Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Gadgets have changed our lives!

Today, more than ever, we have become dependent on gadgets so much so that we feel helpless without them! The moot question is whether we can really do without them, and the best way to analyse this is by asking ourselves whether these gadgets existed twenty or thirty years ago, and if they didn’t, then how did we manage without them, how did life go on without them? These questions lead us to the first gadget that has changed our lives so much!
Perhaps one gadget that has changed our lives the most is the mobile phone or the cell-phone. In terms of versatility it is taking on so many roles that it has just become an essential part of our lives. Besides being a device for communication, it has taken on the role of a mini computer, an internet device, a calculator, a storage device, a GPS device, a radio, a compass, and last but not least, a device for taking photographs and videos! So many functions and roles in one device make the mobile phone versatile no doubt! I guess, this is the reason why very soon we will have to stop calling this device a phone because it is much more than that; perhaps we’ll call it the portal, robot, AI device or so on! Some safety experts claim that listening to music on head phones causes a lapse in concentration leading to accidents, not only in the case of drivers, but also in the case of pedestrians who are not able to hear warning sounds, horns or yells or perhaps even the sound of an approaching train! In any case, the cell phone has affected our lives so much, that our postures have changed so that we are perpetually bent slightly towards the right side since most of us hold the cell phone before our right ear! We text all the time, receive text and multi-media messages, and receive calls all the time even when we are not able to answer the call because of the sensitive situation! Aside from the physiological impact, the cell phone has a graver psychological impact. The presence of the phone with you all the time means that the boss, wife, girl friend, or even parents can check on you all the time. What it means is that the cell phone has in a way made inroads into our privacy. That space that was sacrosanct and acted as a buffer is now shrinking. All this has increased our anxiety levels, and made us short tempered, ever on a live fuse! At the sociological level also, the cell phone has lead to crimes, exploitation, and has lead to crimes related to extortion and black-mail, porn, and might have even have given a fillip to paedophilia! The cell phone has a strong psychological effect, it causes addiction and the only treatment is perhaps to go for a detox treatment where perhaps you go to a hill station for a week and leave behind your cell phone!
After the cell phone, the gadget that has changed our lives the most is the I-shuffle, the m.p.3 player, the I-Pod music players. We have become a generation of music lovers and it seems we can’t stop rapping or humming tunes. It surprises how a generation of music lovers is always on a live fuse, full of aggression and hostility in spite of the soothing influence of music! I even wonder why this society of music lovers is disintegrating into factions based on caste, creed, colour, race and religion! In any case, these music devices are versatile, light, can store a large number of songs, they are cheap, tough, durable, and give you good sound quality. Some of the upper end music devices like the Apple I-Pods are status symbols, and Uber-cool and it makes good sense to flaunt them! In yesteryears we had bulky spool tape recorders, cassette recorders, and record players, hardly portable, until Sony came up with the Sony Walkman! Today you get all the sound fidelity, style quotient, and value for money in an m.p.3 player or its more sophisticated brothers. The USB music player has pervaded our lives like no other music device did twenty or thirty years ago! And yes, some of these devices allow you to attach another set of headphones especially good if you have a girl-friend!
The Lap-Top now called fondly the lappy is unfortunately on its way out thanks to the tablet p.c., however it is still a favourite amongst young executives, young students, and professionals. It is as versatile as the cell phone, although less popular because of its bulk, size, and poor battery back-up as compared to the cell phone! In a world where compactness is the rule, the lap top has taken over from the desk top computer which is bulky, and has no portability! The versatility and portability of the lap top means that it is still a popular gadget, you can use it to call people as in a telephone, store data, view HD. Movies on a wider screen than on a cell phone, do complex calculations, record movies, and stills on the integrated web cam, listen to music, log on to the internet, use it as a type writer, use it as a GPS device, gaming console, listen to music, and of course flaunt it in front of your friends!The lappie continues to be uber cool, a style quotient, and an important part of our lives. Yes, it has its own psychological and physiological impact. Repetitive use of the key-board causes back pain, pain and stiffness in the wrists, poor posture as a result of being hunched over the key-board, failing eye-sight and obesity! The psychological impact of the Lappie is very much similar to that of the cell phone. It is addictive, you become addicted to the net, a compulsive chatter, and could be addicted to forbidden sites on the internet. The sociological impact of the lappie or net book is similar to that of the cell phone. Stuff store on the lappie might be used for black mail. Similarly the laptop might be used to hack other computers on the internet. It might even be used for phishing or to disseminate various viruses and Trojan worms on a worldwide net work!
The fourth most important gadget today is the tablet p.c. These include the I-Pad,  including those manufactured by popular cell phone brands like Motorola, and Samsung. Today the Akash Tablet P.C. manufactured by Ubislate is making waves throughout the country as the cheapest tablet P.C. available in the country. It retails for around Rs. 2500/- for students, and about Rs.3800/- for other buyers. All tablet P.Cs. come with a capacitive touchscreen with an integrated qwerty key pad doing away with the need for a bulky key-board. Tablets have a neat form factor, they are easy to carry, and will become versatile once the internal memory is enhanced! Till then however, tablets will be merely a fashion statement! Like the Cell phone and the laptop, tablets might also lead to addiction to the internet, like watching forbidden sites, chatting, logging on to social networking sites, obesity resulting from sitting for long hours in one position. The psychological impact of the lap-top and the tablet P.C. could lead to increase of hypertension resulting from increased levels of anxiety, lack of confidence, and poor self actualisation!
Although many more gadgets rule our lives today, the three most important gadgets are the cell phone, the M.P.3 music device, the lap top, and the tablet P.C. Other devices include the digital camera, remote control devices, storage devices, and display devices like LCD, Plasma, and LED T.V.sets. We have become more obese, lazy, and rather short tempered because of our dependence on all these devices. More and more time is spent  browsing the internet, chatting, texting surfing the channels on cable t.v. and listening to music that we have become a rather unhealthy generation! The moot question is whether we can’t really do without these gadgets, and that perhaps the need for most of these gadgets is an artificial need resulting from a desire to conform to popular social trends and the the desire to impress our peer members!

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