Dating for the high-tech generation
vrealitybites

This Is How We Date Now

Jamie Varon


We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.

When we choose—if we commit—we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.

We soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.

And, even if we find it. Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.

Then, we see these other happy, shiny couples and we compare. We are The Emoji Generation. Choice Culture. The Comparison Generation. Measuring up. Good enough. The best. Never before have we had such an incredible cornucopia of markers for what it looks like to live the Best Life Possible. We input, input, input and soon find ourselves in despair. We’ll never be good enough, because what we’re trying to measure up to just does not fucking exist. These lives do not exist. These relationships do not exist. Yet, we can’t believe it. We see it with our own eyes. And, we want it. And, we will make ourselves miserable until we get it.

So, we break up. We break up because we’re not good enough, our lives aren’t good enough, our relationship isn’t good enough. We swipe, swipe, swipe, just a bit more on Tinder. We order someone up to our door just like a pizza. And, the cycle starts again. Emoji. “Good morning” text. Intimacy. Put down the phone. Couple selfie. Shiny, happy couple. Compare. Compare. Compare. The inevitable creeping in of latent, subtle dissatisfaction. The fights. “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is.” “This isn’t working.” “I need something more.” And, we break up. Another love lost. Another graveyard of shiny, happy couple selfies.

On to the next. Searching for the elusive more. The next fix. The next gratification. The next quick hit. Living our lives in 140 characters, 5 second snaps, frozen filtered images, four minute movies, attention here, attention there. More as an illusion. We worry about settling, all the while making ourselves suffer thinking that anything less than the shiny, happy filtered life we’ve been accustomed to is settling. What is settling? We don’t know, but we fucking don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, settling. If it’s not Pinterest-worthy, settling.

We realize that this more we want is a lie. We want phone calls. We want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of a phone screen. We want slowness. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived the fuck out of our lives. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet.

Yet, this is not how we date now. This is not how we love now.

"Look Up" - A spoken word film for an online generation
vrealitybites
By Gary Turk

Editor's note: I'm not a huge fan of the rhyming, but I understand the work, effort, time and artistry that it entails. But, I do love the message of the piece - it's what I've been trying to say all along!


I had no idea until now I was Louis C.K. fan!
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Louis C.K.'s Explanation of Why He Hates Smartphones Is Sad, Brilliant

Neetzan Zimmerman 9/20/13 10:05a



In a clarion call that will likely rival his insta-legendary "everything's amazing and nobody's happy" diatribe delivered nearly five years ago on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, comedian Louis C.K. explains — to Conan, once again — exactly why he dislikes the culture of smartphones and why he would never get one for his kids.

C.K. starts off by suggesting that smartphone usage is the reason kids today are meaner:



I think these things are toxic, especially for kids...they don't look at people when they talk to them and they don't build empathy. You know, kids are mean, and it's 'cause they're trying it out. They look at a kid and they go, 'you're fat,' and then they see the kid's face scrunch up and they go, 'oh, that doesn't feel good to make a person do that.' But they got to start with doing the mean thing. But when they write 'you're fat,' then they just go, 'mmm, that was fun, I like that.'


From there, C.K. moved on to expound on the larger issue: The negative emotional effect that smartphones have on grown-ups.

While C.K. agrees that smartphones can help create a sense of community, he believes that therein lies the problem:



You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That's what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That's being a person. Because underneath everything in your life there is that thing, that empty—forever empty. That knowledge that it's all for nothing and that you're alone. It's down there.

And sometimes when things clear away, you're not watching anything, you're in your car, and you start going, 'oh no, here it comes. That I'm alone.' It's starts to visit on you. Just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad, just by being in it...

That's why we text and drive. I look around, pretty much 100 percent of the people driving are texting. And they're killing, everybody's murdering each other with their cars. But people are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don't want to be alone for a second because it's so hard.


Finally, C.K. brings it all together with an anecdote about the time he was in his car listening to a Bruce Springsteen song ("Jungleland") that made him really sad:



And I go, 'oh, I'm getting sad, gotta get the phone and write "hi" to like 50 people'...then I said, 'you know what, don't. Just be sad. Just let the sadness, stand in the way of it, and let it hit you like a truck.'

And I let it come, and I just started to feel 'oh my God,'and I pulled over and I just cried like a bitch. I cried so much. And it was beautiful. Sadness is poetic. You're lucky to live sad moments.

And then I had happy feelings. Because when you let yourself feel sad, your body has antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad, and then I met it with true, profound happiness. It was such a trip.

