Tuesday, January 5, 2010


In my job as well as in my personal life, I am somewhat of a geek. I love technology, I love gadgets, I love science…but only to the extent that these things make my life easier.

As many others are now questioning, I am by no means certain that computers and cell phones and texting and iPods and Facebook are tools have really and truly enriched our lives more than they have begun to control our lives. The cost-benefit line is becoming an indistinct blur.

Look up the definition of a tool sometime (and no, I’m not talking about Colin Powell).

--I checked out Free Dictionary (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tool ), which tells us that a tool is “a device, such as a saw, used to perform or facilitate manual or mechanical work.”

--Merriam-Webster (see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tool) says that a tool is “a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task.”

There are other definitions, but these were the two lead entries. I am not a linguist, but I want to take both of these sources to task. Neither of these primary definitions nor any of the subsequent ones (not shown here) explicitly state one of my key criteria; i.e., that the purpose of a tool is to make life easier.

So….one of my goals in 2010 is to embrace tools—particularly those electronic--only to the extent that they make my life easier.

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