06 October 2008


A little miracle in your pocket

LG Shine closedAny technology you grow up with seems less impressive than it is, because you take it for granted. Air travel, television, the Internet, vacccines, eyeglasses, plastic, treated municipal drinking water, central heating, the wheel—if it became widespread before you were born, chances are you hardly give it a second thought.

Mobile phones are becoming like that, but Rich Mogull in TidBITS this week makes a good point:

...after you learn a little more about the inside of the [cellular telephone] system, maybe, just maybe, you'll be a little less irritated the next time you battle to make a simple call. [...] If you think about it, you are basically wandering the planet with a tiny radio in your pocket, but by calling a single number anyone can track you down in seconds.

For almost the entirety of human history until the past decade or two, that would be miraculous, something available only to Captain Kirk and his fictitious future-centuries cohorts. Now we're cheesed off when it doesn't happen instantly.

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I remember as an 11-year-old holding this Sony hand-held TV/radio (where the screen was maybe 5 cm across, but the whole contraption was about the size of a brick cell phone) that belonged to my stepdad and wondered if there would ever be a time when you could hold a TV that was thin and could be put in a pocket. I figured it just wasn't possible, and sighed. It was only recently when playing around with my iPod touch that my dreams had been fulfilled. Crazy.