Greenhouse Canada

A PDA/phone challenge

September 3, 2009  By Dave Harrison

Sept. 3, 2009 — Here’s an interesting challenge? How long can you go (not counting during sleep!) without
checking or communicating with your PDA (personal digital assistant) or cell phone?

Sept. 3, 2009 — Here’s an interesting challenge?


How long can you go (not counting during sleep) without
checking or communicating with your PDA (personal digital assistant) or cell phone?

For some users, the need to constantly monitor and respond
to their cell phones is a hard habit to break. I’ve been in restaurants, Tim
Hortons lineups, new variety trials, conference seminars, sports events, movie theatres, and at family events where someone is constantly
reading or replying to a text message, or taking a call. Or a "tweet."

I attended a Remembrance Day service a few years ago, and
during the solemn Minute’s Silence that asks only that we take a few moments to
collectively remember the sacrifices made by so many so many years ago, a cell
phone rang out in the hall. Initially, most of us in attendance would have felt
sorry for someone who we assumed would have been quite embarrassed as he
fumbled to turn off his phone. However, our sentiments soon turned to
bewilderment as the person with the phone then proceeded to have a conversation.

During this year’s Ohio Short Course, moderators constantly
reminded delegates to turn off their phones. One moderator said they have a bucket of
water at the back of the hall where all ringing phones would be deposited for
“safekeeping.” Another said those taking calls would be asked to give $5 to
each person seated around them. It was all light-hearted banter, but the
message was clear. There’s a time and a place for PDA usage, and a seminar –
for which delegates have paid a fair coin – isn’t one of them.

These devices are keen business tools, no doubt. They’re
essential during business hours. But even on coffee or lunch breaks? Egads,
they’re even used on … golf courses! (Though taking a call while a playing partner is putting for birdie would probably be considered bad form…)

But do you always turn them off during family or leisure
activities? Do you take your PDA on vacations? Can you turn them off while on break or at lunch?

A recent Associated Press article addressed the topic of cell
phone interruptions and constant monitoring.

“Wednesday nights in Atlanta’s
Buckhead neighbourhood offer a solution, Neo: Unplugged. The experience at Neo,
the restaurant housed at The Mansion on Peachtree: A Rosewood Hotel and
Residence, requires diners to relinquish their phones and PDAs to the maitre’d.
The premise is that the very thing that keeps us in constant connection is
keeping us disconnected from what is really important: our friends, our significant
others, our lives.”

One couple who have been married for
some 36 years were quoted as saying the experience has been especially
positive. No more calls from family members during their visits to the
restaurant. “Her family calls her incessantly,” said the husband. “I wanted to
throw their cell phones away.”

The article said the couple “settled
for ditching theirs for a few hours and found the other form of PDA – smiling
and laughing together, looking into each other’s eyes, holding hands. “We’re
just getting to know each other,’’ the husband was quoted as saying. “It’s a
remarkable thing.”

So… how long can you go without checking your PDA?

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