EUGENE, Ore. -- Now that most of Eugene's "BlackBerry's" are up and running again, users of these smartphones admit that they don't like hassles with tech problems that plague both BlackBerry's and iPhones.
"We depend way too much on these devices. It's crazy when you take the time to think about it," says BlackBerry user Carl who uses his smartphone in Eugene traffic "when I'm bored or want to see if a road is closed or something."
Carl said he wanted to "smash my BlackBerry when it went down last week, but I said 'what the heck,' I really need this phone."
BlackBerry’s not working finds happier users experiencing real life
"You try and talk to BlackBerry users and they’re not really there; it’s like looking at those dolls with wooden eyes,” joked Jerry Seinfeld; thus, BlackBerry’s recent global service outage has resulted in users “finding life outside that glowing flat screen,” says Amanda of Eugene.
“BlackBerry users across the world were exasperated Wednesday as an outage of email, messaging and Internet services on the phones spread to the U.S. and Canada and stretched into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa,” reported CBS News Oct. 12. “It was the biggest outage in years for BlackBerry users, and strained their relationship with an already tarnished brand. It came on the eve of the launch of a mighty competitor — a new iPhone model.” At the same time, BlackBerry users at the University of Oregon in Eugene said “there’s no outrage because we can get on without it.” In fact, Amanda – a self-proclaimed BlackBerry fan – said she started talking to people around campus again “when usually I just send those e-mails. It’s been a good break from my BlackBerry and not being sucked into that cellular vortex.”
Users love tech-gadgets when they’re working, but hate breakdowns
“Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the phones, said a crucial link in its European infrastructure failed Monday, and a backup didn't work either. The underlying problem has been fixed, but a backlog of emails and messages has built up that the company has yet to work down. In a messageon its website, Robin Bienfait, RIM's chief information officer, said: ‘You've depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we're letting you down. We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation. We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can,’” CBS News reported Oct. 12.
At the same time, frustrated BlackBerry users can find humor in a recent Jerry Seinfeld routine that’s gone viral on YouTube with the comedian saying he recently found a “BlackBerry in bed with my wife. I tried to smother it with a pillow, but it doesn’t use oxygen.”
Seinfeld and others -- who question technology as not all peaches and cream – note how it’s bad manners when smartphones users are not really giving someone courteous eye contact and they’re full attention because they’re so focused solely on their handset.
As Seinfeld points out how BlackBerry users disregard people and the world around them.
Seinfeld also complains that BlackBerry users “don’t pay attention to nothing. They walk around holding that thing with their creepy eyes looking down. You try and talk to them, and they’re not really there.”
BlackBerry is a little black box and not a fruit
In this digital age, terms such as “BlackBerry” do not mean it’s an edible fruit but a small black box that strains your eyes and wears out your thumbs.
In fact, a recent issue of “Optometry and Vision Science” points to research that finds BlackBerry and iPhones has to blame for “regular eye strain and headaches,” because users have to read e-mails and other stuff on the Net while making their eyes strain to see the wee small typeface.
“When reading printed text in newspapers, books and magazines, the average working distance is 16 inches from the eyes. However, the study participants on average held their smart phones only about 14 inches away. For some people, it was as close as 7 inches. Doctors say this can result in headaches, eye strain, dry eye, and blurred vision after prolonged use,” states new research on the problems with BlackBerry and other devices in the publication Optometry and Vision Science.
The glowing flat screen “not natural for kids”
Teachers in Eugene say the latest computer technology is important for students to learn. After all this is a digital age where that glowing flat screen allows students and others to experience the world outside in classrooms and even in dark “computer caves” in their parents basements. Still, teacher say living one’s life on the flat screen is “not natural for kids.”
"We don't get as much out of things if we don't experience them ourselves," said Lauren Fahey, 13. "We seem to spend a lot of our lives as bystanders," added the teen on a recent ABC News report.
"With all of these toys, it's hard to get out of the house," said Sybile Moser, 14.
The ABC News report on the impact of smartphones on children also noted that “many of the students said that while technology makes it easier to access information and learn new things, the lack of interaction with others often makes that learning biased and distorted -- because you only learn what you want to learn.
"The students miss the give-and-take, the debate of learning together when they are on the Web," said Sister Jolene.
“Because of this, the students said, it's hard for them to keep their attention fixed on any one topic, but they prefer, instead, to drift along in the information flow, letting it take them wherever it leads,” added the ABC News report.
"The Internet is like a gateway drug," said Christine Doan, 13.
“Alex Nguyen, 13, compared the experience to eating ice cream: You love it even though it's bad for you. Even at their young age, many of the students already had Facebook pages and spent as much time there as watching television. Not surprisingly then, when asked if, despite all of their worries about the cost of technology in their lives, if any of them would give up their laptop or their cellphone, almost no one raised a hand,” reported ABC News.
In turn, the company that operates BlackBerry said recently “it cannot give an estimated time for the full recovery of services around the world, and if it will happen again."