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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 Oct. 30, 2008 / 1 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Early adopters tech their chances

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I remember growing up learning that one of the defining characteristics of this great nation, along with "Wessonality," was our uniquely American inventive streak. So many of history's most important inventions originated here - the steam engine, the light bulb, the telephone, the "Rooty Tooty Fresh -N- Fruity" breakfast at IHOP - that it's safe to say we are unquestionably a "nation of inventors." Which is why as children we memorized the names of Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and James Watt - not just because these men were geniuses, but because we believed, in our hearts as Americans, that they were also going to be on the test.


And while I admire my fellow Americans' ingenuity, I can't help but wonder whether it was really all that difficult for our inventor forebears. I mean, just look at all the stuff we didn't have but clearly needed. Plus without distractions like television, the Internet and cell phones, what else was there to do besides try to invent them? Sit down alone at a drafting table for long enough and, after you grew bored of making hand outline turkeys, you'd be bound to eventually say to yourself, "Hey, you know what would be great to have? A radio."


That's why to me, more impressive than the original inventors, are the so-called "early adopters" - those individuals who will eagerly try out whatever latest absurd-looking high-tech gizmo is touted in the pages of Wired Magazine, bravely risking the ridicule that inevitably follows from friends, family members, coworkers and, frequently, even passing strangers in the street.


Recent examples might include:


  • Personal data assistants (PDAs). The rest of us have grown accustomed to users of these hand-held devices interrupting conversations every few minutes to dig out their personal pocket "tech-retary." Using the gadget's accompanying pen-like stylus, they then peck in a just-acquired piece of critical information such as a mutual acquaintance's phone number, the neighbor's cat's astrological sign or the time and date of an upcoming Comic Book convention.

  • Cell phones. Sure, nowadays practically all of us, including senior citizens, pre-teens and even many of our pets, have cell phones, but that wasn't always the case. Not that long ago talking in public on a cell phone was widely considered the kind of thing that only egotistical, self-important snobs would do. Since cell phone use has become nearly universal, however, what's become apparent is that even regular people can become egotistical and self-important.

  • Segway scooters. Segways were supposed to be the Next Big Thing, the greatest revolution in personal transportation since monkeys climbed down from the trees and started riding around on roller skates. The only problem is that there remains no plausible way of riding around on a Segway without looking: a) silly and b) like someone who is just too damned lazy to walk like everybody else.


But the most compelling example has to be the Bluetooth earpieces for cell phones that make users look like they've contracted a rare ear affliction caused by intimate contact with a dustbuster. Either that or they've been tagged by alien beings eager to study the movements of 21st century yuppies. Honestly, the first time you saw someone on the street wearing one, didn't you react by thinking, "What the heck is that doofus wearing in his ear?" Whereas now, because of the popularity of this particular cell phone accessory, upon seeing the same person, you would most likely think, "That doofus is wearing a Bluetooth wireless device in his ear."


Part of why early adopters don't get enough credit is because once new technologies become ubiquitous, it's easy to forget just how bold those pioneering first users were. After all, for every person with the foresight and judgment to start wearing, say, Gore-tex gloves or fleece-lined jackets to protect against the elements, there are plenty of others who thought they were way ahead of the curve with their windshield wiper glasses and umbrella hats.


This phenomenon of ridiculing early adopters is probably not a creation of the information age either. No doubt the first person who went out wearing a pair of spectacles led very soon thereafter to the first recorded instance of someone being called "four-eyes." And you just know that the earliest bicycle riders had to deal with frequent jeers of, "Hey, what happened to your horse?" Not to mention, of course, the inevitable accusations of doping.


So while we rightly remember and applaud the legacy of all the great and industrious American inventors through the ages, shouldn't all the many brave individuals who helped forge the path ahead by willingly acting as guinea pigs for whatever cockamamie new doohickey rolled out of some inventor's workshop also get a statue commemorating their sacrifices? We could all throw rotten fruit at it.

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


Previously:

10/21/08:Cyberspace invaders
10/21/08: Keeping up disappearances
09/17/08: Victims of math hysteria
08/07/08: My newfound sense of self (promotion)
06/24/08: Getting the brand back together
05/29/08: Phrased and confused
05/13/08: Take this job and love it
04/17/08: News you can (re)use
04/02/08: Commercial (over)load
02/20/08: An overdose of reality
02/14/08: A developing situation
01/30/08: I can tech it or leave it
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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