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January 28, 2010

The Devil in My Ear

The Devil in My Ear

by Nancy     Go to fullsize image

  I have gone over to the dark side.  Last week, my daughter Sarah helped me buy a new cell phone, and when I finally pulled out my credit card, the salesboy announced—with a distinct gleam in his eye since it had taken forever to select the damn thing---that the new phone required an additional $10-a-month charge for internet service.

 

  Tell me, don’t you think a fancy phone that they’ll put into your hands for free is like a juicy apple dangling from a tree in Eden?  Yes, it’s free, but they’ll charge me an additional $10 a month to use it the way it was intended.  The way I really wan to use it, even though I know it's very bad to spend even my time away from the home computer doing home computer stuff.

 

  I definitely smell brimstone.

 

  In the store, I was torn.  On one hand, who doesn’t want access to e-mail and Facebook and The Food Network 24/7?  And on the other hand, who wants access to e-mail and Facebook and The Food Network at every hour of the day or night, including movie theaters, in heavy traffic and at bookstores during the 20-minutes a tour-weary author tries valiantly to entertain a small, but restless audience? Who really needs constant and immediate communication with the world?

 

  What tipped me over the edge was that Sarah had already given up almost 4 hours of her day off to help me change my service program (we finally figured out that we could cut our respective bills nearly in half if we officially became Friends and Family) and I didn’t feel I could ask her to stick around another hour to help me choose a different phone.  So we left with the devil in my pocket.

 

Over the weekend, I “practiced.” In the car, on the way to visit my daughter Cassie, her husband and my grandson Bobby, I learned how to surf the web and obsessively check my e-mail every 5 miles.

 

Turns out, checking e-mail has become the most common way most of us waste precious time.  My local newspaper says as a result, Martha Egan, an executive coach from Reading, PA, has declared this week “Clean Out Your InBox Week.” 

She says, “Email has become the biggest interrupter of the universe.”  Her further point is that most of us don’t notice the tiny increments of time we spend checking email.

 

For me, a writer whose livelihood depends upon using my time wisely—eat, sleep, write, and certainly not in that order during Deadline Madness—I must carefully monitor how I spend every minute.  Martha Egan says I should check my e-mail only five times a day.  (Actually, she says two times a day is sufficient for most of us, but she’ll allow us five.  It’s kinda like cutting back on cigarettes, I think.) And she advocates cleaning new mail out of the In-Box immediately upon opening it the first time so as not to waste further time with it later.

 

She says most of us read and re-read an e-mail seven times before we finally do something about it.  I didn’t believe her, but I started keeping track, and now I think she’s right. Sure, in one click I can delete an author newsletter (especially those authors who have put me on their mailing list without asking my permission—that takes chutzpah, right?) and those listserves that are nothing but happy birthday wishes and good-luck-with-your-gall-bladder hugs. But an email from my publicist or editor requires a couple of readings—okay, maybe five on a bad day—before I decide exactly how I should respond.  I’ve had a request for an ARC of OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION in my In-box since Friday but I haven’t answered it because I don’t have anymore ARCs and neither does my publisher or my agent. But I’m afraid to tell this person, so I keep reading the email over and over, deciding what to do about it.

 

This week I’m trying to change my habits.  No more checking of e-mail every five minutes.  No more Facebook newsfeed update running constantly.  No more----egad!—checking the TLC comments every hour.  No, I’m trying to become a more efficient person again.  I have a book to write.

 

You know what really brought the point home to me? I realized the time I spend checking Facebook and e-mail is time I used to spend reading.  I have 3 months of unread New Yorkers piled up around here, and my TBR pile gets bigger every day.  I’m not reading as much as I used to! Which, for anyone, but especially a writer, is Very Bad.

 

And the thing is? I bet I’m not as indispensible to my friends as I think I am.  My children also managed to survive the first day of kindergarten and all the agony of junior high and their freshman years in college, not to mention the first year of law school without constant communication with the Mother Ship, so maybe it’s me who’s trying too hard now that they’re adults?

 

But cutting the cord is a challenge.  Especially with my new cell phone.  What a delightful toy!  I want to play with it all the time.  But that’s the problem.—It’s a time waster.

 

Back to work. After all, I must save up enoug time to watch Lying to be Perfect on Lifetime this weekend!  Go to fullsize image

 

(and Happy Birthday wishes to Miz Harley Jane today!)

