Saturday, December 29, 2007

Watch or Cellphone?

Informally filling in for Lileks at, Brian Lutz points to a recent Gizmodo poll that asks whether you use a watch or your cellphone to tell time. Considering Gizmodo's likely demographic, it's probably no big surprise that cellphone leads watch, 62.9% to 32.7% (the other 4.4% evidently walks around not knowing/caring what time it is, as they chose "It's always skin o'clock" for their answer).

As someone who teaches people from middle school up to college, I've noticed the same thing. The vast majority of my students at all levels (save for the older adults in the evening college combo) aren't watch-wearers. As I said in the comments at the buzz post, I'm still a watch guy. Maybe it's because my Swiss watch was actually bought in Switzerland and is thus a treasured memento of the trip, but I also have practical reasons: In the schools, I teach in 30-minute increments, and it's much easier to look at my wrist to tell the time than to keep reaching in my pocket again and again. I also pointed out that there are some occasions where it's impractical to use a watch to tell time, such as on an airplane during the "cell phones must be turned off" period of the flight (which is the majority of the time), and students in public schools often face the additional obstacle of being required to keep their phones hidden during class time.

It has also occurred to me that if everyone stopped wearing watches, the economy of Switzerland might tank, and that would be awful, because Switzerland is a really cool place. If watch-wearing were to continue to decrease, I wonder how long it would be before the Swiss watchmakers went into the cellphone business, or how long it would take them to come up with a combination of the two that's worn on the wrist.

Read the whole Gizmodo story; the comments are especially interesting from both sides. One commenter perhaps sums up my own opinion best:
Its [sic] amazing how many folks would go the extra mile of reaching into their pockets or bags just to tell the time, when there is a perfectly convinient and fashionable solution that has been around for eons.
So let's take our own little (and I do mean little, even if all 20 of you were to answer) Musings poll: Cellphone or wristwatch, and why? Comment away....

Old technology loses one round...: AOL has announced the impending demise of the Netscape Navigator browser. I used this for quite a long time on the Ancient and Venerable iMac before moving into the world of OS X, Safari and Firefox.

...but wins another one: From England comes the story of a toaster that's still serving family members after 56 years.

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