The end of boredom

Portable media devices, whether Ipods, portable gaming devices, phones with all their features, or whatever have solved what has been a generations old nuisance for all of us, boredom.

We have our little devices and now we are never bored. We dont find ourselves staring off into space unoccupied, wondering what to do. We dont find ourselves muttering about how bored we are sitting on the train, or on a plane, trying to do anything to make the time go by more quickly.

Our little mobile devices are so popular because they are the ultimate, continuous distraction. They are the easiest cure for boredom.

Check your email. Call your friend. Play a game on your phone or PSP. Watch a movie on your Ipod. It doesnt matter where you are anymore. You always have at least one.

When we leave the house now, its keys, wallet, phone/pda/IPod, lock the door. The minute we have nothing better to do, or our mind starts to wander, regardless of where we are, meetings, events, elevator, exercise bike, walking down the street, out it comes.

When we have to do something that we want to go by quickly, like those 45 mins on the bike. Out it comes. You dont care how big the screen is, you just want to be distracted…and maybe catch up on your favorite show or watch the video of the kids soccer match

We are going to become increasingly dependent on these devices not because we think they are amazing or wonderful, but because they are there. They do their job. They distract us.

Portable video will be successful not because it will siphon off viewing from traditional tv. Portable video sells and will sell in increasing numbers because its a better cure for boredom, and a better distraction than just music, or just a phone, or just games.

Daydreaming and zoning out arent dead and gone, but they now have a soundtrack anda video

89 thoughts on “The end of boredom

  1. Sorry, Didn\’t read rules earlier http://procapperschallenge.com/summary.php?id=138

    Comment by laptop ac adapters -

  2. I full y agree with you but I would like to see something like all in one package. I dont line having my wallet and that mp3 player and my cell phone all inside my pocket. I would like that someoen create all in one combo. So I can pay stuff that I but with that device, watch movies, play games, listen mp3s etc🙂

    Comment by ola -

  3. Gadgets are cool and fun and all, but I don’t remember being bored before them. Reading, writing, speaking and thinking prevent boredom as well, and are more constructive.
    Anyone who would be bored without gadgets is probably fairly boring themselves.

    Comment by lauren -

  4. Prefer to use the old noggin myself when I need to remember things. If’n ya want to listen to music, sit in the woods on a windy evening and mother nature will play you some wonderful tunes. None ever exactly same either.

    Comment by Golf - Guy -

  5. We may have a constant sountrack to vibe to as we Travolta-strut down the block, or imagine the opera that is the life of the Walmart cashier, but is our evolution going to be enahanced by these revolutions, or simply become a world of revolting isolation?

    I hate to be “that guy” – but I fear for the kids of today – Oversaturation of the brain with images and information is very good in many ways, but at the end of the day, unless you remember to breathe – you die. It works the same way for the brain – if a mchine is constanlty “feeding and breathing” for you, eventually you wont remember how to do it for yourself.

    Lets remember to breathe and create our own soundtracks, our own entertainment – watch our own High Defintion life – otherwise, what’s gonna happen one day when you pull the plug?

    Comment by J -

  6. I have this duality of (approval) when it’s for me and (disapproval) when my kids can’t figure out how to pass the time without portable prod’s)… The tension between how we grew up (and) how they are growing up seems like an interesting place to comment further Mark.

    Comment by Mike -

  7. JR Ewing-

    “All of those items are so overated and overly used by the suits that have over 20% of bodyfat on them. It makes them think, feel, and look like they are educated when in looking at them, most should not even be considered “real people”.”

    Strangely enough, people who wear suits to work tend to have lower body fat than the the average of their age group.

    “Do you really need to check e-mail from a cell phone? What is the point of text messaging? It all originates from people trying to act more important than they are.”

    The most active users of these features are teenagers and people in other countries. In Eastern Africa, text messaging is used as a way of paying bills because it’s the most reliable ubiquitous infrastructure. The Chinese send billions of text messages a year. But maybe they are all just trying to seem important.

    -JD

    Comment by Johnny Debacle -

  8. The end of boredom… unless you’re poor.
    Gadgets cost money. The services they provide cost money. The poor kids will learn to talk and interact with other humans where the middle and rich kids get carpel tunnel and no social skilz.