The thing is, because we don't want that first bit of sad, we push it away with a little phone or a jack-off or the food. You never feel completely sad or completely happy, you just feel kinda satisfied with your product, and then you die. So that's why I don't want to get a phone for my kids.


Try parenting....
vrealitybites

How to teach your kids social media etiquette

By Steve Fox, Digital First Media
Posted:   02/19/2014 11:25:30 AM MST

I teach a social media class at UMass Amherst, and my students were recently talking about the “etiquette” of social media. It was not something I had really thought about. Is there really etiquette on social media? And, if there is, do I need to start teaching my children about such etiquette?

As parents we spend a lot of time on manners:  Elbows off the table, firm handshake, respect your elders, look people in the eye when talking to them, etc. But the more I spoke to my students, the more I thought about the need to talk to my kids about social media etiquette.

So what is unacceptable behavior?

My students said they've seen breakups live-tweeted or live broadcast on Facebook. And a close friend of mine told me she saw a friend from high school live broadcast her marriage falling apart, including references to domestic violence. The broadcast was also filled with comments from Facebook friends offering support.

I recalled when my son and his “girlfriend” broke up in seventh grade and how there was a bit of a backlash. The animosity wasn't public – it took place on Facebook's messaging system – but friends of the girl were verbally attacking my son and his friends, making threats. At one point, one of the girl's friends dropped the “N-word,” prompting me to take a screen shot of the exchange and send it to the guidance counselor.

The student was reprimanded, but I also had an opportunity to explore some of the ideas behind social media communication. Teen and pre-teens live in a world where the focus tends to be on them. Communication is often seen as one-to-one or one-to-several instead of one-to-many.  So, I tried to get my son to understand that you never know who will be reading your social media rants. The old adage seems appropriate here: “Don't write anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to read.”

I do remember that he garnered a bunch of Facebook comments when he changed his “in a relationship” status to “single.”  And, this is an issue for divorced parents as well. I'm friends with my son on Facebook, so I've been overly careful not to “share” too much about my divorce. And when I changed my relationship status I just left it blank – partially not to call attention to it (and possibly embarrass him) but also because I wanted to control the flow of information, not Facebook

And, ultimately that is one of the lessons we need to pass on to our children about communication in a social media world. Undoubtedly, there are parts of your life you want to share – successes, photos, moments of happiness. But everyone does not need to know everything.

So, Social Media Etiquette Rule #1: Think before you share (even if you are a teenager)

What other etiquette guidelines  should we be passing on to our children?

— Ask permission before tagging someone in a photo.  Again, tagging seems like a relatively innocuous act, but can definitely be viewed as an invasion of privacy by some. Accordingly, I make him promise that he will not post inappropriate photos – either of himself or others.

— Know who your friends are. Periodically, I will go through my son's friends list to see who they are. Amazingly, he will not know some of them — he's just looking to pack his friends list.  It just seems like common sense to keep your friends to who you know.

— Unfriending/blocking. The previous point brings us to an important juncture: when to unfriend and when to block people from your account. I've actually had people get upset with me when I unfriend them, and it's a big issue with teens and pre-teens. Mashable has put together an interesting list of alternatives to unfriending  but in some cases there may be no other choice.

— Be appropriate. Ah, it can be tough to tell a 15-year-old boy to be appropriate. But language matters. It has the power to hurt as well as illuminate. Personal attacks and derogatory language should be considered completely out-of-bounds. My son once posted a critique of his math teacher on his Facebook account. Fortunately, I was in the other room and was quickly able to tell him to take it down. Which reinforces another issue – be friends with your children on Facebook.

— Be real. Finally, the one rule of social media that I try to pass along to both students and my children is that while social media is fun and convenient, there's no replacement for the “realness” of face-to-face communication.  As with most things in life, balance is important.

Parents, as well as children, would do well to remind themselves of this fact.

Editor's note: If your hot-headed kid is posting every fleeting thought that flies in and out from in between his ears and doesn't yet understand the word "consequence," try banning him/her from Facebook, no? That's some etiquette right there.

Or, I was reading a story in LHJ how a mom was vowing to be more "real" on Facebook and post the good and the bad when it comes to your kids. I have an idea. How 'bout spending a day with your fucking kids WITHOUT intruding on their lives and posting intimate moments for public consumption? That there sounds like fucking etiquette to me!!

Oh, I'm Sorry. Am I disturbing your deep thoughts?
vrealitybites

Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette

March 10, 2013, 11:00 am
By NICK BILTON

Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?