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Comments

Hear, Hear, Nancy! I've gotten to the point that business email gets an Auto-Reply saying it's checked every 24 hours, if this is time sensitive, contact via telephone. (If they have my email, they have my office number. OFFICE number, very few on the planet have my cell phone.)

Personal email comes and goes. If there's nothing going on and I'm at my desk, I'll usually respond right away. If I'm not at my desk, it can wait until I get home.

Just upgraded to a cell phone with a keyboard. Turned off Texting, refused Net Access, don't browse the Web with it. In some ways, I'm still a Luddite, I guess. It's a PHONE, fer crissakes, not an extension of my desk.

Enough of that. More important stuff today. Such as:

Happy Birthday, Harley!

Just curious, William; if you have no need of a keyboard on your phone, why did you choose that model? I'd have a Droid in my hot little hands right this minute, except I'm the same way, no texting, no Net access on the stupid phone. That way lies obsession. Everyone I know who has one of those phones is constantly and permanently attached to the durn thing.

Years ago, when PDAs first came out, I predicted that we'd someday have phone, Internet access, calendar, and address books all in one wireless gadget. Wish I'd bought stock in Apple and some other companies back then. C'est la vie. That's no worse than throwing away a second place winning lottery ticket, I guess (yes, it was worth about $100,000. Duh.)

Nancy, I love "salesboy". Woot.

Happy, happy birthday, Harley! Here's wishing a fantastic year for you, and a drama-free day with the kids.

I must admit, Karen, I'd have bought a Droid except I couldn't see that damn small keyboard. I bought the Chocolate phone because the screen turns sideways like the iPhone and makes the keyboard big enough for me to see! I do text---mostly to my daughter who sometimes works the night shift, and I don't want to wake her at home or bother her at work with a ringing phone call.

The trick is moderation, right?

But yeterday's announcement of the iPad really turns me on. To be able to read the newspapers anywhere---that's golden. And magazines, too. Wonder if they'll have access to The New Yorker and Vanity Fair? Oh, joy! I may have to spring for one of those gizmos!

Hey Karen. Good question..:) This was the free "upgrade" model Sprint gave me.....

As a professional fiction writer (i.e.: I have no life) I find most modern technologies and devices annoying. This would include electric typewriters, any phone without a rotary dial, mechanical pencils, felt markers, Velcro and pretty much anything with the word “digital” in it. The modern things I used to hate the most were fax machines and overnight mail. For a serial procrastinator they gave me a few extra days to “polish” my manuscript. Of course, in my case, the difference between “polishing” and “taking a nap” is often difficult to distinguish.

Then from the fifth circle of hell came email. Now I get the testy call from my editor wanting to stay on the phone while I email the most recent draft. Why is she so cranky? I was the one who got woken up.

Ha, there are so many jokes about the iPad's unfortunate name. So many jokes. Clearly, Apple needs more women on their design team.

It's an expensive toy, I think, compared to a Netbook, which can have all the same features, but is at least $200 cheaper. You can still read any eBook on any PC, did you know that? Kindle software is available for free download, as is other software. And Verizon, at least, has one that comes with Internet access built in. I'm not sure what Apple was thinking, and why they're trying to say this is so innovative. Except for the size, and the fact that it has no cover or keyboard, which in my opinion is a negative. We should be consolidating our gadgets, not segregating them, at this point.

I got my fancy phone for the camera because I'm always wanting to remember something I've seen that I might need to describe in a book, and I wasn't keeping a camera with me. It does all the other stuff, but aside from being able to check email if I'm in a hotel that charges an arm and leg for Internet access, I figure why use that teeny screen. 90% of my day is spent at the computer, or a room away from it, so it's much easier to use the 'big boys.' But yeah, I pay for the privilege of being able to check email or text on those rare occasions when it's the easiest way to communicate.

Nancy, We heard about the cell phone company's new ploy to milk us out of more money. Turns out, any new web-ready phone you buy and try to activate as of last Tuesday will cost you $10 more PER MONTH - even if you don't want the web service. That's almost all of their phone except the very basic ones...

Nancy, please make sure you check your web usage and what that $10 allows. I've heard that you only have so much time each month available with this extra service, then they start hitting you with more fees if you go over...

I'm going to give the company up here, because they've ticked me off. I could have got the phone I wanted 2 weeks ago, but now I will have to get a basic phone, because I refuse to pay this extra charge. I feel like a hostage. My company's name starts with a V....

Janetlynn, that's exactly the predicament I found myself in. I took the $10 charge after they offered the phone for free. I wanted it, even though I knew I shouldn't have it! Hence the deal with the devil . . . .