    Always the cynic,
    -BP

    Comment by Bill Paul -

  9. I turned on my iPod about 2 paragraphs into this blog…

    Comment by Jef -

  10. my dsl connection helps.

    what do you use to acccess the internet – dls, cable, other?

    Comment by nate -

  11. Why do I need to grab keys, wallet, phone/pda/iPod? Shouldn’t it just be keys, wallet, and phone? The price of ending boredom shouldn’t be carry more stuff. You should be able to carry something around that lets you communicate/listen to audio/watch video. A converged device that’s truly mobile, meaning no wires. That’s the ticket to ending boredom.

    Comment by Stan Sorensen -

  12. Almost every positive thing I’ve done in my life has been a result of boredom. But I am conflicted like many of you. Boredom seems to be relative. If you’ve grown up with a PDA and the internet, won’t that bore you before long?

    This was a great post. I don’t agree with everything in it, but this discussion is top notch.

    Comment by Steve Poland -

  13. It’s just a way for us introverts to tune out from the rest of society and stay in our own little world. If anything it shows where society is going, and any of you entrepreneurs should be looking in that general direction. Now if there was anyway I could grasp the same information by listening versus reading (see hypnopedia) then the iPod would really take off.

    Comment by Ty -

  14. Hey Mark….what’s your take on Satellite Radio?

    Comment by MattyD -

  15. my wife hates my blackberry because i’m on it so much. but cant help it i’m hooked. quick access to scores, movie times, directions.
    but of all the gadgets mentioned is there one for less then $300?, i havent invested in an ipod yet, maybe if i keep up with my new years resolutions (exercising, and not likely) i will invest in one. dont travel enough for a PSP.
    i guess people like me with less money still find ways to entertain themselves when bored.
    -luis
    http://www.miaspartyrentals.com

    Comment by Luis -

  16. Not to sound too old fashioned, but what happened to reading during spare time?

    Don’t get me wrong, I just bought an iPod video and have it with me way more than whatever book I’m reading.

    Comment by Jon Gray -

  17. Just saw an ad for this device that let’s you watch your TV shows from any PC.

    http://www.slingmedia.com/

    Comment by Eddie Galimi -

  18. iPod(tm) = bad
    Like the walkman and transistor radio before it, the iPod is another creation of the mass media and marketing that encourages people to tune out of the public sphere entirely.

    In certain circumstances, this behavior may be acceptable (on a stationary bike, when studying, other alone times in a space that is private or where an enhanced presumption of privacy exists in a public space (libaries).

    If you are in public, you have a responsibility to not necessarily make yourself available to others for conversation, but at least to take note of your surroundings periodically.

    Personally, I’ve never been bored on a train or plane or on a car ride. I read, or if I’m alone, I pop in a CD or tune into talk radio (WEEI or Air America). But that has limits too. You have to know when to turn the damn volume down and open the sunroof, or turn to the person next to you and talk about twelve more dead in a Blackhawk downing in Iraq, domestic spying on US citizens without due process protections, the latest recess appointments that couldn’t make it through an all Republican rubber stamp approval process, the mayor’s latest kooky rant, or when they’re finally going to extend the blue line to the North Shore.

    Is it convenient to have all your music in one place? Yeah, I have all mine in my computer hooked up to my entertainment center. About 50gigs from my own CD and LP collection. But hauling that around with me would ensure that I was negligent in my responsibilities as a citizen.

    Comment by Jeremy G -

  19. Mark –
    I’ll hope you’ll forgive the comment non-sequitor … but I just read your July-ish post about podcasting. With respect, here’s why you’re wrong:

    1. Major consumer ‘portals’ for audio and video podcasts now exist: iTunes, Yahoo Podcasts, etc. Pseudo, >EN (gasp, dare I even mentioned them?) etc. did not have this aggregated push. There was no ‘center of gravity’ for content. Or put it another way: iTunes has succeeded in distributing media over the net in an unprecedented manner, and they are now pushing podcasts. If you look at Yahoo’s podcast top 100, you’ll see many non major-media brands / podcasts there (iTunes’ top 100 is suspect, imho).
    2. Cheap bandwidth, cheap pro-level production equipment. It’s amazing how little it costs to deliver now — and RedSwoosh, etc. might help indy casters deliver even richer media at larger numbers. Little guys aren’t punished for popularity with monster bandwidth bills anymore. Bandwidth and overspending on production killed DEN (among other things, of course, but the economics of those two things made their model unworkable, minus the other shenanigans)
    3. Massive proliferation of untethered devices: iPods, etc. This is a biggie. Streamed media cannot be heard in the car, at the gym, etc. The consumption pattern of podcasts is largely untethered.

    In short, I think there is a confluence of factors that make content plays much more realistic now. Pointing at Pseudo and others I think is not as applicable as it looks at first glance. Podcasters and networks of podcasters will have some significant successes in late ’06, possibly ’07.

    Comment by Mark Jeffrey -

  20. Mark, maybe you should have titled the above article, “I Want a New Drug.” We have become a nation of tech junkies.

    But it was daydreaming and boredom that sparked the creation of of all the devices we simply can’t live without. An inventor or writer or entertainer was jogging down the street, unencumbered by a cell phone or Ipod and up from the inner silence bubbled a Eureka moment. The jogger got home and invented a vaccine or medical machine or a Pet Rock. The answer came from within.

    We belong in our imaginations. We belong in silence. These are the places where G-D whispers his secrets to us. Speaking in the tongue of healing. We’ve become so afraid of listening to our own inner dialogue, or bathing in our internal seas that our emotions and intuition are like far away strangers to us.

    All the technology in the world didn’t save the Tsunami victims. But some tribes survived. Why? Because they listened to the earth when it spoke to them. They noticed animal behavior changing. In tune with themselves and their environment.

    Our society is splintering at a rapid pace and distraction now reigns to such a degree, that we are becoming isolated from our partners, friends and ultimately the planet.

    Comment by Heth Weinstein -

  21. FUTURE MINDS

    When left to their own “devices”
    Our children of the future will need
    A sprinkling of time, just like spices
    To remember classic authors and read.

    Every generation does a service
    To the ones before it and hence
    When they learn what made forebears nervous
    And write works about common sense.

    Teach your children to make valuable time
    To waste not the words left behind
    By authors whose riches were present dime
    But their words priceless to mankind.

    M.N./2006
    (An original work for “BlogMaverick Comments”)

    Comment by Mark -

  22. Marks taking his free SURVEY to see if he should get in the portable personal device biz or just invest or partner with someone already in it. I would too if I had HDTV.

    Boredom is somewhat a catalyst,but the real driver of these portable personal devices is to be able to escape the office,HOME,etc. and still be respondsible and have some freedom from being tied down.. YOU can tell the billionaires , didn’t you see MARK walking around the CES convention in vegas last week,with a signifant or unsignificant other wearing two belts to carry all of Marks portable personal devices. lol …

    Comment by Ron D -

  23. Good post, Mark. I like how you didn’t judge whether this was a good or bad thing.
    I spent a semester in in the bush in Burkina Faso, Africa and I was amazed by how badly I needed distractions. It wasn’t enough to just sit and talk with people, but I wanted to watch TV and be entertained. Perhaps its not boredom we are combating, but having to take stock of our lives and see if they are meaningful. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think on my deathbed I’m going to say, “I wish I would have listened to my iPod more.”

    Comment by Clint -

  24. I sense that now that i’ve entered the MP3 player world that going to the gym will be less of a chore because my music source is smaller and it holds more music, plus I can set it up to have specific songs for the gym and not have to skip past the slow songs on the cd.

    Comment by Amy -

  25. Get a nice vicodin addiction and you’ll never be bored as every moment is a happy one.

    Comment by JR Ewing -

  26. Note to HD Goddess….

    I completely understand what you’re saying….Those [little green pills] really do ‘Numb out reality’. Why just last night I popped two Nyquil gelcaps….I now understand why the directions suggest not operating heavy machinery. The good news is, I didn’t ‘feel anything’….