Of course, some people might think me the rude one for not appreciating life’s little courtesies. But many social norms just don’t make sense to people drowning in digital communication.

Take the “thank you” message. Daniel Post Senning, a great-great-grandson of Emily Post and a co-author of the 18th edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette,” asked: “At what point does appreciation and showing appreciation outweigh the cost?”

That said, he added, “it gives the impression that digital natives can’t be bothered to nurture relationships, and there’s balance to be found.”

Then there is voice mail, another impolite way of trying to connect with someone. Think of how long it takes to access your voice mail and listen to one of those long-winded messages. “Hi, this is so-and-so….” In text messages, you don’t have to declare who you are, or even say hello. E-mail, too, leaves something to be desired, with subject lines and “hi” and “bye,” because the communication could happen faster by text. And then there are the worst offenders of all: those who leave a voice mail message and then e-mail to tell you they left a voice mail message.

My father learned this lesson last year after leaving me a dozen voice mail messages, none of which I listened to. Exasperated, he called my sister to complain that I never returned his calls. “Why are you leaving him voice mails?” my sister asked. “No one listens to voice mail anymore. Just text him.”

My mother realized this long ago. Now we communicate mostly through Twitter.

Tom Boellstorff, a professor of digital anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, said part of the problem is that offline and online communications borrow from each other. For example, the e-mail term CC stands for carbon copy, as in the carbon paper used to copy a letter. But some gestures, like opening an e-mail with “hello” or signing off with “sincerely,” are disappearing from the medium.

This is by no means the first conundrum with a new communication technology. In the late 1870s, when the telephone was invented, people didn’t know how to greet a caller. Often, there was just silence. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor, suggested that people say “Ahoy!” Others proposed, “What is wanted?” Eventually “Hello” won out, and it hastened its use in face-to-face communications.

Now, with Google and online maps at our fingertips, what was once normal can be seen as uncivilized — like asking someone for directions to a house, restaurant or office, when they can easily be found on Google Maps.

I once asked a friend something easily discovered on the Internet, and he responded with a link to lmgtfy.com, which stands for Let Me Google That For You.

In the age of the smartphone, there is no reason to ask once-acceptable questions: the weather forecast, a business phone number, a store’s hours. But some people still do. And when you answer them, they respond with a thank-you e-mail.

“I have decreasing amounts of tolerance for unnecessary communication because it is a burden and a cost,” said Baratunde Thurston, co-founder of Cultivated Wit, a comedic creative company. “It’s almost too easy to not think before we express ourselves because expression is so cheap, yet it often costs the receiver more.”

Mr. Thurston said he encountered another kind of irksome communication when a friend asked, by text message, about his schedule for the South by Southwest festival. “I don’t even know how to respond to that,” he said. “The answer would be so long. There’s no way I’m going to type out my schedule in a text.”

He said people often asked him on social media where to buy his book, rather than simply Googling the question. You’re already on a computer, he exclaimed. “You’re on the thing that has the answer to the thing you want to know!”

How to handle these differing standards? Easy: think of your audience. Some people, especially older ones, appreciate a thank-you message. Others, like me, want no reply. “It is important to think about who the relationship is with,” Mr. Senning said.

The anthropologist Margaret Mead once said that in traditional societies, the young learn from the old. But in modern societies, the old can also learn from the young. Here’s hoping that politeness never goes out of fashion, but that time-wasting forms of communication do.

E-mail: bilton@nytimes.com

Editor's note: LOL!


"I forgot my phone" - Short Video
vrealitybites
I love this. This is my experience EVERY SINGLE DAY Of my life.


Told you so.
vrealitybites

Surge in 'digital dementia'


By , Tokyo

8:36AM BST 24 Jun 2013

South Korea is one of the most digitally connected nations in the world and the problem of internet addiction among both adults and children was recognised as far back as the late 1990s.

That is now developing into the early onset of digital dementia – a term coined in South Korea – meaning a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.

"Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, told the JoongAng Daily newspaper.

"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped," he said.

The right side of the brain is linked with concentration and its failure to develop will affect attention and memory span, which could in as many as 15 per cent of cases lead to the early onset of dementia.

Sufferers are also reported to suffer emotional underdevelopment, with children more at risk than adults because their brains are still growing.

The situation appears to be worsening, doctors report, with the percentage of people aged between 10 and 19 who use their smartphones for more than seven hours every day leaping to 18.4 per cent, an increase of seven per cent from last year.

