Robert Griffin III. 

I can watch game highlights via my ESPN app, and keep track of the scores on games that aren’t broadcast on TV in the Brookings market. 

Oh, and having a smart phone means that I can make phone calls, unless I’m at Autzen Stadium, and then because everyone is using their phone at the same time it overloads AT&T’s infrastructure and, while you can see full bars of signal, you can’t make a call or send text messages. 

Having a smart phone also means that if I’m with friends watching a game that is being tape delayed, I can’t look at my phone for three hours. Because what’s the point of watching a game if you already know the score?

And its always anti-climatic to be watching the Ducks on the road and have a coworker text you a “wow, wasn’t that play awesome to give the Ducks the win with 20 seconds left,” comment to ruin the end of an intensely close game. 

 

Having a smart phone used to be a mark of the elite, and now I see 6 year olds walking around playing Fruit Ninja or Temple Run, texting and making phone calls. (hmmm, maybe they’re elite like me and I just don’t know it.)

When I began working in the T-Mobile call center nine years ago, every employee received a free phone and free service. Once I was out of training and on the work floor, I began to notice that the “popular kids” had smart phones. I always mocked them for being so ostentatious that they couldn’t have a phone that just made phone calls, and I resisted the allure of the “next best technological advance” until I realized I could sync my computer calendar with a smart phone and then I was hooked. 

Now I’m a smart-phone addict and I’m selling the poison to everyone. Just do me a favor -- wait until your kids are at least 7 before getting them hooked. 

Oh, by the way, this column, in its entirety, was written on a smart phone from my bedroom at home. 

 

 

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