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.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
Ray Hanania