    You know, I used to dream about meeting the HD Goddess. Some people complain about the quality of HD, while a few still gripe about the cost. Not me, I find HD to be an inexpensive, satisfying treat! When watching sports on the tele, I prefer HD and a cold beer….That combination always hits the spot! To be frank, I’ve always preferred the Ballpark variety. What about you?

    ….I am speaking with the HD….errr….Hotdog Goddess….Correct?😉

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  27. It’s all about not having to feel anything, it used to be only the TV [and those little green pills] that filled that role…but now our ‘tools’ are more varied. ‘Numb out reality’ should probably replace ‘In God We Trust’ on our currency…that’s more what we use it for.

    Comment by HD Goddess -

  28. I love these comments. Though I’m conflicted on both accounts. For starters, I work in a dead-end job where I usually just surf the internet to keep myself occupied. Without the Internet, I would be BORED out of my mind.

    However, I think that to always be distracted by something will limit one’s ability to think and create. If you’re always being bombarded by sound, video, anything, your ability to think and reflect is greatly diminished.

    I personally own a cell phone; however, I don’t play games on it. I do own an MP3 player, an iRiver; however there are no videos on it. I do own a laptop; but it doesn’t own me.

    You can own all of these “distraction” products, and use them for good use. Like many other people have stated, it is up to parents to ensure that their kids aren’t given everything they want.

    I never had a portable DVD player in the car. I had to create games with my siblings. And if got out of hand, I got punished – not rewarded by having my parents put on a DVD.

    Damn spoiled kids…

    Comment by Darryl Williams -

  29. From a business/practical perspective the devices are fantastic. The ability to stay connected to your work and connected to people when you are away is extremely valuable. Someone can hit me immediately by email on my blackberry and not tie me up for a 30 minute phone conversation and I can respond when I have time. On the other hand, the key word there is when you are “away”. I have seen those devices to be a horrible distraction and even a hindrance to productivity in our meetings and general work. You look around the meeting room and 3 of the 5 people are chipmunking! (two hands on the device and both thumbs clicking away.) Not to mention the things buzzing and beeping constantly. Then there is music (ipod). As Mark pointed out, that makes that 45 minutes on the bike blow by. America is the most out of shape country in the world. If it keeps us active I am all for it. Besides, ipods are just cool, who doesn’t want to have their whole music collection right there. Finally, portable gaming devices. They have one good use, occupy the kids when they have to do adult activities for long periods. That is in short spurts of course. That goes back to the out of shape thing. Kids need to outside like they use to or reading, not staring at a screen. As many here have said, we are over stimulated already. When don’t have to be, we need to rest and recover to be ready for stimulating again. Otherwise people put down the gadgets and back away slowly….

    Comment by Todd Richardson -

  30. My best time for creative thought is to rent a car and hit a highway to anywhere out of NYC, and I am assured of coming up with countless big ideas that I document along the way. I won’t let any device interrupt that.

    Comment by Mark -

  31. To elaborate on my comment above….

    If anyone cares, here is a link to the (outdoor) drive-in movie theatre I mentioned in my previous post….

    http://www.marysvilledrivein.com/

    I’m all of 36 years old, but I’ve been going to that drive-in since I was a kid. It’s a real shame that we are gradually losing pieces of our All American, Apple Pie culture. I don’t find much solace in a cracker-sized-screen-to-go….I’d still prefer the supersize…and yeah I’ll take some apple pie with that. Call me nostalgic….

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  32. I think all these distractions are making people more uninteresting. It kills culture, privacy and sense of self.

    Comment by sarah -

  33. Yeah?

    And gone with boredom are the days of creativity. When people had the unfortunate opportunity to stare off into space, there was that chance that they might actually start to think.

    To think, and not have their minds constantly occupied by things that ultimately either don’t matter, or could wait.

    With this free time, this disparate void, people start to think about different things. Maybe they decide they want to start writing? Or drawing?

    Maybe they want to get rid of this awful down time by playing an instrument, or a sport, or something.

    Heaven forbid anything productive come out of just sitting down and doing nothing.

    And what’s wrong with just sitting down and doing nothing?

    Nothing.

    Comment by Alex -

  34. Its become nirvana for those of us who now can openly enjoy our ADHD . . .

    I never have to excuse my own lack of focus, between email interuptions, cell calls, iPods, blackberry. Most people (mis) understand the gadgetry as technology, rather than an inability to concentrate, to focus, to tolerate boredom for even a second.

    Bad behavior is no longer caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — its PDAD — personal digital attention distraction.

    Oh, and the PC amongst you offended by my nonchlant use of the phrase ADHD — save your emails; Speak to my mother.

    Comment by Barry Ritholtz -

  35. While I’m an avid crackberry user (especially now that I got the new 8700c (see my post on this: http://people.tribe.net/p-air/blog&topicId=75ae0542-d223-4d39-8baf-ceb6fa6e1c09), my biggest concern is w/all this time spent accessing and reading information, or listening and watching distractions off of our devices, what happens to our time for reflection from whence invention often comes?😦

    Comment by P-Air -

  36. I like alot of Marks comments, but saying that portable devices will end boredom is silly. This Ipod/PSP era isn’t anything new.

    There were plenty of portable devices in the 80’s and 90’s (how we forget about the walkman, gameboy, atari lynx, sega game gear with TV tuner). Even a deck of cards or a newspaper.

    I’m very skeptical of the portable video hype. Who’s going to want to watch an exciting NBA game on a little tiny screen? How would you celebrate with your friends after seeing a game winning shot? The format will never lend itself to sports.

    Comment by John -

  37. It’s refreshing to read varying opinions regarding technological innovation and gadgetry. As a Blog Maverick regular, I often grow weary of reading all the typical brown-nosed comments i.e….”Another great post Mark”….”Keep up the good work”….”and oh, by the way, check out the link to my site.” Can you say agenda?….What a load of crap! To be fair, I’m sellin’ as well, so perhaps there’s a hint of the “pot calling the kettle black” going on here….LOL.

    At any rate, I digress. Concerning modern gadgetry….I’m not so certain that technological advancement is always such a great thing. Perhaps the supposed “end of boredom” also signals the end of the attention span. People are evolving (or devolving) and becoming increasingly scatter-brained. Too much stimuli; information overload. These days it is difficult to have a meaningful conversation without being interupted by a cell phone, a pager, or a wandering attention span, whether it be theirs or yours.

    THE SIDE EFFECTS OF INNOVATION….The Movie-Going Experience….

    Is it possible that new age gadgetry is partially responsible for the decline in movie theatre ticket sales? I think most people would agree that “going to the movies” aint what it used to be….and it’s getting worse….

    I, for one, believe theatres need to implement some sort of “check your gadgets at the door” policy. At least require people to turn stuff off before entering the show! Peer pressure enforcement needs to become a societal standard. If your phone goes off during a movie and fellow movie-goers are forced to endure your “ill” chosen “Ice, Ice, Baby” ringtone (interpret “ill” as you’d like)….Guess what, you’re out, no refund. What about little Johnny pointing his red laser light at the screen during the film….Later dude. Play a game on your cell phone because your scatter-brain has lost interest in the flick….Hasta!

    These “little” gadget induced annoyances clearly ruin the movie-going experince and can make an otherwise mild mannered person downright hostile! I don’t know how many times I’ve entered a theatre excited to see a new film, only to leave the experience with an overwhelming desire to open a can of “corn fed, country boy whoop ass” on lil’ Johnny and chatterbox Kathy. (Obviously Kathy would have to be a man, or a very muscular woman😛 )

    My point is this….Not all “innovation” is a good thing. At the very least, advancement often comes with a hidden cost. Not so long ago, I was able to drive to a local drive-in movie theatre and watch 2 films for the price of 1, all in the noiseless comfort of my own vehicle. Those days are fading, that particular drive-in is now closed….Oh well, I’m sure that “old time” theatre will soon be replaced by a new and improved Walmart Superstore. There I’ll be able to buy new gadgets to replace what was lost….I won’t feel bored, only distracted. The funny thing is I wouldn’t be able to share my opinion with all of you if it weren’t for the new age technology called the internet. Now that’s what you call ironic….

