A Day Without A Cell Phone

In a world where billions of people already own cellphones, there comes a time that in a state of rush or carelessness, there is one less: and that could be you. Surviving a full day without a cellphone — how difficult could it be?

Most of us are old enough to remember what the world was like before the era of mobile phones. We used to be just fine. So, we could also expect that during the first few minutes (emphasis on FIRST) sans a cellphone, one would feel liberated and could finally get a chance to once again observe the real world. Instead of walking aimlessly with that zombie-like facial expression while trying to scour over unread text and email messages on your mobile, you finally get to notice that pretty lady who smiles at you every morning; the perpetually angry dog that barks every time you walk past; and the flurry of tourists snapping photos at a nearby attraction. Ahh, what a wonderful world! However, this usually lasts for about a quarter of an hour. After that, the thought begins to nag you: What if someone needs to contact me? What if there is an urgent message in my inbox?

Being the technology-strapped idiot that you have become, our first impulse is to double-check for that phantom cellphone vibrations in the pocket where your phone usually is and your blood pressure starts to rise, feeling the need to check your voice mail. And the only way to do this is to use a payphone — a long-unused and dusty payphone, if I may add. In spite of the fact that the phone booth smells like a homeless person’s bathroom, you force yourself to stop breathing for a few minutes and check your voice mail. A robotic voice greets you with a cheerful answer, “You have no new messages.” Dang.

Relieved that you have no new voice mail, you start to fuss about your emails. So you scramble to find an internet cafe — which is not an easy task. Forty-five minutes, a dozen blocks, and two sweaty armpits later, you arrive at a computer terminal for rent and hurriedly access your inbox. Voila! All the messages could have waited until you arrived home.

As your phoneless day goes on, you could not avoid wondering: Would we actually have more meaningful conversations if we weren’t so attached to our mobile phones and gadgets? Would we become better people if our cell phone apps didn’t distract us so much? Better family men and women? Better children? Still, without our cell phones, we would absolutely feel unconnected to our friends, colleagues, and the rest of the world — a lonely disposition.

How about you, can you survive a day without your cellphone? How have mobile gadgets enhanced or affected your life in any way? Do share your opinions with us!

Image: Tune Up

How The Federal Government Spies On Civilians

Right now, the U.S. government is tracking the movements of private citizens by GPS, reading private citizens’ emails, and possibly even reading what you’re saying on Facebook. It does so all in the name of law enforcement and Homeland Security, of course — but whether or not that makes you feel safer is up to you.

1. The NSA is building a massive data center in Utah to read every email you’ll ever send.

If leaked information about the complex is correct, nothing will be safe from the facility’s reach, from cell phone communications to emails to what you just bought with your credit card. And encryption won’t protect you — one of the facility’s priorities is breaking even the most complex of codes.

2. The FBI maintains detailed files on numerous public, semi-public, and private figures.

If you’re curious about what goods the FBI has on you, you can always submit a request to view your own personal file. It is worth noting, of course, that the government doesn’t profile everyone — just certain people of interest.

3. Homeland Security is reading your tweets and Facebook status messages.

Unless you play around with your Twitter and Facebook privacy settings, just about anything you say is public. Essentially, the government wants to read through your tweets and status messages to see if there’s any information that might help in detecting threats.

4. Your ISP may soon be required to keep files on what sites you visit.

That’s exactly what the Hawaii state legislature proposed this January with H.B. 2288 and companion bill S.B. 2530. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. John Mizuno (D), “requires internet service providers… keep consumer records for no less than two years.” The bill then goes on to specify that these records must include “each subscriber’s information and internet destination history information.” Thankfully, the bills’ sponsors withdrew the offending legislation from debate.

Do you think all the hustle about online data monitoring is necessary or is it just an invasion of privacy? Share your opinions with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: UnDebunked