Saturday, July 17, 2010

Driving Technology

I recently took the opportunity to thank Steve Jobs and the techies at Apple for inventing the iPhone. I truly believe that it is one of the most life-changing pieces of technology in recent memory. In the palm of my hand, I can hold my telephone, my phone book, my GPS, my email, an alarm clock, a dictionary, a guide to birds of North America, music, a few games for staving off boredom while traveling, and even movies and television, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of other uses brought to hand by application developers the world over. It is absolutely amazing.

That being said, with all that technology immediately available, it would be easy to let the technology drive me, rather than the other way around. How many people turn to their smartphone instead of a book when they can’t sleep, or when they are bored? How many times do you find yourself reaching for your iPhone while watching a movie, instead of allowing the film to entertain you? How often do you give your husband or your wife or your children—the most important people in your life—only a portion of your attention, because your other eye is on your iPhone, following Twitter or facebook, or reading email or news or baseball scores?

I’m guilty, but I’m recovering.

I’m putting the iPhone aside in the evenings to spend time with my husband. There is nothing so important, no debate so interesting, and no liberal so desperately needing a smackdown, that can or should draw me away from time with my husband. It is difficult for me, because I’m competitive by nature. I can make catching a metro, climbing stairs, folding towels or even drying dishes a competition. I want to be faster, smarter, better. I want to throw harder, jump higher, and finish first. I think it’s so deeply ingrained in my DNA that I sometimes have angst from denying my competitive impulses.

I’m recovering. I’m picking my races; I’m controlling my absorption with things that push my competitive buttons.

Which brings me to the point of these personal revelations…I’m doing things on my time, on my terms, and in a way that is best for me and my family. A consequence of that appears to be that sometimes a cavalcade of liberals will think they’ve stumped me, or that I cannot defend against their spurious attacks, whether against me personally, or John Wayne, or George Bush. And that’s ok. I’m driving the technology, it’s not driving me.

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