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Computer World

Posted by editor on April 18, 2007 at 7:45 AM PDT

Are all these devices good or bad for us?

Two of our bloggers today have very different perspectives on the benefits and effects of the kinds of electronic devices that we generally take for granted. Let's start with Qusay H. Mahmoud, whose blog Java ME and BlackBerry wireless devices in the classroom relates personal stories about projects for college programming courses, one of which was based on a significant real-world problem: linking doctors and pharmacists, since the latter often can't read the handwriting of the former. He relates the payoff for students in getting out of the desktop development model:

In summary, teaching computer programming in the context of simple mobile applications using Java ME provides a motivating and inspiring framework for students, and raises the level of excitement and satisfaction. I encourage everyone to integrate Java ME into their courses to introduce students to a programming model different than the desktop. In the desktop market, the application is deployed on a platform similar to the one on which it was developed, but in the Java ME space, the application is developed on a desktop platform and deployed on a totally different platform.

On the other hand, David Van Couvering relates the culture shock of returning from a disconnected vacation in Mexico to the ultra-wired environment of the Web 2.0 Expo, in his blog Call me a Luddite...

The whole world is "getting connected." And those of us at the Expo are generally very excited, and see lots of opportunities to make money and and to build things that lots and lots of people will use.
But I feel a sadness when I find myself in this environment. I feel like I am losing something. I watch myself "plug in," and I feel like I am actually losing connection. I crave the open sky, the deep stillness and power of the ocean, of the smiles of people who said "Hi" to my son.

Does technology open doors for people or close them off? Or is that not the right way to see things at all? What do you think?

Also in today's Weblogs, Mark