Monday, February 02, 2009

When it's good, it's very good, but...

Ball and chain.

Do you ever stop to wonder how we ever got along before we had electronic leashes? I remember summer concerts in Central Park when I had to find my friends through some fantastic combination of orienteering, red balloons and, well, let's face it, luck. And when I was late (who me?)—I was just late—no calls or texts from the bus, cab or car. Train rides involved books and crossword puzzles—not long over-due phone calls.

The flip side, of course, is that neither friend nor family, boss nor client was under the impression that I was constantly available. On call 24/7. Never out of reach. Just 10 digits away. (Not, mind you, seven, but 10.)

Cell phones, the Janus of modern communication. I may not always like it, but don't even think about taking it away. Because, when something goes awry in that state of Denmark, look out!

The irony is that when something does go awry, communication companies are so incredibly inept at communicating. Blackberry outages have occurred rather infamously several times in the last few years. Each time, the carriers and users have been the last to know. I myself just spent 30 minutes on the phone with AT&T and talked with three separate customer service representatives before I learned that there is nothing wrong with my phone—RIM is experiencing network problems. Oh, and no one knows when they're expected to be resolved. Of course not.

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