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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 30, 2008 / 23 Shevat 5768

I can tech it or leave it

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When it comes to new consumer technologies, I am not what industry experts refer to as an "early adopter." If anything, I'd say I'm more like an "early disparager."


"Would you look at that guy?" I'll often remark to my wife with disgust upon seeing some techno hipster in public sporting the requisite "Bluetooth" headset in one ear and an "iPod" earpiece in the other texting away on his "BlackBerry" handheld as he cruises by in a "Segway" scooter and casually glances at his "digital" watch. "Whatever happened to simple one-on-one, face-to-face, human interaction?" My wife, however, has learned to tune out these comments by becoming engrossed in her own cell phone conversation.


In fact, when they first came out, cell phones bore the brunt of my distaste for technological fads. I remember practically straining my optic nerves rolling my eyes at the people who felt compelled to share with everyone within a quarter-mile radius the boring minutiae of their lives, graphic descriptions of their latest gastrointestinal troubles or, most commonly, the repeated refrains of "Can you hear me now? How about now? What about now?" And anyone who offered a polite, "Um, I'm sorry, but the funeral service has begun," would be quickly silenced with a hostile glare that said, "Do you mind? Can't you see I'm on the phone?"


Of course, I always eventually join the masses and grudgingly buy whatever gizmo the rest of the world embraced long ago. I am proud to say, however, that although I own a cell phone, I have not become one of the obnoxious jerks who turn every restaurant, crowded subway car, church service or hospital operating room into their own personal phone booth. No doubt I would, except that I rarely remember to bring my cell phone with me when I leave the house.


My technophobic pattern held true with another recent innovation, those GPS car navigation tools that plot every turn on the way to whatever destination you've keyed in. While friends extolled the virtues of these devices, explaining that they never get lost anymore, no longer fumble with maps, avoid traffic jams, have less stress in their relationships, etc., I remained unmoved. "Not for me," I said. "I like finding my own way on the road. I enjoy looking at maps and planning my route. And I love getting into shouting matches with my wife in the car about why I never listen to her and always get us lost, which is why we're always late and no one ever invites us out anymore."


Since receiving a GPS navigation device for Christmas, however, I've changed my tune entirely. My wife programmed it to speak with an Irish female voice, so wherever we go these days it's as if we're being led there by Sinead O'Connor. In between instructions in her brogue to "turn right, up ahead" and "after 400 yards, keep left" I half expect to hear the occasional criticism about the pope.


But the best thing about "Sinead" is that, in addition to providing perfect directions, she's entirely nonjudgmental. If she tells me to go left, but I go right instead, she doesn't take it personally. There's no "I said left, you idiot! Don't you know your left from right? Maybe you don't really want to go to this baby shower - is that it?" Instead, she merely recalibrates, silently adjusting to my implicitly superior navigational judgment.


I've heard that, for a fee, some GPS devices allow users to download celebrity voices. I don't know which celebs are available, but my first choice would be Patrick Stewart from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Who wouldn't feel more confident driving around with Captain Picard's imperious voice intoning, "Prepare to exit the motorway in 100 yards ... in 50 yards ... in 20 yards, and ... ENGAGE!"


My only concern about these navigational tools is that they almost make driving too easy. Today's drivers simply do not need additional justification for passing the time behind the wheel talking on the phone, fiddling with the radio, applying makeup, clipping toenails, playing Jenga, napping, etc.


But instead of fearing technology's march, we should eagerly anticipate the next generation of GPS tools that will do much more than merely provide directions. Specifically, I look forward to hand-held devices that will calculate which checkout line at the grocery store is moving the fastest, inform you as soon as the buffet is restocked with fresh cheddar cheese cubes, automatically remind you when the refrigerator is running low on beer, and flash a warning at a party about the impending arrival of an ex-boyfriend, cigar smoker or anyone who has a side business selling Amway products.


Enticing as such a tool would be, for me to get on board would require one more feature: it would still have to function when I leave the house without it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


Previously:

01/02/08: Confessions of a coke addict
01/02/08: Our bills are due
12/13/07: Going (to lunch) once, going twice…
11/28/07: Out with the old
11/06/07: My latest pet project
11/06/07: Can't tune it out
10/23/07: Something special in the hair
09/12/07: Can I have your attention, please?
09/12/07: Houston, we have an image problem
08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
08/09/07: Let's get in the game
06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning



© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner

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