More than 67 per cent of South Koreans have a smartphone, the highest in the world, with that figure standing at more than 64 per cent in teenagers, up from 21.4 per cent in 2011, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Dr Manfred Spitzer, a German neuroscientist, published a book titled "Digital Dementia" in 2012 that warned parents and teachers of the dangers of allowing children to spend too much time on a laptop, mobile phone or other electronic devices.

Dr Spitzer warned that the deficits in brain development are irreversible and called for digital media to be banned from German classrooms before children become "addicted."


Miss Manners gives a SmackDown--wearing appropriate gloves, of course.
vrealitybites

Miss Manners: Internet browsing brings conversation to a halt


By Miss Manners and Judith Martin, Published: May 24 | Updated: Sunday, May 26, 12:00 AM



DEAR MISS MANNERS: I will be in a conversation with a friend, just the two of us, and she will pick up her tablet computer to search the Internet for some detail related to something one of us just said.

Then she will notice a link to something else of interest, and she never again fully rejoins the conversation. She continues to look at the computer and browse, while also continuing to approximate conversation or sometimes just narrating what she is viewing.

She is an adult, and, as Miss Manners rightly says, one must not attempt to teach manners to anyone but one’s own children. Or at least, one must not appear to do so. So how do I gracefully say, “Stop that, or I am leaving”? I don’t want to just leave without first giving her a chance to modify her behavior.

GENTLE READER: Ah, yes, a common hazard, unknown to Miss Manners’s predecessors.

The seductive part is that disputed or forgotten facts that surface in conversation can now be checked on the spot. This is a decidedly mixed blessing.

The person who was right gets to triumph immediately, rather than resorting to the dismal choice between letting it go and reviving a dead dispute. Yet instant research has a discouraging effect on conversation and an encouraging one on pedants.

Your friend has compounded the problem by veering off into the unfortunately common rudeness of snubbing an actual person in favor of playing with her own toy. You can find something else to do, if you say, “Well, I won’t disturb you. We’ll talk when you have finished your research.” It might even be best to leave before she says, “Oh, I can do both.”




"Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction"
vrealitybites
I actually don't wholly agree with this article by Melissa Nilles from The Bottom Line. It's too generalized, relies heavily on readers' ethos and is too all encompassing. However, Nilles does bring up some points I do agree with.

Overall, (as always) I want to post here simply to serve as an archive of articles that interest me.

Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction

January 24, 2012
Melissa Nilles
Arts & Entertainment Editor

I had a terrible nightmare the other night. Instead of meeting for a
quick cup of coffee, my friend and I spent 30 minutes texting back and
forth about our day. After that, instead of going in to talk to my
professor during his office hours, I emailed him from home with my
question. Because of this, he never got to know who I was, even though
he would have been a great source for a letter of recommendation if he
had. I ignored a cute guy at the bus stop asking me the time because I
was busy responding to a text. And I spent far too much time on Facebook
trying to catch up with my 1000+ “friends,” most of whom I rarely see,
and whose meaning sadly seems to dispel even more as the sheer number of
“connections” I’ve made grows.


Oh wait, that wasn’t a dream. This technological detachment is becoming today’s reality.


Little by little, Internet and mobile technology seems to be subtly
destroying the meaningfulness of interactions we have with others,
disconnecting us from the world around us, and leading to an imminent
sense of isolation in today’s society. Instead of spending time in
person with friends, we just call, text or instant message them. It may
seem simpler, but we ultimately end up seeing our friends face to face a
lot less. Ten texts can’t even begin to equal an hour spent chatting
with a friend over lunch. And a smiley-face emoticon is cute, but it
could never replace the ear-splitting grin and smiling eyes of one of
your best friends. Face time is important, people. We need to see each
other.


This doesn’t just apply to our friends; it applies to the world
around us. It should come as no surprise that face-to-face interaction
is proven by studies to comfort us and provide us with some important
sense of well-being, whether it’s with friends or friendly cashiers in
the checkout line of Albertson’s. That’s actually the motivation behind
Albertson’s decision last year to take all of the self-checkout lanes
out of its stores: an eerie lack of human contact.


There’s something intangibly real and valuable about talking with
someone face to face. This is significant for friends, partners,
potential employers, and other recurring people that make up your
everyday world. That person becomes an important existing human
connection, not just someone whose disembodied text voice pops up on
your cell phone, iPad or computer screen.


It seems we have more extended connections than ever in this digital
world, which can be great for networking, if it’s used right. The sad
fact of the matter is that most of us don’t. It’s too hard to keep up
with 1000 friends, let alone 200. At that point, do we even remember
their names? We need to start prizing the meaning of quality in our
connections, not sheer quantity.


