Friday, March 16, 2012


This year on the major agricultural survey I'm doing, there's a unique question asking farmers if they have a smartphone or a Blackberry. It's interesting to find out who answers yes or no, and so far, about 16 out of 20 I have asked have said yes.

I'll never have one. I won't buy one. If you buy me one for Christmas I'll say thank you and see if I can turn it in at Best Buy and instead get Mrs H the next season of I Dream of Jeannie as an exchange.

This could easily turn into one of my standard rants about how such technology affects the brain, so let me turn it right away to something of related nature. It's not just the brain effects that are the problem. Nor is it just that people end up driving and texting and end up in accidents. There's also a certain degree of social rudeness that comes of such devices. We all know some examples of this: The jerk who doesn't turn off his phone in the movie theater, or who keeps talking loudly on it in public.

But there's also the sort of thing that happened today as I was leaving a certain business. In the parking lot, I was parked next to a fellow who had just come out before me, busily texting away on his iPhone. As he plugged away at whatever earth-shaking message he was working on, he was (with a certain limited awareness) opening his own vehicle door. In the process, he blocked my access to my own drivers-side door.

I could have said "excuse me" or some such, but I was curious, so I just waited at the back end of my car, waiting to see how long it would take for this doofus to look up from his texting and notice he was keeping someone waiting. It was an interesting test of the degree of obliviousness these things can cause.

As it happened, it took about 15 seconds before he looked up, saw me standing there, and quickly apologized. Then he got into his vehicle and continued texting as he started his vehicle. Finally, he (thankfully) put the device aside and drove away.

I don't want to become like that. Not that I'm saying the purchase of an iPhone makes you more apt to become rude and devoid of concentration, of course. And I'm such an introvert that I'd never be so enamored of texting that I'd be having long conversations with people on it.

Furthermore, there's no one for me to text TO anyway. Mrs H still works in the prison system here, and they're not permitted to have personal electronic devices inside. Just as well, I'd rather just call her there for a chat anyway. But regardless of whether I would have a use for such a device -- I still wouldn't want one. (Full disclosure: We did purchase a cell phone for our New England trip a couple of years back -- one you could just buy 30 minutes for and dispose of in a drawer until you needed it again. It had but two purposes: 1) Use in case of an emergency. 2) Contacting the gentleman who was watching Cocoa for us. We used it again for another trip some months ago. Since then it has resided in a drawer. The end.)

Though it's obviously not as serious as killing someone with your car because you were too busy with WILL U BE MY BFF, the doofus who kept me waiting today is just another example of how we're serving technology rather than the other way around. And I won't be a servant to my technology.

Maybe for Christmas you can get me season one of Daniel Boone instead.


  1. Well, I don't own a smartphone or Blackberry, but I do own a tablet (the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) which I carry around at all times because I use it to send and receive text messages, and I find it very useful apart from being an entertainment device to stave away my boredom; for example, I could use its online browsing feature to look up any information on the spot (like, say, if someone were to ask me what movies are showing in the local cinemas now, or if the Local Church is some sort of heretical cult - and incidentally, that last example is a real one!), using it as a Bible viewer where I can easily switch between translation versions to cross-reference passages and footnotes, and most recently with the Reasonable Faith app that's just released for the Android I'm using it to browse and download articles and podcasts by Dr William Lane Craig.

  2. That makes some sense if you're not working on the computer all day as I am. And I do own a Dell notebook that I can take with me to write and sometimes get online if there's wifi. But you're clearly not going to be blocking someone's entry to their car while searching for info on the Local Church.

  3. Curmudgeon JPH is the best JHP.....or is it the only JPH?

    Haha, but seriously texting is getting out of control. I don't get too worked up about it though. Just one of the many symptoms of a deeper cultural depravity.

  4. @Jon In this case it IS the only JPH. :D

  5. "Faith: No one word personifies the absolute worst and most wicked policies of religion better than that. Faith is mind-rot -- it's a poison that destroys critical thinking, undermines evidence, and leads people into lives dedicated to absurdity. It's a parasite that's regarded as a virtue. I speak as a representative of the scientific faction of atheism here -- it's one thing we simply cannot compromise on. Faith is wrong, and at the same time faith is a central tenet of just about every religion on the planet. We can't ignore that -- that's the thing we are interested in fighting."-P.Z. Myers

  6. P. Z. Myers: An idiot who is too stupid to know how to define the Greek word pistis correctly.

    kilo papa: An even bigger idiot who thinks he can make an impression by leaving off-topic comments that reflect his profound ignorance.

  7. I resisted having a cell phone for years until I was pressured to get one because of my job (managing an IT department).

    That's been several years now. I now show off the fact that instead of a "smart" phone, all I have is a 5 year old Nokia flip-phone that's all beat up, has a cracked screen and is barely capable of texting. Alas, though, the day will come when the battery won't hold a charge or some critical wire or connector will break and it will be all over for that phone and I'll be forced to get something newer which will probably be in the "smart" category. I'm slowly and unwillingly being dragged into the "texting" world because of my job, unfortunately (getting notifications of system outages, etc). However, I refuse to become like the person in the following video that is paying more attention to his LOL's and OMG's than to the C.A.R.'s that are about to H.I.T. him:

    Now, a tablet, on the other hand, might be more right up my alley. Specifically because I can use one to sit in my easy chair or in a doctor's waiting room and easily read a text-heavy web site (like, for example), instead of having to sit at a computer desk to do it. Haven't been able to cost justify getting one, though (at least for personal use--I might end up getting one for work, though, because I'll probably end up having to support them).

  8. @Jared: I did get a Dell notebook for reasons you named in the last para there. I can take it with me and write articles while otherwise waiting for other things to happen. It's been a great help with productivity.

  9. Jared, in your case I'd recommend the Asus PadFone, which is a smartphone that can be transformed into a tablet by slotting it behind the tablet dock, and it can in turn be attached to a keyboard dock so that it can be typed on like a laptop if you prefer it that way :D

  10. Sorry, resurrecting an old post here, but this just occurred to me--I couldn't resist "pushing some buttons." :D

    Netflix has Daniel Boone seasons 1 - 6, so you can now watch it on your iPad or Android tablet: