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Kenneth Kales

Kenneth Kales

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The Petals and Thorns of a Recession

Posted: 01/31/11 07:02 PM ET

I've been working much harder these days, and my friends and colleagues say they are too. Are you? One colleague told me she doesn't know anybody who isn't "super busy." She lives in Colorado but works at a New York City pace. I thought for a moment, and said I didn't know anyone either.

Some of it no doubt is the economy. Many people work two and three jobs to make ends meet. Others I know, again prompted by the economy, have day jobs or have gone back to school, or are trying to start a sideline business.

Today I was in the Apple store fixing my website. It pained me to take off from more important work in front of me but things needed to be done before I embarrassed myself any longer publicly showing truncated photographs and font glitches on the site.

On my way out I stopped for a minute to look at the new iPhone. It's self-imposed I know, but I'm feeling some pressure to understand the increase in mobile commerce and how apps are becoming dominant on the web. The iPhone is at the center of the universe in those regards.

The salesman told me about some of its features, and continued adding on more until I stopped him and asked, "When does anyone have time to use all this stuff?" "They don't really," he answered. Then went on about talking to friends face to face on Skype, accessing data wifi like checking e-mails or surfing the net. "You mean this is for people who can't wait until they get home to check their e-mails?" "Yeah, pretty much," he answered. With his abundance of riches he went on about listening to music, watching movies, recording videos, reading books, playing games, and checking out the 30,000 and counting apps available that can be seamlessly integrated.

He said he just returned from a 10-day vacation without being connected, in the digital sense, and was happy then. Now that he's back, he said he's anxious with iPhone in hand.

There seems to be a point of diminishing returns with all of this consumer technology. Is it gadgetry or is it really useful to our lives?

It's still winter in much of the country. Rose bushes are trimmed back as they wait in dormancy. There's a certain irony to not being able to stop and smell the roses now, particularly since there aren't any. We never go dormant. It would be nice if we could take a lesson from nature and have some dormancy, to recalibrate and come back in fuller bloom in season. Instead, we rush through all four seasons, now more than ever on a 24/7 cycle. I look forward to smelling the roses in a few months more.

 

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