One of my best friends from my hometown has 2,241 Facebook friends.
Sure, her posts get a ton of feedback, but when I asked her about the
quality of those relationships, she said to me that she really has few
friends that she can trust and spend time with happily. Using a strange
conundrum like this as a constructive example, we should consider
pruning our rampant online connections at the very least.


Past evolutionary psychology research by British anthropologist and
psychologist Robin Dunbar has revealed that people are actually limited
to a certain number of stable, supportive connections with others in
their social network: roughly 150. Furthermore, recent follow-up
research by Cornell University’s Bruno Goncalves used Twitter data to
show that despite the current ability to connect with vast amounts of
people via the Internet, a person can still only truly maintain a
friendship with a maximum of 100 to 200 real friends in their social
network.


While technology has allowed us some means of social connection that
would have never been possible before, and has allowed us to maintain
long-distance friendships that would have otherwise probably fallen by
the wayside, the fact remains that it is causing ourselves to spread
ourselves too thin, as well as slowly ruining the quality of social
interaction that we all need as human beings.


So what are we doing with 3000 friends on the Internet? Why are we
texting all the time? Seems like a big waste of time to me. Let’s spend
more time together with our friends. Let’s make the relationships that
count last, and not rely on technology to do the job for us.


Just do it, you stupid, mindless sheep!
vrealitybites
Here is an article about how airline passengers are increasingly refusing to turn off their vanity-tech for the half hour it requires to take off and land.

I'm not delving into the "Do these devices actually interfere with flight controls" topic, as I haven't seen any data and am not willing to research it.

What I'm delving into is...COME ON! YOU CAN'T SHUT IT OFF FOR A HALF HOUR? ARE YOU THAT DEPENDENT ON IT? That's pathetic.

There are a lot of rules for airplane that I don't agree with. Whaddumean I can't be naked on my flight? But, I suck it up, and for those times that I'm out in public/on an airplane, I am able to be clothed. I can give up my nakedness in return for getting a flight.

So, what I'm delving into is how pathetic people are when it comes to their vanity tech.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(article edited to emphasize my point)

Disruptions: The Real Hazards of E-Devices on Planes

By NICK BILTON

Over the last year, flying with phones and other devices has become increasingly dangerous.

In September, a passenger was arrested in El Paso after refusing to turn off his cellphone as the plane was landing. In October, a man in Chicago was arrested because he used his iPad during takeoff. In November, half a dozen police cars raced across the tarmac at La Guardia Airport in New York, surrounding a plane as if there were a terrorist on board. They arrested a 30-year-old man who had also refused to turn off his phone while on the runway.

Who is to blame in these episodes? You can’t solely pin it on the passengers. (editors note: Wait...WHAT?!?) Some of the responsibility falls on the Federal Aviation Administration, for continuing to uphold a rule that is based on the unproven idea that a phone or tablet can interfere with the operation of a plane.

These conflicts have been going on for several years. And let’s not forget Alec Baldwin, who was kicked off an American Airlines plane in 2011 for playing Words With Friends online while parked at the gate.

Dealing with the F.A.A. on this topic is like arguing with a stubborn teenager. The agency has no proof that electronic devices can harm a plane’s avionics, but it still perpetuates such claims, spreading irrational fear among millions of fliers.

A year ago, when I first asked Les Dorr, a spokesman for the F.A.A., why the rule existed, he said the agency was being cautious because there was no proof that device use was completely safe. He also said it was because passengers needed to pay attention during takeoff.

When I asked why I can read a printed book but not a digital one, the agency changed its reasoning. I was told by another F.A.A. representative that it was because an iPad or Kindle could put out enough electromagnetic emissions to disrupt the flight. Yet a few weeks later, the F.A.A. proudly announced that pilots could now use iPads in the cockpit instead of paper flight manuals.

The F.A.A. then told me that “two iPads are very different than 200.” But experts at EMT Labs, an independent testing facility in Mountain View, Calif., say there is no difference in radio output between two iPads and 200. “Electromagnetic energy doesn’t add up like that,” said Kevin Bothmann, the EMT Labs testing manager.

...This December, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, sent a letter to the F.A.A. telling the agency that it had a responsibility to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers and other portable devices” during flights, as they empower people and allow “both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness.” (editors note: LOL!!!!!!!!! I can assure you, these morons aren't doing business.)

E-mail: bilton@nytimes.com


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