Rod, it's so nice to see you here--and making comments, too! You've really joined the new century.

After years on the f&f plan with the Big V, my husband and I changed to Trac phones last July. I just couldn't see the sense of paying month after month for minutes I wasn't even using. $29.99 for the phone which gives us BOGO minutes every time we add minutes. I've only used the phone for 600 minutes the entire time I've had it. I don't text, do videos or pictures. I hate the phone itself after having the huge screen, wonderful reception, clear sound, and long battery life of the razer (sp), but I hate wasting money.

When we were on "The Plan" my husband hardly used his phone. Now he uses it four times as much as me and he texts which I still can't believe. My daughter, slave to anything technological, stayed with V and got herself a Blackberry, but I think its a waste of her money since the phone isn't charged or on most of the time.

I'm still old school and think that the best use for a phone is to actually talk to a person.

Nancy:

It was too early for my nap and the deadline for the next book isn't until the end of the month...

Rod

Dancin' with the Devil -- for sure!! I upgraded to a phone with a QWERTY keyboard because I use texting a lot with my daughters and hubby. We already had an everything plan, so there wasn't an extra cost there.

What is sucking me into the vortex is the fun games you can get and play on your phone. It just sucks the time right out of you. And as Nancy so clearly pointed out, the thing that suffers is reading.

I usually go to the library once a week, but lately I've been having to renew books that I've already had for almost three weeks. Part of the problem is I've read all the TLC authors past and current offerings and am waiting for the new stuff to be published, but still, this little square phone is going to be the death of me unless I go cold turkey and just use it for calls and texts.

Happy Birthday to Harley Jane. The Raptor Center in Minnesota is releasing an eagle they named Harley on Saturday. The eagle got a great name.

Early Happy Birthday to Harley Jane!!!

I got a new phone this past fall..a Blackberry Storm and yep, had to pay extra for a "data plan" which did not include text messages! Does that make sense? Not to me. Cost me an extra $5 for texting. Sigh. While the Storm is okay, it still doesn't work as well as iPhone, which I refuse to get because I won't go to AT&T.

Years ago, we had the chance to invest in cable TV. Seemed like a big step, so we didn't take it. But, man, cable TV and now telephone service is a license to print money.

CHeck my email only five times a day. Sigh. That actually sounds wonderful. It would be such a relief, you know, to just ignore it? But there's always that hovering litttle possibility that something wonderful might be waiting there.
And, just often enough to feed the addiction, there is.
Gotta go, checking email..
xoxo

But my phoine is just a dumb little phone. You can make calls, and text. But it doesn't have a keyboard.Imagine that.

I really truly lust after a phone like yours, Nancy, but I know I would never be able to resist checking my email.
Somebody stop me.

We wouldst be more digital, but our digitance are too wide for most keyboards. Pauletta helps us wit such tings (damnright, yinz bozos, and don'yufuhgeddit!)

Happy birthday, Miz Harley!

Thanks for the birthday greetings, all!

Nancy, this is really hitting home. I have the world's oldest, stupidest cell phone, and I love it. It does nothing, it's cheap, the keys are even falling off, I don't care.

Okay, I really really really want to try this Check e-mail Only 5 Times a Day and then work on getting it down to twice a day. It sounds like a new diet. But I get actually angry at e-mail and how fast it piles up. e-mail liberation! Yes! Yes! Yes!

For my birthday, I'm taking all three kids to the dentist after school. Then we're eating at Chipotle, which Nancie the Gun Tart got them hooked on. No cooking or cleaning the kitchen tonight is the best birthday gift I can think of!

Happy Birthday, Harley!!!!

LOL!!! Now, if we had had this conversation the other week? Well, ummm, I just got a new cellphone. I am still boycotting V, so stayed with AT&T and got the iPhone. Had to call Laura (in Pa) first for her input. Considering her "you couldn't pry it outta my cold dead hands" literally....I went for it.

OMG. Love it. Love the free apps. Hate that I forgot to migrate my photos over, so now have to beg the guy at the store to show me how as I cant get my old phone recognized by my computer to do a download. *sigh*

Oh come now, think of all the time-sucky things you could be doing that are BAD: drinking, gambling, eating homemade pizza, watching re-runs of football games, sleeping with John Edwards....See, a little obsessive email checking never hurt anyone.

Just call me The Enabler.

Scratch that--don't call me. Email me.

Happy Birthday, Blond Bond Sister.

