Paul Nolan

I know that seems mundane to many of you, but I feel a little more grown up. A little more professional. A little more empowered.

You see, when it comes to cell phones, I have obstinately been a Luddite, clinging to my circa-2006 flip phone while my kids upgraded and then upgraded again to paperback-sized smartphones with HD screens and cameras that outperform most SLRs.

I didn’t see the need and professed as much. I took the ribbing with a sense of pride. When my flip phone rang during a guys’ weekend up north this fall, someone quipped, “It’s the Smithsonian, they want your phone.” I smiled and stood taller. I had used the same phone on six or seven similar annual trips with the same crew.

I had seen too many socially adept individuals get sucked into their smartphone screens never to be seen again. I refused to go down that road. I shared the sentiments of Bartunde Thurston, who pined for the days when people actually talked face-to-face in a recent Fast Company essay entitled “In Praise of F2F.”

“When confronted with a face-to-face social interaction we find momentarily non-stimulating, we whip out our communicators, opting out of the present moment, and text people we assume

are more interesting than the dullards around us who obviously couldn’t hold our attention.”


So what changed my mind? This issue’s cover story.

Editing the contributed articles and interviewing high-tech specialists who explained all that can be accomplished when sales converges with today’s technology convinced me that I could no longer reach my potential professionally with a 7-year-old flip phone.

Now that I’m iPhone-equipped, I’m eager to find the best app for digitally recording my interviews and I’m looking forward to enhancing my research with tools like Evernote, and tuning into Twitter for real.

I’m still intent on staying in the real world. As Thurston states, “Sometimes we just need to talk. It’s often inefficient. It can take up valuable time. But in the intimate space of interpersonal communication, efficiency isn’t always a good thing. We don’t need to optimize every conversation. In fact, we may be served best by the opposite.”

There’s a happy medium between “F2F” and high-tech interaction. But there’s an ever-expanding role for high-tech, and I am happy to embrace it.


An error appeared on page 32 of the Sep/Oct 2012 edition of SMM (Caravelle By Bulova Product Review): The wording “This line of stylish entry-level watches celebrates Bulova’s 50th year...” was incorrectly worded. The correct wording is “Caravelle by Bulova celebrates its 50th year as Bulova’s stylish entry-level brand...”

An error also appeared on page 54 of the Sep/Oct 2012 edition of SMM (Bulova’s “Precision Perfect” Product review): The writeup indicated “global accuracy to within 0 seconds a year.” The correct wording is “global accuracy to within 10 seconds a year.”

SMM apologizes for the errors and any misrepresentation this might have caused.

Paul Nolan, Editor