• 12/01/2006
    5:00 AM
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To BlackBerry or Not to BlackBerry?

Do I embrace this thing 24/7 and evolve into the genus 'Connected Excessive,' or do I simply throw my BlackBerry in my bag and use it during the workday as

I'm a technology junky. For instance, I used to own a Laserdisc player, and even though I only had six discs, the cool factor made up for my limited library. My first digital satellite system had a serial number under 10,000--I'm now on generation four and eyeing generation five. My first DVD player cost more than $1,000, but it didn't do progressive scan, so I recently replaced it with one costing about $200. I see they're now under $100--Blu-Ray anyone? My first laptop was one of the early Toshibas: monochrome and slow, but tiny. It was way more cool than those Compaq lunchboxes popular at the time. Yeah, I like technology.

Given all this, you'd think I'd have a BlackBerry or Treo, but I don't. While I've been the classic early adopter for most consumer and business technology, I was dragged into the cell-phone-toting masses by the scruff of my neck. For those like-minded among you, the reason is obvious. I simply don't want to be that available, that connected, that locatable. It's a matter of personal privacy and the desire to separate my work life from, well ... my life.

About seven years ago, my employer decided I needed a cell phone, and it's been down hill ever since. Perhaps predictably, the technophile geek in me took over and now you'll never find me without the damn thing. I've even set up my work phone to simultaneously ring my cell phone. Wouldn't want to miss an important call--and yet the truly important ones are as rare as laser discs. Go figure.

The conflict between my technojunky nature and my desire to occasionally leave work at work came into crystal clarity recently when Publisher Siefert told me I was getting a BlackBerry. He is a fervent worshipper in the church of RIM, and I marvel at him as he beats away on that tiny keyboard on roadtrips and in between meetings. Curiosity got the best of me one day and I asked him about whether he felt too connected, and whether it actually improved his efficiency. His interpretation of the conversation was that I wanted one, and so Christmas is coming early for me--in the form of a BlackBerry.

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