Soooo....Harley that sounds like a great present! As we say in Miami Felicidades!
True confessions. I turn my computer on in the morning, check and delete or forward, do my correspondence, read TLC and turn it off.
If I need to print or copy something I only use the printer.
I have a piggyback cell phone on an old boyfriend's plan. It rings and I call out on it if it's a long distance number or I'm not home. I use the address book. That is all.
So basically it's the same reason I was given a brick phone 20 years ago. In case I have an emergency. (Except this little Nokia is on all the time and charged all the time. I only turn it off in the theatre, movies and church.)
I remember having a beeper so when someone wanted to contact me they'd beep me and them I'd turn the brick on and call them back.
Call me old fashioned but I still believe that televisions and sound equipment, like computers and cell phones today, come with the boyfriends.
Just saying!

You are ALL enablers today. Especially Debby---you evil thing. And Harley, Chipotle sounds like heaven right now. No cooking, no dishes.

But John Edwards? Erg. Maybe we should all send him text messages that he'd have to spend hours reading? Harldy a suitable punishment, I suppose, but it's the best we can do from a distance.

For Harley Jane Kozak:

Happy birthday to you!
Wollie has nothing on you!
Happy Birthday Dear Harley,
You still look thirty-two!

I love the e-mail advice. College students these days e-mail 24/7/365, and seem to expect a maximum 30 minute turnaround (OK, that's an exaggeration. I've only had 1 student that bad - only she was worse, e-mailing 6 times in 30 minutes). Now, 24/7 e-mail wouldn't be all that bad, except that a LOT of students contact me. My personal best so far was 100 e-mails sent (doesn't count read and erased, or read and not responded to) in 1 day.

This semester, I am working on setting better boundaries at work, and a huge part of that is being less obsessive about e-mail. I still leave on time even if there's new mail in the inbox. I check it on weekends only to see if there are important messages from my boss (seldom happens; when it does, it's usually worth knowing about).

I've also given up facebook - still have the page, never look at it. I'd rather be reading.

I don't use my cell phone except for talking and minimal texting. My iPod Touch, though - now that's another issue :) I got the Barnes and Noble e-reader, and love being able to shop online and immediately download books. I find books perfectly easy and comfortable to read on it.

OK, time for real stuff - taking daughter to lunch :)

Lunch with your daughter, Kerry---light years better than texting, emailing or Facebooking!

Shhhh, don't tell but I don't have a cell phone.
Gasp, how do I survive?

Happy Birthday Harley, I hope the dentist appointment goes smooth and everyone enjoys dinner.

Say it proudly, Gaylin!

Hi. I'm Kathy and I'm an Apple Junkie.

I made the switch to Mac about 4 years ago and never looked back.

What is so great about the iPad? Just EVERYTHING. It's a laptop that weighs the same as a legal tablet. It has extended battery life. It's big enough that you can actually read e-mails without strain! I want one. Bad and now. Come and get me, devil, I'm ready.

However, the iPhone 4G is coming out soon and I want that too. Not even I can justify both even though I use them for work more than personal stuff. The biggest improvement with the 4G (for me) is the camera. My 3G has a camera but it's not so hot (I have the first generation 3G). I have gone from carrying a calendar (Franklin Planners, anyone?) an address book, a phone, CDs (that would be music for the totaltech) and a camera to ONE small device that fits in my pocket which also gives me access to e-mail and the internet. Life is good.

I use e-mail for work, so I'm checking it constantly during the day. Most of my clients have gone paperless when it comes to legal correspondence.

I will say that Facebook has cut my personal e-mails WAY down. Just saying in case anyone is wondering why I don't send stuff out all the time any more.

Happy Birthday, Harley!
I just picked up two of your novels this week after looking for weeks for some of your titles in the local bookstores.
I am already in trouble with spending so much time on my laptop so I don't need to go mobile.
The ipad...whatsup with that? We have a netbook that handles a lot of necessary programs. An accessory is necessary to turn the ipad into a phone. The iphone is amazing. During a trip to LA to see Mary Poppins and wandering the onee-way streets to find a restaurant my daughter called up places to dine on her iphone and voila! We ate an IHOP and were glad to find it. The GPS in my daughter's new car is frightening and I do not ever interrupt the lady in the little box that informs us constantly. No, not my daughter..Ms GPS.

I'll admit it's pretty cool that your phone can tell you where the restaurants are, how to get there, what's on the menu and--oh,yeah--make a reservation, too. Scary good.

Because I'm always plugged in, have you all heard that both J.D. Salinger and Louis Auchincloss died today?

