27 July 2007

Results and Post Script

I'm sure you all have been on the edge of your seat, waiting for the results of this extremely scientific survey. Wait no more; the results are in:

5% It's important to keep up with the latest developments.
78% I recognize the importance of technological advances but I don't need the hottest gadget.
15% I have what I need to get by.
0% What's wrong with the typewriter and payphone?

Most of us are in the middle, as you would probably expect. While very few of us are lining up to pay $500 for the iPhone, most of us probably do, in fact, have some sort of cell phone. Most of us are trying to keep up with what's out there, what's new, what's popular, but always in the back of our minds, what's practical, what can I afford, what do I really need?

This brings me to my post script: In a conversation with friends last night about technology, the observation was made that more technology doesn't always equal an easier, simplified, more organized life. In fact, none of us knew of anyone whose life was simpler because of more gadgets. After all, don't we end up with more things to repair? More software to update? More systems to upgrade? More email programs to synchronize? More applications to learn? More information stored in multiple places? I'm not saying that technology is never worth some of these hassles. Rather, we need to decide for ourselves which technology is truly beneficial for us, and which is simply peripheral. And I think this explains why the majority of us find ourselves in that second category. We want to be aware of technological advances, but we are constantly filtering out what we deem to be unfavorable for us. Again, we are trying to find that balance between being accessible and productive, and being... well... human.

20 July 2007


As a follow-up to the previous post (and really because I want to test out this new polling feature), please see the poll to the left and participate as you feel so led. The poll will close at noon next Friday, July 27th. I will be sure to post some resulting conclusions. Thanks!

19 July 2007

Phones and Wizards

Within several weeks of each other, two of the most coveted consumer items in the world will have descended on the market: Apple's iPhone and the final installment of Harry Potter. Indeed, people auctioned off themselves to stand in long lines to purchase the iPhone for the highest bidder. I heard of a going rate of $500 on eBay. And at 12:01 am on July 21, 2007, I imagine a similar caliber of lines will form to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This book has resulted in an unprecedented initial print run of 12 million copies, and retailers are reporting more orders for this book than any other in history. Hats off to Ms. Rowling.

What is incredible to me about these two products is the universality of their
appeal. These are not, by any means, exclusively American phenomenons. These products have reached many corners of the earth and are desired by many many people, of many countries, cultures and ages. I cannot imagine what it would be like to create and develop a product that has such a universal human appeal. Cha-ching. Of course, at least in Apple's case, it is not just Apple, Inc. that benefits. Within hours of the iPhone appearing on the shelves, opportunists/wise investors had already disassembled the phone to discover which companies had manufactured its parts. Who doesn't want to rise with the tide?

I find it very interesting that one product has maximized technology to connect with the world in a revolutionary way--anything and everything you could possibly need is literally at your fingertips--while the other product has been extremely successful at allowing people to escape from the world (albeit to enter a completely different one). What does this mean? Nothing, perhaps. But I can't help but think that we are in a limbo that we don't know how to negotiate. To one extent, we are enamored by new technology, always looking for the newest device that will deliver the utmost convenience and accessibility. To the other extent, we desire to escape from it all, to become less available. So what do we do? We bring our cell phones on vacation.

I herald the talent of those behind these products. Technology is good and important. Fictional literature is good and important. Both are necessary. They address different needs and longings of our souls. However, I think we will need to be increasingly judicious in negotiating the line between being wholly connected and accessible and preserving the human need to be unavailable.

10 July 2007

Outdoor Living

With summer comes the desire and opportunity to revive a tired, sometimes frustrated (at least in Chicago) relationship with the outdoors. This past weekend we brought some life to our back porch. Even in the 90 degree heat, we enjoyed hand choosing, planting and watering our new flowers and tomato plants. We were fortunate to also find some good deals on a new table and umbrella to complete what now seems like an additional room to our apartment. We love being out there any chance we get. And each time, we are reminded of how much God has blessed us... to be with each other, to enjoy our neighborhood, to be surrounded by life (ok, and brick).

03 July 2007

Family Ties

Andrew and I spent a nice long weekend in Connecticut visiting family, meeting little Alexander and just catching up. It is such a blessing to have times in life with no agenda... no to dos... no appointments. Just time to be with each other and be ourselves. Many thanks to everyone for graciously welcoming us home. As you will see, most of the pictures are of our dear nephew and niece. And oh yeah, some crazy guys went fishing...