Device attraction, life distraction

Here's a memory from the HIMSS event in February that will stay with me to the grave--or early senility, whichever comes first. Because I arrived late for the keynote speech, I had to sit in the furthest reaches of the upper balcony at the New Orleans Convention Center. Luckily, they had giant video monitors so you could see the speakers. But looking down across the scores of rows in front of me, squinting at the tiny figure reported to be Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, I noticed something far more prominent. The otherwise dark balcony was aglow with the lit screens of cell-phones, Blackberries, and other wireless devices. It was a veritable swarm of small rectangular fireflies. Despite Ballmer's breathless oratory on Microsoft's forthcoming foray into healthcare, scores of audience members had their eyes affixed on their tiny electronic gadgets, all but oblivious to the stage.
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