Huge literary losses.

Posted this late yesterday for whoever (like me) missed NCIS
http://www.cbs.com/primetime/ncis/video/?pid=g0DXDyIfPzJJbSt6hf6cftQ0ayhZyCBa
I seem to be running behind the curve this week. OTOH, I will be telling stories tonight with two other tellers, and my CDs should arrive by UPS today -- I hope before I have to leave for the storytelling.

Yes, Ramona, I just heard this. I read Catcher in the Rye ten years ago after giving it to my husband as a Valentine's Day gift.
Condolences to his family and friends and prayers go out to all.

And Howard Zinn gone, too.

Are Ramona and I the only ones who read Auchincloss? Always intriguing.

They say these come in threes and this is a perfect morbid example. Of the trio I’d take Auchincloss in a heartbeat. I always thought Howard Zinn was a pompous self-hating buffoon and J.D. Salinger was brilliant but weird.

Auchincloss always reminded a bit of F. Scott Fitzgerald plus he created an impressive body of work. Looking at his style, you have to wonder if he were a new and aspiring novelist if he could get published in today’s market.

Happy Birthday, Harley! I have a very dear friend whose birthday is also today. Meanwhile, I'll celebrate mine tomorrow, as will Oprah Winfrey, who was born on the exact same date as me (we'll both be 56).

William, I'm another Luddite. I just want a phone, damn it, not another computer/camera/music player/whatever.

And that whole "be in touch with friends & family anytime, anywhere" thing? Who in their right minds wants that? Emergencies, ok, but calling me up just to talk about whatever? Hell no.

Great blog, Nancy! I love my iTouch, but I don't want the iPhone because it's too big and feels funny against my ear. Besides, why pay $30 extra a month (for iPhone through AT&T) when I'm rarely on the phone anyway.

also...

Happy Birthday, Harley! I hope it's a great one!

Whoa! Amazon getting really defensive towards the ipad. Reading device capabiltiy is the big issue..interesting to see how the wind will blow.

Happy Birthday, Harley!
I'm with Becky, sticking with my iPod touch for now (and addicted to the Stone Loops game). I wanted NOT to give any additional business with AT&T (though I hear other carriers for iPhone might soon be available) -- AT&T was the absolute WORST to deal with on the i.d. fraud situation.
BTW, I was trying to figure out the "i" in all these Apple names -- anyone know?

Kathy, I'm an Apple Junkie too, having made the conversion just a couple of years ago. My only issue with the iPad is that it doesn't seem to come with productivity software, so it's really just for entertainment and e-mail -- and my iPod Touch does all that just fine. That said, I'm still drooling over the pictures I've seen and chanting "no productivity software" to myself as a mantra to keep me from placing an advance order :)

Does it have word processing capability? I haven't seen that in the news yet. Even a notepad feature would be nice, if you're listening, Mr. Jobs.

Happy Birthday Harley. Have fun with your email, Nancy. Who said that we didn't know we how much we needed it until we had it? I am a luddite, use my phone for calling. and I love holding a "Book" in my hands. Besides, the eyes need the full size versions. As far as the "i" that Apple uses, Jobs introduced that for the first iMac the was defined as Internet ready, hence the "i." This came from an Apple tech services and support guy. Enjoy, everyone!

My cell phone is seldom used. Maybe I'm weird but I do NOT want to be connected to the world 24/7 365. I have an answering machine on my land line for when I'm not home. If it's important, I'll call back.

When I want to check my E-mail I turn on my computer. Mind you I said want, I don't feel a need to check it all the time.

Very few people have my cell phone number and since they know it is off most of the time they know better than to call me on it.

After seeing all the crap my friends have gone thru with contracts, overages blahblahblah, I'll stick with my Virgin Mobile. $45 amonth gives me 450 mins/daytime,
unlimited after 7pm & weekends. My daughter said she'd tell me how to use it for email/facebook/twitter, but I'm not that into it, use it for phone & occasional text.

Happy birthday Ms. Harley! enjoy being off kitchen duty.

Oh, thank you so much everyone -- and esp. you, my Blond Bond sister Ramona. And Rod! Poetry!

Oh, so sad. J.D. Salinger. How I loved that man's writing.

Must try Auchincloss. Which of his books do you afficionados recommend?

Harley:

For Auchincloss, I always liked the two “Tales of Manhattan” books; particularly “Skinny Island”. To me they are a cross between “The Great Gatsby” and anything by Tom Wolfe. I gave up on him years ago, a little dated and plodding for my tastes.

