An evening conversation: are we hooked?

By Stephen Cameron

Here’s an interesting theory you hear more and more often these days — the idea that we’ve all become slaves to technology, that we’ve lost all touch with the old-fashioned way of life.

Fascinating notion, eh?

I thought about it and decided to run through an average day, just to prove that while gadgets are pretty cool from time to time, they certainly aren’t running our lives.

Right, so let’s imagine a normal workday, shall we?

(Insert your own routine here, just for fun. Ready? We need to get cracking…)

I wake up when the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m. — what with working for an afternoon newspaper and all, I need to be in the office between 7:30 and 8.

So I turn off the alarm and…wait!

My iPhone actually IS my alarm clock. I’d use a regular old clock, except that you can set a smartphone to wake you at a certain time on specific days of the week. And a different time, if you choose, on weekends.

Pretty amazing. Not to mention easy.

Now then…

For years and years, I’ve given myself 45 minutes to an hour to wake up properly, make coffee, hop back under the covers, get propped up on some pillows, enjoy my cuppa and read the paper.

And since I’m headed off shortly for a role in charge of a professional newsroom, checking the news is more than just a lie-around luxury.

I need to know what’s happening in the world, and especially in a region with Manhattan showing a big red star in the middle.

But doggone it, the Kansas City Star isn’t delivered here until around 7.

Plus, well, I’ve got the iPhone in my hand already, with the Star’s little icon there, along with CNN and even Al Jazeera for national and world news.

So I guess the phone has replaced my morning newspaper —although to be fair, that’s just a matter of geography. If they could get me the Star by 6, I’d go fetch it.

Out in the snow and cold.


So that’s the first hour of my day, browsing web sites to see what’s up. Like goings on at the legislature.

Or even more critically, to check whether my English soccer team has found another striker on the transfer market.

Hey, if it’s 6:30 here then that would be 12:30 in the afternoon in London. Maybe they’ve made a deal and…

Oh, never mind.

Please note that I didn’t use any particularly newfangled device for the coffee. I had to get out of bed for that, and later on to shower, as well.

Off to work…

Yeah, at The Mercury I’m basically on a computer most of the day. And if I need to reach someone, odds are pretty good I’ll call or text on the iPhone.

After work, I love to relax and read — on my iPad, usually — or watch a movie.

That’s very likely ALSO on the iPad or a laptop computer, either of which is perfect for streaming films and TV shows via Netflix or Amazon Prime. And there are thousands available in an instant, by the way.


You know, I may have to rethink the whole notion of independence from technology.

This test run was a bit daunting. How about yours?

Do you even REMEMBER life before computers and clever phones and GPS in your car?

I’m just glad none of these gizmos can hit my golf shots. I might have to buy it a country club membership.

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