Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monastic Cloister as "Sensory-Deprivation Tank?"

I rarely read the news. Here is one reason. I can't figure out what they are talking about half the time. This from the front page of the Tribune's Business section:

"Starting Wednesday, T-Mobile will roll out a consumer version of the T-Mobile hot spots found at coffee shops and airports across the country. But this service also comes with a phone that allows users to make free calls from a Wi-Fi hot spot...'This is not about sizzle' like the iPhone [sic], said Michael Gartenberg...'This is about telephony.'"

Say what?

Well, at least now I know why I can't find any payphones in my too-frequent trips through airports, not to mention coffeeshops. I've heard of Wi-Fi, but I haven't the faintest idea what it is. I assumed it was some kind of new record player and stereo set-up, but it's a phone?

My puzzlement was given some context by the article just below, in which it is stated,
"Unless you've been in a sensory-deprivation tank for six months, you already know what the iPhone is."

---I'm thinking: it's a phone?

'a tiny, gorgeous hand-held computer...[that] has room for about...1,825 songs [!]'

--I'd ask why it's called a phone if it's a computer (or a stereo?), but then, I guess I've been in a sensory-deprivation tank for the past ten years.


Anonymous said...

Father Peter:

"Wi-fi" is short for "wireless fidelity" - think electronic communication sola fide. Wi-fi allows persons to pass the time in Starbucks surfing the web on their laptop computers, a solitary practice that should be banned from any establishment aspiring to the status of coffee house.


Edith OSB said...

I laughed out loud at your post, having just the day before tried to understand a National Public Radio review of the iPhone, and gave up with the thought, I don't need one anyway.

It is amazing how quickly a person becomes used to using things we did perfectly well without. I had told my monastery I would just pick up phone messages from our answering system on my current journey - only to discover that there was no service in Belle Fourche, SD for the cell phone they issued to me.

Still, I disagree with the T-Mobile spokesman quoted in your article. It's not about telephony. It's about never being present to only one person or task.

Watcher said...

Don't feel bad - it took me a long time to learn what "bling bling" was. I don't think cell phones are totally useless; they are quite handy when one's car breaks down on the road. Unless you're in a "dead zone", of course ;-)


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