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Personal media – a confession

I’m not a gadget person.

I’ve made no secret about my distain for cell phones. I have one that rides in my pickup that has about 30 minutes per month talk time and I’ve never gone over my limit. It is rarely turned on and I’ve given the number to about five people. I don’t mind using the phone to harass others, but hate being harassed by means of it myself.

My Palm Tungsten C PDA has long been on my love/hate list as well. The tiny screen, tiny buttons, and a clunky sync process have often made me yearn for my paper planner. Its built in WiFi was unreliable except on my home and school wireless networks. I kept forgetting to recharge the damn thing. It didn’t do much for the line of my suit coat when I carried in a pocket. And fashion plate that I am, this bothered me ;-)

So I surprised myself yesterday. On finding that my PDA’s screen did not survive my recent trip to Singapore, I found myself at the local Sprint store buying a Treo 650 and a new cell service that included Internet access. This PDA/cell phone gizmo ought to combine all the dislikes of both my earlier devices into a single object of scorn. Plus I can now take fuzzy, ill lit pictures with its built-in camera. I’m betting the manual will weigh about eight pounds.

But I am fighting a losing battle – the revolution, as Paul Saffo describes it, from mass media to personal media.

In his handouts from the NLB conference, Saffo has an interesting table:


I recognize that there are some skills I need to master if I am to survive this revolution– especially now that I will have a new “enabling” device making access to new media even more ubiquitous.

  1. I need to get better at multi-tasking or learn to shut down devices when I ought to be paying attention. It is way too easy for me to pay more attention to what is happening in my e-mail world than in the F2F meeting I am supposed to be attending. Will the siren’s song of the virtual world eventually lead to a crash in the physical world?
  2. I need to be better at discriminating what I read and what I write. For a compulsive communicator, this will not be easy. I’ve questioned before whether the time I have for discretionary reading is better spent on blog sites or with a book. I also have to ask whether my writing time is better spent blogging or working on a book revision. (Which makes me ask, of course, why I write at all.)
  3. I’ve got to master those itty-bitty buttons with my thumbs and remember to recharge.

    Any advice for us geezers trying to live in a  2.0 world?

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Reader Comments (1)

I empathize with you, however, I love my handheld computer. I don't mind my cellphone, but I hate having two devices to carry around with me.

As for discretionary reading, I struggle with the same dilema of time better spent. I wish I had a nickle for each time I have read a meaningless blog post and thought "Gee, that was uninformative, I could have finished that book I bought two months ago."

I'd like to hear what you think about the Treo 650 as I see myself in the market in the next 6-8 months.
November 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

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