From The Philter's Be-Careful-What-You-Wish-For file, VOIP guru Jeff Pulver ponders the preceding thought as he writes about having recently spent a big chunk of time in a hospital waiting room with –- horror! -- no toys.
From the Pulver blog:
I spent most of the day disconnected -- my Blackberry had no reception on T-Mobile and I struck out trying to get Internet access using my Verizon EvDO subscription. Had my T-Mobile cell phone actually had service, I would not have been able to place any calls due to the hospital's policy of "no cell phones." (I wonder if that would have included a VoIP-enabled PDA?) I bear witness to the fact that this policy was actively enforced while I was there. And while I did discover a few hospital Wi-Fi networks, they were all secure and the hospital didn't offer any Wi-Fi hotspots for their guests.
Is it just me or does it take a real piece of work to gripe about the lack of digital amenities in a hospital waiting room? What a nob.
Was it too inconvenient to step outside to make a cell phone call? He couldn't let the email thing go for a few hours and watch some filthy soaps like the proletariat?
Look, I've spent my fair share of time in waiting rooms in the past couple of years and I've come away with a different point of view. I'm glad these places are a little disconnected and quiet. Emotions are always running high and it seems like you're never more than a few minutes away from watching someone pace the floor and ponder some weighty, life-altering decision.
The waiting rooms I've been in are comfortable and quiet and they really don't need much in the way of digital adornment. Why does everything have to be a friggin' amusement park for some people? The last thing hospital waiting rooms need, in my opinion, is a bunch of Silicon Valley, NPR listener-types hogging all the wall sockets and filling the air with enough radio interference from all their digital doodads to send the MRI machine down the hall into orbit. Give me a working coffee pot, a payphone, and one year (any year, really) of Sporting News back issues and I'll manage.
I'm hoping to make a bigger point here beyond just picking nits with Pulver: Sometimes the urge to turn every square inch of the Earth into the sitting area at Starbuck's isn't a good thing. Sometimes it's okay to be a out of WiFi range, out of cell range, and a few yards away from 4,000-calorie snacks.
I disagree with Pulver: The lobby of a BMW dealership is nice if you're shopping for a good car, but not if you're waiting to hear if a friend's or loved one's life is running out of road.
— Phil Harvey, Medical Editor, Light Reading