I’m phoning today’s column in

On The Ball column by Craig Lindsay, June 17 Grand Forks Gazette.

We are living in the age of the electronics. We are interacting more and more through computers and phones than ever before. Face to face meetings and social real-life interactions are become more and more scarce.

This is both troubling and exciting. Even when we do meet up and go for dinner or take a walk in the park, many of us are still continually checking our cell phones.

I remember back when cell phones first became available. They were large bricks that wouldn’t even fit in a pocket. You needn’t a wheelbarrow just to cart them around. Or so I remember.

I recall my old university buddy Mark was the first one of our group to get a cell phone. We were out at a fine establishment in Victoria and he hauled out this strange looking Captain Kirk style flip up tricorder-looking device and placed it on the table. We all stared at it and wondered what it was and what it did? He never did get a call that night on his “mobile” phone but it sure looked cool.

I was one of the late adopters you could say. It seemed an unnecessary expense back then (and probably still is). But eventually I relented and picked one up. Hey, what if I’m in an accident in the middle of the highway? Of course, the damn things still don’t work if you’re in the middle of the highway in the middle of nowhere but hey at least I could throw it at a passing car to get someone’s attention, right?

That first cell phone was a flip phone too. If I gripped it right I could flip it open just like a futuristic communicator from Star Trek. “Beam me up, Scotty!” I would say.

That first phone only had one game, Snake. Where you would chase your tail and try not to get pinned in. It wasn’t exactly Skyrim but it was fun while you were waiting for your bus. At least for about five minutes until your battery died.

There was no Internet on that phone; or video; or music; or camera; or GPS. The only way you could text was by using the T9 method where you have to press a button three or four times to get the right letter. If you went past the letter you had to scroll through all the letters and back again. Texts tended to be a lot shorter back then. A lot shorter.

Now a decent smart phone, or super phone, can do pretty much what most computers can do. You can surf the net super-fast. You can read books and magazines; download and listen to thousands of songs; play online games against people in Australia if you want; video chats with Skype; take great pictures and video; use voice commands; check your pulse; and much more.

Whether this is an improvement or not is debatable. One thing is certain by bringing us closer through technology we are being pushed farther and farther apart.

 

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