Cellphone: The Story of the World's Most Mobile Medium and by Paul Levinson

By Paul Levinson

Even supposing the net takes us all over in our on-line world, it always calls for us to be seated in the back of a table. against this, the mobilephone we could us stroll in the course of the global, totally hooked up. phone explores the background of mobility in media--from books to cameras to transistor radios to laptops--and examines the original effect of a tool that sits in a pocket or palm, and we could us communicate by way of voice or textual content. The limiting and freeing fringe of accessibility transforms eating places, public delivery, vehicles, romance, literacy, parent-child relationships, conflict, and certainly all walks of existence, trivial and profound. Like an natural cellphone that strikes, evolves, combines with different cells, and generates, the cell has turn into a posh sparkplug of human existence.

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Television is also far less demanding than other visual media. Reading is even more monopolizing of our attention than in-person conversation. To look away from the words we are reading, even for a second, is to suspend our progress on 36 Cellphone the page; to look away any longer risks shattering it. But words printed on paper have the saving grace of being there, staying in place, exactly as we left them, when we return. This usually makes leaving them no big deal. Our progress on the page, when we look away, is usually shelved with the book, temporarily tabled with the newspaper, and we can call it back, if we like, even reconstruct it, if it has been shattered.

Cars and radios had been invented around the same time—the turn of the twentieth century—but it would take until 1929 for Transitone to introduce the first car radio and twenty more years before the radio became standard automotive equipment. Books and cameras, for all their portability, were of no use to the driver, who could afford to look through neither pages nor lenses with the road looming ahead. Radio, in contrast, capitalized on our physiological capacity to hear one thing and see something else.

To look at one thing is not to look at anything else. To look usefully at anything—to see with comprehension—requires a certain amount of focus and attention. Reading requires more attention than most other acts of vision, but looking at anything is a kind of careful reading, in comparison to how we hear sounds. We can listen carefully, if we choose; we can give a melody or any other sounds our undivided attention. But we also can catch music on the fly—we can entertain and be entertained by the world of sound regardless of where our heads may be turned.

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