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Monthly Broadcast: March 2007
Ken Bowell has been using computers since 1979. He started out with Apple systems, followed by various Macs before moving into Windows in 1993. His first home computer was an IBM PCJr.
Blackberry: The Fruit Of All Evil? 

Cells phones have become important parts of many people's lives. PDA phones have taken this a step further by organizing them. In some cases, people's lives are literally contained in them.

No PDA has proved this more that the Blackberry. This addictive device has taken a toe hold in the lives of so many of its users, it has often been referred to as "Crackberry". Indeed, Blackberry users seem to be glued to their devices a larger percentage of time than those with other devices.

No doubt, Blackberry devices really help those on the go keep in contact. It adds excellent e-mail and messaging capabilities to a phone with a tiny footprint. While other PDA phones contain those features, the Blackberry just seems to do it better. There's no question why people use them.

The mystery here seems to be, why do they use them so much? In fact, one has to note how often they are used at innappropriate times. The eyes of Blackberry users seem to be constantly glued to those little screens, often dangerously so. People have literally injured themselves by not seeing hazards while responding to messages. Even "Tech Guy" Leo Laparte has admitted walking into a wall using one.

Don't get me wrong, I've been known to whip out my Pocket PC between tasks and while walking down a hallway at work. The difference is, the average Blackberry user doesn't seem to be able to function without always having their device in view. They become so involved in the task, they ignore everything around them.

I'm not ready to call this an epidemic. I'm sure not going to blame the folks at Blackberry, either. They created a device that met customer needs. Responsibility starts with the user.

In the end, we all have our technology cruches. For some, it's the internet or TV. For others, it's cell phones or instant messaging. The secret is knowing when it's appropriate to pursue them.

Ken Bowell is currently a video editor for ESPN. Since 1997, he has performed various production tasks for shows like Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight, NFL Live and ESPNews. He has been working in television for nearly 15 years at both the local and network level.

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