Issue 213, October 24, 2000  

Dressing For Success: You Might Find That Tech Suits You

By Stephen M. Lawton

      Technology is grand, isn't it? Today we have organizers that are roughly the size of a credit card. Cell phones that don't have to be dialed, you just speak the name of the person you're calling. We have fully loaded PCs that are roughly the size and thickness of an issue of MicroTimes, storage devices that can hold the collected works of the Library of Congress several times over and watches that double as a PDA or pager.
      Who says you can't take it with you? These days, you can take everything with you just so you can get away from it all. Has technology become that much a part of us or is there hope for us that we can disconnect from it all and still survive?
      I certainly hope we can, but I fear sometimes that I'm wrong. Recently I gave one of our salesmen a gift because he was becoming overloaded with gadgets. It was a holster that held a cell phone and a PDA, plus had a place for him to clip his pager. I can just imagine him trying to walk through airport security with that setup.
      Technology today has gotten so small, and so many of us have become so dependent on having it all, that it is often hard to know when enough is enough. Personally, I'm down to carrying only two gadgets with me all the time a watch that doubles as a PDA and a cell phone. I can store phone numbers, to do lists, set alarms and do just about anything except take notes on the watch. The phone doubles as an alphanumeric pager and has a builtin Web microbrowser.
      The next step: wearable computers, of course. Pshaw, you say? Not at all. I first wrote about a wearable computer some 10 years ago. Today, it's Alice's Restaurant you can get just about anything you want.
      What makes this relevant today is that in addition to all this technology wizardry being available, it's available at a relatively affordable price. I've been wearing this brand of watch since it was launched about five years ago I bought my last one for about $40. You can pick up a highend Palm Connected Organizer or a PocketPC for just a few hundred dollars, and cell phones they're free when you sign up with a wireless service provider, although the Webenabled phones normally cost about $200.
      This month's MicroTimes Holiday Gift Guides include dozens of cool gifts for $1,000 or less, but we could have just as easily filled an entire story with wearable gizmos and gadgets. Computing isn't something you do at home or in the office anymore you can do it anywhere, anytime. But despite the instant-gratification society we live in, don't forget this: Have a life.


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