Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beach Connection

I ran across an article about this hi-tech lounge chair for geeks and was both fascinated and troubled by it:

Holiday makers will soon be able to have all the electronic gadgets and entertainment they need from the comfort of their sun lounger.

Known as 'The Tech Chair', the lounger will have docking stations for cameras, iPods and laptops and harness solar energy to power them.

Designed by PC World, users will now have access to thousands of songs, films, podcasts, games, and photos, as well as Wi-Fi internet connection from the beach or poolside.

It will even allows people to upload their digital holiday snaps onto their laptop before uploading them onto social networking sites such as Facebook or My Space.

A few summers ago, I encountered this Lafuma lounge chair while on vacation and we bought one. I thought this was "high-tech" enough for me but I see I was wrong. I am fascinated because with the geek chair, one could take their work with them while sitting at the beach, particularly bloggers or those who use the internet for business. On the other hand, should people really be this connected to technology 24/7? How healthy is it? Don't people need real vacations to just relax and do nothing or is this too much to expect in our wired world? Is it awful that I want one?



Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

I don't know if it just that I am now old, or what, but I am becoming increasingly sensitive to.....

But wait, let me say first that while I am old, I have spent my life working out close to the bleeding edge (as close as one can with out actually being part of building the bleeding edge) of technology (ormthat part that used to be called "electronics".

...the physical distress who hear an un-answered telephone.

People are aghast when they see me tun my cell phone off, or even silence it.

They suffer (really! cold sweats. tics. signs of physical discomfort) if they find themselves out of contact with a cooperative cell-tower--even in the rare case where the are not talking to anybody.

The whole totality of life-style is changed. No longer is urban life punctuated by "get up" "have breakfast" "travel to work" "work" "coffee break" "lunch"...and so on.

There really is no punctuation at all anymore, just lap-dissolves.

10:57 AM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

You have to look at connectedness from 2 sides. Yes, you can't really relax if you are constantly on the phone with your job or your friends who are in faraway places. However, I don't know how many semi-vacations I have been granted by managers who have sent me to faraway places for business and then allowed me a few extra days of relaxation with the agreement that I stay close to my cell phone.

What is relaxation anyway? If one enjoys photography and goes on vacation don't you think part of the enjoyment of the hobby would be to get those photos up on the Internet as soon as possible in order to receive some feedback and accolades from friends and family? I would say that a little writing, editing and uploading could be part of the relaxation process.

Everything is relative.

11:05 AM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


I agree that relaxation is relative. I am not happy doing totally nothing on vacation and taking and posting photos is fun for many, not stressful. I like blogging and so vacations or work where I have access to the internet are easier, not harder for me. One problem is that I often have wrist and back pain from my poor posture at the computer but this is easily remedied with stretching and exercise--although a total week off is also a good way to cure it.

11:28 AM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

I'm not a big lounger or gamer so it'd be a bit over the top for me, though I could see an hour here and there enveloped in an oasis of comfort and music. Oh, who am I kidding, in 15 minutes I'd be asleep.

Being connected all the time can be addictive and sometimes harmful, I think. In 2005 my family did some traveling in the UK and didn't have our cellphones. One day in London we split up: I took our girl to a palace, my husband took our boy to a battleship. I guess it was the first time we'd ever been separated with no way to get in touch. I was shocked at how much it bothered me. Honestly, I think there were moments I wondered if I'd ever see them again. Pathetic. I think having the ability to contact can give a false illusion of being in control.

12:43 PM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

Is it awful that I want one?

No. I'd want one, too. It would make a great hub to work from.

Now, if it came with the model, that would be great. ;-D

2:09 PM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

should people really be this connected to technology 24/7?

No. Technology has a purpose which is to make life easier and more enjoyable for humans, and occasionally other animals. But more and more I see people who have trouble functioning without a cellphone or with ear buds on or such. I feel sorry for these people who can't relate to the person next to them but keeps a non-stop cellphone conversation going or listens to music continuously.

The most relaxing time I have all year is at Boy Scout camp where there is no cellphone reception and mp3 players, etc are forbidden. We're very active but never interrupted by a phone.

7:26 PM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I too have worked in tech (telecom) for most of my life. I too find it sad that people can't seem to put it down.

When my banks want to ship cell-phones with me on vacation, I tell them it's fine by me, but I'm going insect hunting in the desert/jungle/wherever. If they can find me, they can talk. If they need me to hook up, they'll have to wait until I find civilization again.

My time is my time, not someone else's who wants to connect to me. You give them an entry, they'll take it and it's no longer your vacation.

7:38 PM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger MarkyMark said...

Doc Helen,

I agree with the previous commenter; being connected 24/7 IS bad for you! If you're wired up to your job even on vacation, how relaxing can it be?! Isn't the point of vacation to GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?! Not necessarily get away from civilization, but to get away from the job, the routine, etc.? Isn't the point to recharge? Sorry, but I can't see how it can be done if you're connected 24/7...

Now, in your case, since you obviously like blogging, being wired up on vacation is not bad; if anything, I'd say it's good in your case. But-and this is key-you're not doing it for work; you're doing a fun activity you'd normally do anyway. It's no different than an avid bicyclist taking his bike on vacation with him, or no different than a motorcyclist like me vacationing on my bike. In each case, you're doing what you enjoy anyway; you're just doing more of it, and doing it in a more comfortable, more relaxing place.

What cracks me up is the people with their Blackberries (or crackberries, since they're SO addicting). They're joined at the hip to these things! Years ago, I read a newspaper article raising the same points you have, and posing the same questions-to wit, is being in touch 24/7 REALLY good for us? In that article, they made the point that, for many, today's high tech toys are the electronic equivalent of a leash, and that's not far from the truth. Looking at it that way, I don't think this is a good thing...


8:07 PM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger Jesse said...

Add me to the "24/7 connectedness = bad" list. Technology is good, but only to an extent. I think we crossed that line in America long ago. Sure, the latest gadgets might seem to make life more fun, but in making it more fast-paced they also add stress and a sense of "obligation" that may not be immediately apparent. Just the ability to do too many things with one's time becomes a tyranny in itself.

I spend most vacations nowadays wandering around in mountains and canyons and the like. For me, the best part of each trip is being able to completely ignore everything else happening in the world for those days. There's actually great comfort in knowing that even if something terrible did happen, I couldn't do anything about it for several days and so it really doesn't matter until then anyway.

8:57 PM, July 22, 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

I love being connected, but there comes a time when it feels good to release myself of the electronic leash.

There is something quite freeing about turning off the BlackBerry, the television, computer etc.

3:50 AM, July 23, 2008  
Blogger El Duderino said...

I saw this in a movie once, I think it was Wall-E. As I remember it didn't work out too well for them.

11:14 PM, July 23, 2008  
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