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we're living in a material world
you better get your iphone
by reem al-omari (@Reemawi)
pop culture

Since the 80s are back in style, let's just say that we are living in a material world, and gadgets are what's hot.

Everybody's wired. They've got their cell phones that can take pictures, record videos, play music and let you check your email. They've got their Ipods, with thousands of songs, videos and a vault of games. They've got their laptops which contain everything, and they don’t hesitate to say “My life is on there.”

I own a cell phone, Ipod Nano with two gigs and a laptop.

Each of these things serves a separate purpose for me.

The cell phone is there for me to use when I'm running late to meet someone (which is often), or if something happens on the way that merits an emergency.

The Ipod is there for portable entertainment purposes... it's by far my favorite gadget.

The laptop is there for me to write, manage my Ipod music, photos and Internet access.

I appreciate each of these devices for the convenience they provide me.

For instance, I couldn't enjoy hundreds of songs conveniently and easily at the gym without my Ipod. I couldn't go to Starbucks and have the convenience of what is basically a paperless typewriter, and be able to check my email at the same time without my laptop. I couldn't let those waiting for me somewhere know that I'm running late and to start ordering without me, without my cell phone.

I appreciate these things very much, but can I survive without these devices? Do I go into frenzy when I happen to leave the house without my cell phone? Do I feel geeky if I simply go to Starbucks with a pen and notebook, or even just a book to read with my cup of coffee and wait to check my email until I get home? Are my workouts less effective without over 450 songs available at my fingertips?

The answer is a big fat no to each and every single one of those questions. Albeit, my Nano does improve my workout experience a whole lot, and sure beats running on the treadmill while gripping a big bulky Discman in my sweaty hands.

I am aware that some people out there don't have the same view of these technologies being nothing more than luxuries like I do, but I've never been much of a materialistic person. It was long after the age of Netflix that I finally got a DVD player and discovered the DVD world, and I did not own an MP3 player until the second generation of Apple's Ipod came out and my sister felt generous one birthday.

I am what you could call, a technological simpleton at worst, and practical at best.

I will admit that I would love to own an actual Ipod—the real deal with 80 gigs and Bose speakers even to go with it. But my current Nano does the job of letting me listen to hours and hours of music, and $10 portable speakers serve the purpose of broadcasting opera while I'm cleaning.

I would love to own a Mac with all the cool video graphics and audio capabilities available on it. It looks cool and is the choice computer for anybody cool. But my current HP laptop does the job just fine.

Cell phones, I’m not so sure about. A phone is a phone is a phone is a phone is a phone. I treat my cell phone the same way I treat my phone at home, perhaps with less time spent on hold. That probably has something to do with the fact that I don’t particularly like being on the phone, and try to cut my conversations on my land line, as well as my cell phone as short as possible. I don’t feel the need to check my email, or take pictures, or record videos or even listen to music on my cell phone, because on top of my three most used gadgets, I own an awesome digital camera which takes awesome pics and videos. Besides, I don’t expect to do these things on my phone at home, and I don’t expect or want to do them on my cell phone, as I find it as silly as having a DVD player installed in a car; it might be cool to have all these luxuries, but it’s just plain silly.

Apple’s Iphone is the latest gadget turning heads and activating a slew of articles telling what's good or bad about long before its release on the market. Headlines speak of people standing in line for a week to be the first to get their hands on the long-awaited Iphone. The thing costs about $600 and plans start at $59.99. It is the Mercedes Benz, the mansion in the Italian countryside, the Marlon Brando of the gadget world.

After reading a few of the hundreds of articles, and watching the ads on television for the new Iphone, I find it to be a cool-looking gadget. It looks like something out of the Matrix, where you just sweep your finger across the screen and can do everything from sift through music, to zoom in on a New York Times article online, and answer a phonecall. It is a pretty cool gadget, no doubt. It’s small, attractive and easy to use and I’d love to own one one of these days... along with a Mercedes Benz, a mansion in the Italian countryside and an exact replica of Marlon Brando circa 1951-1965 for a husband.

In the meantime, I own a cell phone, Ipod Nano with two gigs and a laptop to get me through this rough gadget patch. All while I focus more on finding a young Marlon Brando.


Reem lives and writes about it. She thinks that's what writers do, anyway. If it's not, then she also has a degree in journalism under her belt, along with the titles of reporter, editor (in chief, even) and, of course, opinion columnist.

more about reem al-omari


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