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The Way Digital People Live

Posted June. 21, 2004 22:19,   


Let’s see how portable devices that are now essential parts of our lives are being used.

Being Cool with a Notebook—

Mr. Hong’s company converted a residential house into its office, and as a result the company has a nice garden in the front yard. The garden has a lawn, trees that provide shadow, and even a small pond.

“I guess the working environment is like this because in this business, ideas are very important. When you’re tapping the keyboard while watching the fish in the pond, the green lawn, and the blue sky, you feel like your head is clearing up.”

On an average day, he spends about an hour this way.

Mr. Hong also has to leave the office often because of his visits to client companies. The notebook is useful in such events. Mr. Hong does not have to worry in case he has to urgently use his e-mail while he is out of the office. That is because he only needs to find a place where wireless LAN is available.

Usually, there are various fast-food stores that offer wireless LAN services. Nevertheless, Mr. Hong uses a bank somewhere around his path. Banks always have cool air-conditioned winds.

Sometimes, he uses his notebook in a cool cafe, while waiting to meet his friends. The “Starcraft” game will fill the notebook’s screen and keep him entertained.

The notebook is even used after his office hours. After work, Mr. Hong who lives in Sungbook-Ku, Seoul, goes to the nearby Kwangwoon University and finishes his day while planning for tomorrow.

“Take Your ‘Dica’ When Leaving for Vacations—

Office worker Sohn Soo-jin (26, female) takes so many pictures that she considers her digital camera as a “diary.” When she leaves for a backpacking trip every summer, she always takes her 4-megapixel digital camera with her.

“Last year, I went to Vietnam for eight days, and I collected many great memories thanks to the digital camera. I still remember befriending the local children with my digital camera, when I visited the highland village people.”

The digital camera has a LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) so one can instantaneously look at the picture taken. Hence, Ms. Sohn could laugh with the highland children while looking at the pictures that she took with them, and have a good time by letting the children, who thought the camera was marvelous, take pictures too.

“When you are traveling with a normal film camera, you can only take pictures with people in it. But if you have a digital camera you can take pictures of things that people in that place use, food that they eat, and other scenes, making it perfect to record the traveling journal.”

She usually uses a 128MB memory stick, but when she is traveling, she adds another 256MB memory stick. That is because she worries she might run short of memory.

In everyday life, the digital camera documents her hobbies. She uses the digital camera to take pictures of fun moments that she has while raising her two cats and then handily uploads them to her blog (a type of personal homepage).

Every night she sits in front of her computer and finishes her day. She looks at the pictures she took with her digital camera and immerses into thought. The digital picture saved in her computer, with a few lines of comment, is replacing her diary.

I Study with An MP3 Player—

Yoo Soo-min (28, female), who attends the KNOU (Korean National Open University), is a MP3 player maniac. She always listens to her MP3 player in the subway. Her favorite song is Cho PD’s “Chingoo yeo” (Oh friend). She used to work at an office but became a “late university student” that works part time to pay for bills, because she wanted to learn more.

“Although I have only used it for five months, I feel like it is like an inseparable friend. The greatest charm is that it is small and light so I can carry it anywhere.”

The MP3 player is the first thing she packs when she is preparing to travel in summer.

As a student, she also uses the MP3 player for educational purposes. Whenever there is an offline KNOU special lecture, her MP3 player becomes a recorder. She records the entire lecture on her MP3 and uploads it into her study group’s internet site. Then, people who could not attend the lecture because they were busy can download and study it.

She also presented other ways of using the MP3 player such as recording what one wants to study and then listening to it while moving or downloading English conversation courses available on the internet.

“There are a variety of MP3 files on the internet,” she says, “I have a friend who studies English by downloading the American sitcom ‘Friends’ from the internet.”

When Ms. Yoo takes a bus, her MP3 player becomes a radio. She listens to music or the lives of other people on radio while watching the scene outside the window, forgetting the heat and regaining her peace of mind.

Jin-Suk Huh jameshuh@donga.com