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Re: [at-l] Computers and courtesy

Afternoon, all - 

Some comments on the computers in the woods thread - in particular Jack
Tarlin's post. But first, some background...

As apparant from my sig file, I'm an actor and singer. But my day job is
as a web developer. I paid for some of my schooling (getting a musical
theatre degree) by being a consultant. I continue to finance most major
purchases and expenses through the use of computers. I own a fabulous
PowerBook and am searching for just the right handheld to buy.

So, I'm enamored of the machines. 

Now, I haven't decided what, if any, technology I'm going to take on the
trail. My parents are imploring me to buy and carry a cell phone. (I
refuse on the grounds that if I object to cell phone towers - and I do -
then I should not give a cell company one more reason to build one.) A
friend recommends a GPS watch. A hiker I know says he could't have lived
without a radio to listen to BBC world service and National Weather
Service updates. 

If I take any technology on the trail, it'll be my decision. I will
endevor to be polite, considerate and accomodating of every other person
on that trail when I am using my technology. In other words, I'll make
sure my technology makes no sound, emits no strange glow nor smell, and
does not scare small children, attract bears, or cause global
thermo-nuclear war. 

As Jack said:
> Your are pretty much free to hike as you
> please, as long as your actions or behavior do no damage to the Trail, the
> thru-hiker community, to the environment, or to other hikers.  You are
> essentially free to hike and live as you please, provided your actions or
> behavior do not have a negative impact on the Trail, or on those with whom
> you're sharing it.

Here's where I begin to disagree, though.

Jack says:
>     1)  Most people go into the woods and mountains, in part, to leave this
> sort of thing behind for awhile.  They do not need, or want, permanent
> reminders or electronic umbilical cords that would remind them of the world
> they've left, and will have to return to so soon.  In short, most folks DO
> NOT welcome the sight or public use of these items.

There is a marked difference between the USE (especially if loud, noisy,
obtrusive and indescriminate) of technology and the SIGHT of technology.

If I am manipulating another hiker's environment by adding noise, or
smell or light, then I am being inconsiderate because that other hiker
then has lost control of their environment. However, if I am simply
existing, doing my own thing in the corner of a shelter or on a rock at
a vista, the other hiker can Simply. Not. Look.

Agreed, it might be hard for someone not inclined to accept or use
technology - on the trail or anywhere - to ignore a person silently
using a hand-held palm computer, a weather radio (with headphone) or a
small laptop. But I believe a line has to be drawn between what is
considered provocation and what is only one person's idea of how to

If a hiker can turn his or her head and remove the offending sight, I
believe that is reasonable. If a technology-using hiker can endevor to
make his or her technology silent and considerate, I believe that is

In other words, I won't bring a MP3-playing, beep-making, 60
watt-shining, bright chrome cellphone with built in world wide web
access in the middle of shelter and atart talking to my roommate in NYC.
And any technology-averse hiker will  endevor not to be bothered if I am
sitting on the edge of bench at a shelter and silently scrawling a few
notes about the day on my PalmV. 

Jack says:
> Hike Your Own Hike, by all means---but when Hiking
> Yours starts interfering with other folks' right to Hike Theirs, then we've
> got a problem. 

I venture to say that a ban on using any technology withing sight of
another hiker who might object is _absolutely_ interfering with the
right to hike your own hike. 

To sum up: 

When Jack says that technology use is "not behavior that others should
be compelled to witness," I disagree. 

I mean, _really_. Looking at something won't kill you. It shouldn't even
piss you off. Let others use their toys, and be content and pleased in
your own ways.  

Kristen said all of theis much more concisely:
> I am a super laid back person. If someone takes a computer, or any bit of
> technology on the trail, I'm not going to let it ruin my entire trip...
> heck... I'm not even going to let it ruin that HOUR. Computer? Fine. Cell
> Phone? Fine. GPS? Fine. Wear a teddy? Fine. Carry a pink flamingo? Fine.

moira, who probably won't even take anything that requires batteries

m o i r a   s t o n e | actor.singer | fool for love |
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