Technology, at what price?

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Technology, at what price?
By Ray Hanania — In the rare moment when my son and I actually communicate together the old fashioned way, by speech, and we’re not texting, emailing, sending photographs or playing games on the Wii or XBox Connect systems, he asked me something that made me think.

“Dad, did you know that my iPad is more powerful than all the computers they used to send Neil Armstrong to the Moon in 1969?” he asked.

He was really making a statement in the form of a question, which is what kids do. They are uncertain but think they know the answer? I call it a “question-observation.”

Everyone says the advancements in technology are moving us into a greater age of communications and enlightenment.

But I wonder. And so should you.

These days, we don’t really communicate with actually sound, or speech. I communicate with co-workers, friends and the public through Internet email, Skype or voice or text messaging from my cell phone.

I hate to answer my cell phone. I’m not sure why, but I prefer when people just call and leave me a message.

My son’s question got my attention. We were all in the front room. Aaron was watching Sponge Bob Square Pants on the flat screen LED TV that we bought for Christmas/Hanukkah while he was playing Angry Birds on his iPad.

Normally, he would just text me but I think the question about Armstrong was just too deep, or involved too many words and characters. Like the other day, when he couldn’t find the TV remote.

Aaron sent me a text message from his iPad to my iPad2 across the room asking me if I had the TV remote control.

It read: “EMD U no whr TV remote is?” (Excuse me dad. Do you know where the TV remote control is?)

I quickly replied “DFIK AYM” (Darned if I know. Ask your mom).

I couldn’t see the remote from where I was sitting, comfortably couch-potatoed in my seat. I didn’t want to move my arm taking my fingers away from the iPad2 virtual keyboard. So, I texted my wife, who was on her laptop in the dining room, nearby of course.

“HUN U C TVR AW?” I texted. (Hi honey. You see the TV Remote anywhere?)

She looked up and spotted it by the dog, who couldn’t use any technology except for the “rice” circuit placed in the skin behind his neck to identify who he was in the event of a catastrophic electrical power outage in our home and the Internet collapsed.

“N 2 A,” she texted back. (It’s next to Aaron).

I texted Aaron that the TV remote control was next to his left arm, if he would look away from the iPad game he was playing for at least a few seconds.

The TV remote, by the way, was invented to allow you to control as many as six devices at one time, like the Blue Ray DVD, the old DVD, the VHS unit, the TV and the iPod stereo system. But it doesn’t work. I have 30 remote controls in my house, one for every gadget I bought and 10 more that were supposed to synchronize them.

Technology was supposed to improve the way we communicate.

Well, my iPad may have more power than all of the computers combined that they used to send Neil Armstrong to the Moon in 1969.

But at what price?

(Catch Ray Hanania every Sunday morning between 8 and 11 am on WNZK AM 1240 Radio to discuss this and other topics.)

This post has already been read 60 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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