Monday, August 23, 2010

Opposable Thumbs

for best results stick it in the fridge" Information label on Glacéau vitamin water

While e-mail was revolutionary for their parents, today's college freshmen find it terribly slow, instead choosing to use their opposable thumbs to send dozens of text messages a day on their smartphones, which they use for telling time rather than strapping on a watch and surfing the web. CNN report - E-mail is too slow and wristwatches are pointless for college freshmen

In Hunter-Gathering Blackberries last year I wrote about evolution and opposable thumbs.

Monkeys don't have opposable thumbs and so cannot easily hold objects in one hand. The evolution of opposable thumbs has lead to the advanced grasping-capable human hand, and in turn, to the ability to walk on two legs. I postulated that our opposable thumbs would evolve into longer, narrower, tentacle-like thumbs, as texting became more and more popular. That was last year.

Watching kids in the street, on the subway and buses I think it's already happening. How else are they able to text so quickly, using only their thumbs? I just can't do it. A thumb is fatter than a cell phone key. There must be something that I'm missing here.

I'm thinking of starting a new trend and using my little fingers to tap the key. Of course I'd have to hold the phone in a different way. Or perhaps I could hold the phone in one hand and use the index and little fingers of the other hand to tap away.

On the subject of technology, even though every week there seems to be a new development, there remains one area that is I think, neglected.

The area I'm thinking of is not under-developed for reasons technical. I'm sure it is possible. It must be being held back because of the vested interests of communication carriers - domestic telecommunication companies.

I'll be travelling to the UK soon and so I looked around for a solution that would enable me to take only my cell phone and iPad. My iPad does not have 3G as when I decided to buy it I could not see the need. I have a 3G cell phone, a Samsung Vibrant.

But when I go overseas, using it for email/internet is not viable as although I can access both, the costs are prohibitive. It'll be good for emergencies only.

So I surfed around to see my options. I could by a "dongle" - horrible word. Essentially a USB stick that you can use to connect to the net. But to get this service one has to have lived in the UK for three years AND have a credit card with a UK address. A bit silly for travellers from non-UK countries!

Then I could get a SIM card for my phone and use it for local calls and local data plan. Again I need to have lived in the UK for three years and to have a UK address on my credit card.

Not that it's any better the other way around. I found a Novaltel MiFi which gives you your own "hotspot" or wireless connectivity. It's not cheap - around $250 BUT - there's one for the US and one for Europe - why???? Apparently the European one works in the US, but not very well. So I called the distributor and asked for the meaning of "not very well". "Well, " she told me, "it doesn't work inside."

More promising was Huawei's MuFi - but unfortunately there state-of-the-art products are only available in Hong Kong.

Now obviously the technology is there. I cannot see any good reason as to why there cannot be a reasonably priced service for world travelers. Even an expensively-priced service would do ... IF it were available without having to have a three year residence in the country you are passing through.

No doubt it will come. I cannot imagine the teenage texters putting up with ATT&T or T-Mobile's global roaming.

But maybe they don't "roam". In fact why roam when you can experience all the joys of life chez vous.

Or can you?

1 comment:

Jaded NYer said...

Opposable Thumbs may become disposable thumbs due to carpel tunnel the way we are going.

Nuts what you have to put up with when travelling. Can you get 3G added to your iPad?

Sounds like the phone thing won't work.

or maybe you should go to jolly ole England have a few pints and just UNPLUG.

or take a laptop.

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