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August 16, 2010


Matthew Artero

I listened to you on the podcast. Your use of the word "families" got me thinking of all those old mob/gangster movies.

I like learning about history. Many stories tend to focus on an individual person, group, or event. Your use of the history of Beta vs. VHS and Mac vs. PC, has now got me looking at those same historical stories and looking for the relationships/families. For example, for hundreds of years it was taught that 200 Europeans destroyed the Inca Empire; but we now know that they had the help of the many peoples the Incas oppressed.

It is not sad that more children have phones than books. It actually means they have more time and money to dedicate to reading if they should choose to do so. As they run out of things to talk about, they just might do it.

I also once heard a radio talk show host complain about people on welfare having phones. He saw it as a luxury they should do without. This kind of thinking stems from assuming our experience is the same as everyone else’s or looking at the situation through the fun and games culture popularized in the media.

But let’s look at the facts. There use to be payphones everywhere. Back then we never criticized children or poor people for having coins to make calls. Maybe we have an expensive data plan and our kids download a bunch of fun apps but that doesn’t mean those poor people are doing the same thing.

In my own experience, the monetary value of one phone call to me can easily save me more money than my monthly bill. For the cheapest plans it could pay for more than six months of phone bills. The alternative for me is to spend a lot of time and money commuting to become informed of the things I need to be informed of.

It also means I can better coordinate with others and arrive at the same time instead of waiting for others to show up. For example a repairman does not know the exact time he will show up because the job site he was at before mine may take him longer than he thought. He may even learn that he cannot keep his appointment with me. Because we are able to communicate last minute, I never waste time or money going to meet him until the exact time is confirmed. This is also the case for business appointments and sales calls.

I also experience this huge savings of time and money in family life as well. I don’t have to wait until I get home to be told that something has come up and such and such is needed and then have to commute from the home just to deal with that one specific situation. Instead I can be informed long before I start my commute home and combine my commutes, saving time and money; increasing the quality of life of my family.

With all this savings in time and money, reading becomes more affordable in both time and money. With all this communicating going on, people probably want to have something interesting to say; reading can satisfy that need. With mbooks outselling ebooks in Japan, the rest of the world is likely to follow. The phone gives people more opportunities to read other than just the home and library.

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