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Hal Licino

The Primary Reasons The Mobile Lifestyle Is Irrational

May 03 2013, 06:00 AM by

The traditional fairy tale story of the Emperor with no clothes seems to have disturbing echoes in the mobile revolution. The various fundamental paradigms which have been universally accepted by the hundreds of millions of people who happily cart their devices with them everywhere they go so that they may engage in the always-online lifestyle are essentially incoherent. This may seem like a slap in the face to the prevailing conventional wisdom, but let’s look at some of the basic processes involved in web-enabled mobility to determine just how skewed the entire archetype really is.
Type with your least dexterous digit
If an ergonomics expert was to design the most awkward and dysfunctional manner to use your digits to enter data, it would have to be holding a device while tapping with your thumbs. The thumb has the lowest dexterity capacity of any other digit, and that is why back in the mid-19th century the inventors of our QWERTY keyboards allocated the thumb only to the humble task of smacking a big space bar. So we relegate the truly dexterous digits to a frozen position doing nothing more than acting as a holder while the klutzy thumbs enter the latest gossip about Aunt Beryl and the pool boy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this procedure is thoroughly obtuse.
Type at all
Unless you are paying through the nose for an unlimited voice and text plan on your mobile phone, you’re likely paying about as much for a text as you do for a voice call of a minute or less. Therefore the question is, why are you typing out that Aunt Beryl gossip in the first place? Even the world champion thumb typers can’t enter data as fast as you can speak it, so just hit speed dial and say what you have to say. Although the technology enabling the delivery of voice soundbites in a manner effectively identical to texting has been around for many years, you’ll be hard pressed to find it anywhere. Is it a conspiracy by the evil Illuminati who seek to create a population with dislocated thumbs?
Squint to watch micromovies
Now let me get this straight. I’m going to pay six bucks to watch a $200 million dollar motion picture designed for IMAX or a huge Cineplex screen scrunched down to fit onto a 4 inch display? Now why would anyone in their right mind want to do that? Unless you’re goofing off on the job and think your boss won’t peek into your cubicle and see you hunkered over your phone like you were replacing the auto winder planet gear on a Rolex, there are precious few justifications to ever handicap your enjoyment of an epic entertainment with such Lilliputian scaling.
Stalk me, please!
As countless suspicious partners of cheating spouses have discovered, mobile technology is the best invention of the century when it comes to busting a surreptitious romance. You can be tracked literally everywhere you go, and if you’re silly enough to check-in to gain Foursquare-Brownie-Points when you’re treating your bit-on-the-side to dinner, you might as well just sign over half to your spouse by the time the appetizers arrive.
Do you have any idea where you’re going?
It’s one thing to use mobile navigation services the first time you’re in a strange new town, but if you don’t have a clue where you’re going in your own city, you shouldn’t be driving anywhere… or walking for that matter. When did we all get so dense that we need a little plastic box to tell us where the nearest McDonalds is? What happened to just looking up from your mobile web engrossment and looking down the block to see the golden arches? Or… gasp… actually opening your mouth to talk to another human being and ask them where it is? Of course that would require direct face to face personal interaction and that concept is as alien to the mobile user as vacationing on Venus.

Perhaps the day when we shall all be equipped with Google Glass will end these irrationalities… or it may not!

Posted in Tech Editorial

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