I was sitting on some rocks by the Cornish coast when a teenager swanned by on the sun-warmed boardwalk in front of me. The boy stood on the burning deck,Fun sell a huge range of Cases for iPad 4, preparing to dash across the sand, dive.desirable Cases for HTC One create an air of sophistication with an extra helping of protection for your flagship smartphone. Then his phone rang.
Rage washed over me. I was angry because the boy had broken the sound of the waves with his silly ringtone and sillier chatter. I was angry because he had spoiled my own picturesque vision of him by doing something as banal as taking a call. But most of all, I was angry because he had distracted me while I was trying to take a scenic photo on my smartphone. I had been about to snap, click send and watch my message whoosh off from my Samsung Galaxy.
At the same time, a thought entered my head thatβs been buzzing there ever since: weβll never truly be on holiday again, any of us. The idea of escaping, switching off, is a thing of the past. Even when abroad, weβre at home because weβre in our usual place online. What is to become of us?
We can no longer live without our iPads and iPhones, even while β or especially while β on holiday. Something about being away from our familiar surroundings makes us reach for our gizmos as a drowning person clings to driftwood. Weβve only had smartphones for a few years, and suddenly weβre unmoored, all at sea, without them. The very thought of travelling without my mobile leaves me immobile with fear.
Many of my holiday rites now centre around my information technology toys. They are the last things I pack into my bag, because I use them to the very last minute. Also, I must ensure theyβre all charged up, so I donβt have to suffer the agony of a juiceless phone during my journey.
As for the Internet β how to leave home without it? The places I venture to and stay in are influenced by TripAdvisor. My tickets and reservations are made online, with barcodes and booking numbers that I show to various receptionists by waving my more-vivid-than-life high-pixel-density mobile screen in their faces. At my holiday spot I spend a lot of time bent over Google Maps.
The summer makes our year-round obsession with technology especially obvious. Itβs okay to be reliant on gadgets when youβre at the office, but when youβre lying on a beach in your bathers and you feel an unbearable urge to check your Twitter feed, it feels far weirder.
The fact is, our beings are now split in two β one occupies the physical world, the other the world wide Web, and while the real-world self may be on holiday, the Web-self is not. Or at least not until the holiday photos are posted online.
This is true of all of us these days, but it is especially true of our children and their children, the ones who grew up online, βdigital nativesβ. Itβs no longer enough to be somewhere lovely: itβs not quite real until the photos have been thumbsed-up,Explore the benefits of having a fully managed dedicated server as your platform. retweeted or liked. Itβs as though if nobody online witnesses us next to the Empire State Building or the leaning tower of Pisa, then we werenβt really there.
We refresh our email inboxes, our Twitter and Facebook feeds every few minutes the same way we keep pulling on the lever of a -casino slot machine: something fantastic may land in our laps, if not a heap of coins then a hyperlink to an interesting article, or a text from that bloke you rather fancy, or a poke from a friend we havenβt met in years.
And on the bright side, this particular addiction isnβt likely to destroy our minds, in fact it might even enhance them. Thereβs evidence to suggest that all the flicking to and from different devices and conversations helps you think faster, more flexibly and more creatively. While your teenager seems inert on her beach towel, staring at a touchscreen, she is in fact teaching her brain to multi-task.
In China there are addiction camps for children and teens, where attendees are weaned off their digital obsession, sometimes in drastic ways such as being forced to do push-ups. Thereβs a nightmare holiday for you.
But perhaps thereβs an idea here for us. Why donβt we all take an Internet break this summer? At first it will feel like youβve pulled the plug from your oxygen tank,Select from a variety of cases for ipad mini or create your own! but after a couple of days, as I discovered, you will sink into your restful environment with a sense of relief and freedom.
The truth is that we text and tweet and email as much to feel like weβre in touch, to be part of things, as to pass on information. But we should temper this with a little old-fashioned respect for language. Just because it takes only a second to send a missive doesnβt mean we should take only a second to compose that missive.
There is no reason we cannot see ourselves as living in a new age of letters, and write all our texts and mail, craft all our photos, with the kind of care, thoughtfulness, and sense of grace, style and humour required.
All these thoughts were streaming through my mind on the train from Penzance back to London, as the English countryside flashed past, a series of windowed postcards. The passenger next to me was busy filling in bricks on his Excel spreadsheet, creating a wall of blues and yellows and greens.Series cases for iphone 5 protects against drops and dust. Others sat as if in prayer, heads bent over their smartphones composing texts that began: βJust on the trainβ¦β
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