26 May 2012

#5 Journal Entry - Mobile Devices

- How indispensable are mobile computing devices in your life? Are they an "extension" of who you are?

I go no where without my cell phone. I may not use it often, but it is a huge comfort to know that I can always call for help if (when) I need it. Also, the school where I teach doesn't have an intercom system. If I need assistance, I pull out my cell phone and call the office or person I need. Another comfort is that my school has an emergency system set up to send a text message if there is an emergency on campus. Our campus is so large, that a text message would definitely spread the word much faster than word of mouth or email. Email wouldn't work for me when I'm in class anyway, because I'm rarely logged in and reading emails during class. I plan on buying an iphone soon. I imagine that my cell phone will become much more than just a phone for me at that point, but right now, with my old little cell phone, it gives me the ability to call for help, in matters great or small, whenever and wherever I need it.

- How can mobile computing devices be used in disadvantaged or underdeveloped environments?

I have a friend from Haiti and another from Jamaica. Neither friend comes from very good areas of either country. My friend from Haiti has told me how the electricty never runs 24 hours in a day, so you couldn't plan on getting online at a certain time nor plan on having refrigerated food, unless you had a generator. My friend from Jamaica was so poor, that he, nor anyone in his neighborhood, could afford a computer. And yet both of these friends have told me how so many people have 3G phones. That's how they get online and stay connected in areas where people can't afford a computer or afford the generator to make the electricity to run the computer. When Haiti suffered the recent, terrible, earthquakes, my friend immediately started calling his friends and family. One family member he couldn't reach, but knew he was ok, because the family member had posted something to facebook. I asked my friend how he could post something online when there certainly wasn't electricity. My friend enlightened me about how most people had 3G phones because it was the only way they could have access to the internet. I was simply amazed. 3G phones are a relatively cheap, easy way for poor or underdeveloped areas to have access to the internet and to stay in touch with each other. My friend from Jamaica confirmed it. His friends and relatives all had 3G phones for the same reason - no one could afford a computer.

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