At the Ref Desk (10/14/17): Phrase du Jour: Happy Researching! [more...]

Living the Digital Life - Amtrak Edition

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 8/21/10 (3:10pm)
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Roy's got a post on all the digital paraphernalia he was lugging around on a recent trip to Boston. This reminded me of my own experience going to Springfield -- and how attached I still was to the 'Cloud' no matter what the circumstances were.

Case in point, was my trip down to Springfield on Amtrak. We had to stop no less than four times so freight trains which have the right-of-way on this one-track system, could pass us by. Thanks to my smartphone, I was able to log in every delay as a 'Status Update' on Facebook. Also, thanks to my smartphone, I was able to figure out where we were, using the built-in GPS program. I even managed to upload a picture of the train's (less-than-fascinating) interior thanks to the phone's camera. And finally, of course, I was able to keep up with my email and look at the occasional webpage throughout the entire trip.

This level of connectivity -- the almost obscene ubiquity of the network -- would have boggled the mind even ten years ago. And sure, there are people who would point to the triviality of its use and who would wonder why I simply didn't put the damn phone down. To which I would reply, what's so fascinating about being on a train from Chicago to Springfield that's stuck for an extra hour?

It's one of the few benefits of living in the 21st Century, so why not take advantage of it -- for at least as long as the batteries hold out.

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