The thumb tribe

Do you find yourself spending what seems like hours a day staring at the %^$#@$ hourglass while your computer opens an application or boots up or whatever? Much as you love computers and getting them to do cool stuff, do you ever feel like taking a hammer to one? That has been my mood this last few weeks. On a long business trip overseas, it was as if there was some kind of computer curse going on. I like to catch-up on work and e-mail while waiting for planes, but wireless services at Cleveland Hopkins were dead.

In Paris, it took calling a technician to get the hotel room Internet service working. Then, in Boston –– again, no wireless in the hotel room. Both places were high-class business hotels, not sleazy joints by any means. Back at the office, the e-mail server had crashed, loosing tons of valuable e-mail. All this is why I could only nod my head in sympathy when I read someone's recent rant about computers, specifically cell phones, Blackberries, text-messaging, and the like. He said people now spend most of their time whether walking down city streets, on elevators and even in restaurants –– staring at the devices' tiny display screens, intently scrolling up and down. In an entirely apt phrase, he calls what they belong to the new "thumb tribe."

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