When I need a period NYC fix, I turn to the master, Rex Stout.

As for the poetry, it is now clear to all why I stick to fiction.


I just like to say "Auchincloss".

We have had Verizon for years, and the girls all had it, too. Until recently, when the two youngest signed up for plans with their boyfriends. So it is no longer free for me to talk with them, although their big sis is still in the same company. But hubby and I share 450 minutes a month and it would be a cold day in Hades before we ever went over, between us.

I still think a netbook is in my future, rather than any kind of reading device. Single use devices do not appeal. I have enough outdated electronic flotsam in my life.

OMG Story Teller Mary! Thank you so much for letting me watch NCIS. What do I know?
Too Cool Beans!
XOXOX

After spending the day getting informed I have come to the conclusion that I may be a semi-Luddite. I am not protesting new innovations but my wallet might be. Also I have learned that the ipad is the middle route to all the media devices. It's more than a Kindle DX but less than a netbook because program applications are limited. It looks like a wonderful entertainment device. ipad E-reading is subject to ten hour battery life versus two weeks on the Kindle but a card can be charged for easy change. I hope that is correct on my part.
I am getting older but this technology is thrusting my brain usage into high gear and I think that's a good thing. If price wars are coming I may get on the bandwagon.

I can't wait to get my hands on the iPad! My husband and I were going to buy each other an iTouch for Christmas. He got his and I wanted to see what Apple was going to introduce yesterday. With many of my textbooks for school becoming e-books, I think the iPad will be a blessing. BTW, I hate textbooks that are e-books. This is the first semester I've had one and I ended up printing all the chapters so I could read them when it fits my time schedule.

If it wasn't for the AT&T coverage, I would have an iPhone in a heartbeat. As it is I just have a simple cell phone. Last time, I got a new one I didn't even want a camera but you can't get them without it now.

Happy Birthday Harley!

Oh, yes you can Bev. Mine is new and has no camera.

I got dragged away from the computer earlier by two dogs who wanted to go out and forgot to wish you happy birthday, Harley. Happy Birthday!

Thanks, Lil for the iNformation . . .
I'm back safely from the storytelling -- we all had a great time and were well received! The "I Can" academic showcase displays the children did beforehand were wonderful!!
My phone, BTW, is Consumer Cellular through AAA, $22/month for more minutes than I ever use . . .

Xena, you are most welcome! My niece taught me about TV online -- you can find most shows by Googling or going to the network's site. Even kindergartners can surf the web now -- smart kids! At their age, I couldn't do any of that . . .

Happy Birthday, Harley! I miss Wollie! (Just re-read the last book.)

The main thing I use my smartphone for is to read TLC during the day (can't use the work computers for personal stuff). I can't post - Windows Mobile 6.1 doesn't seem to recognize the post comment box - but at least I can read it. :-)

I didn't get a cell phone until I was working between two locations and was having trouble getting phone calls from my gentleman friend, over 10 years ago. It's also great for calling home from hotel rooms while on trips. I don't give out my cell number except to close family and friends. I have a landline with answering machine for everything else.

I finally upgraded to a smartphone about a year ago, because I was tired of carrying my laptop on my occasional trips. I wanted to be able to check email (usually once per day), keep up with a few author blogs I read daily, and do my airline check-ins online 24 hours in advance. My HTC Touch Pro (US Cellular) works fine for nearly everything. I find I'm using the camera a lot, too. I'd have the phone with me anyway - now I leave the heavy laptop and the separate camera behind. Plus I can play Solitaire. :-)

Plus I love being able to Google things anywhere, anytime!

If I ever get an e-reader, I think it'll be the e-ink kind like the Sony reader or the Kindle. I think the non-backlit screen's resolution and appearance is most like a real book, and is easier on my eyes than backlit computer/phone screens. Older eyes get tired fast!

I'm sooo late to the party here; was reading the conversation while at my office, on my Droid, but a patient came in just as I was getting happily into the comments and wanting to reply to so many, especially wishing Harley a happy and wonderfully surprising birthday year! (Year of the Tiger is one of rapid change!) Love my Droid. It has its quirks, but it does so many things that I so much appreciate, I likely won't be returning to phone-only instruments. I'm now quite comfortably rationalizing the extra $30 per month, as I save at least that in convenience, in being able to check rapidly on locations of businesses, hours, prices, etc., etc., instead of my old way of just getting in the car and going to the shop, to find it closed, or to discover that the bargain I bought was cheaper elsewhere, etc.

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