As I spent last week meandering around
a beach on an island off the shores of Charleston, S.C., I noticed
that those E-reader things seemed to be in everybody's hands. There
are a bunch of different makes and models, but the most well known
one is the Amazon Kindle.
Not every beach bum kicked back in a
low to the ground chair was holding one of these contraptions. Some,
including myself, had old fashioned books spread across our laps. We
had an advantage in that we didn't have to hold our hands over the
page to cut the sun glare to see what we were reading.
But they had an advantage in that ocean
breezes weren't constantly trying to go through about 200 pages in
the blink of an eye.
I don't have an E-reader, but I do
have a tablet and on that tablet, I have the Kindle reading app (as
the young people say). About all I use it for is to download books by
unknown authors who are just desperate for readers. Having been down
that road myself, I feel for these Stephen King wannabes and give
them what support I can. Some are surprisingly decent, while others,
well, hopefully most have mothers who will tell them how good they
It used to be when we went on vacation,
the only contact we had with our home life was through ancient cell
phones that we hoped wouldn't ring. Now, thanks to smart phones,
laptops and the aforementioned tablet, everything from the world we
occupy the other 51 weeks of the year might as well be right next
Whether it's the wife calling or
texting a family member or me answering work questions through e-mail
or phone calls, we keep a foot in what's happening and we never
really go back to work the following week saying we hadn't thought
of the place in seven days. No one really goes "off the grid" anymore.
As I sat on the beach, I noticed in
addition to the E-readers, the constant checking of phones, both
smart and cell. Sure, the teenagers (why weren't they in school?) might have been sending texts to their BFF's, but the stern looking
guys with gray hair hurrying off for private conversations weren't
saying, "OMG, they did not!"
I'm not sure whether or not oceans
have any effect on cell phone reception, but one minute every bar
would be full, the 3G would be standing proudly and the next the
phone would be saying it was searching, trying to find something. I'm
sure lots of important business was dropped because of this.
Another thing modern day technology has
changed is picture taking. Many years ago, when the wife and I were
dating, we took photographic evidence of everywhere we went. This was
done in groups of 24 and 36 and was not cheap. An 84 shot pack of
film (36, 24 and 24) cost about $12, if you went for the cheaper
stuff, then having all those artful shots developed would run you
another $20-$30, depending on whether or not you wanted one hour
service or were willing to wait a few days.
Now, thanks to a couple of smart phones
and a little hand held camera, we've probably taken more than 300
pictures and they won't cost a thing unless we decide to have some
prints made. Just think, we can bore relatives nonstop and we won't
be out a penny!
I don't know how many more vacation
weeks I have left at my advanced age (I'm apparently extremely old
to people in their mid-20's), but I can't imagine what changes
might be waiting in the future. What different way could there be
take pictures and receive phone calls? Will we one day be able to
record our memories and be able to share them by touching heads?
Considering at this point I still have
a six-hour plus drive in my future, that's probably too much