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  38. Boredom is a choice that we make, it is not a condition that happens to us. Each and every situation that we find ourselves in we make a choice of either being engaged or being bored.

    Those choices are obviously affected by not only the situation (a gunfight *commands* our utmost attention where eating breakfast on the patio does not) but what we had for breakfast, whether we fought with our spouse the night before, etc. But regardless of the situation we have a choice – to engage or to zone out.

    In that context the gadgets give us the illusion that boredom is gone because we can be, not necessarily are, engaged and focused on something rather than completely zoning out. But that is simply illusion becase we not engaged in our situation, we are engaged with the gadget.

    Comment by Mr. Wobbet -

  39. I’m a big fan of boredom. That is why I live in the middle of nowhere with no cell, pda, or i-pod. Not sure how long I will be able to resist the i-pod though.

    I am starting to think that boredom is the opposite of stress. Alot of stress can be unhealthy. Myself, I’ve never been stressed out while I was bored.

    I am enjoying reading this blog, especially since it’s not boring.

    Comment by Haake -

  40. Mark, how does HDNet thrive in an unwired world of portable devices?
    thanks

    Comment by Jed Petrick -

  41. I second commenter #2. People need time simply to reflect and to be. It’s up to adults – especially those who are parents – to use these devices wisely, and not to use them as an excuse for over-stimulation.

    Comment by Jay Allen -

  42. As great as technology and gadgets can be, I have noticed that more and more people are being anti-social or disconnected with the people and environment around them. With iPod in hand, they can simple check-out of reality.

    Just like all things, there is a time and a place to enjoy these wonderful gadgets, however not all will learn the proper responsibility of when and where to use these devices. And no, I am not calling for laws, but purely a hope and a wish that people will learn to police themselves, from friend to friend, from parent to child and in some cases child to parent.

    It’s like the NBA Dress code…this was put in because this was getting out of control. Sometimes we must sacrifice being bored in order to have a better environment for all.

    Comment by 92bDad -

  43. I agree that they distract us but they distract us for good. I guess…

    Comment by Niranjan Kunwar -

  44. Right now another good way for fight against boredom is reading your blog everyday with my wireless conection from wherever I stay.

    Comment by Jordi Florenza -

  45. Boredom has been replaced by informaton overload and burnout, which then leads back to boredom as you become afraid to confront the piles of information coming at you from every direction.

    Comment by Robert Oschler -

  46. Rock On Mr. Cuban…You “Get It”…jmho

    “…I think the challenge is to think about how we can help get technology and information access to those who do not have it yet. Not so that they can simply avoid being bored (I bet many of the people that have never heard what a PDA or iPod are less bored than those who have them) but so that they can improve their standard of living…”

    GO MAVS!

    All the best and keep up the great work for the “average ordinary folks and fans…”

    SOG

    Comment by Sonofgodzilla -

  47. The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people ~Karl Marx

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  48. I disagree with comment 10. Friedrich Nietzsche was an artist. Being an Artist myself, sometimes true art evolves from boredom. The iPod will never die.

    Prohibition stopped alcohol from the main stream in the 30’s for a while. However, with Six billion people in this world today, the majority still wonders what the purpose of life is and why we are here. So to supplement that void we utilize the iPod or Jack Daniels. Whatever your preference…. I choose the iPod.

    Comment by Matt -

  49. It is a shame that people’s everyday social skills are going to quickly become the victim of all of the gadgets mark has described. I think it is a far bigger problem than people will admit but at the same time nobody really seems to care.

    Comment by Craig -

  50. While “we” may be you, many people you know, and most of the people that read your blog, there are many in this country (and world) who still just leave home with their keys and wallet. Over 30% (90 million or so) of the people in the US still do not use the Internet. A hundred or so million Americans do not have a cell phone (~190 mil do, ~150 mil a color screen one). About 12 months ago I was in an MBA class where 14 of 17 people did not know what a Tivo was and never heard of it.

    Its easy to think that what you or a small circle around you does is the norm or average while this is often not the case. You can still make a lot of money thinking this way.

    I think the challenge is to think about how we can help get technology and information access to those who do not have it yet. Not so that they can simply avoid being bored (I bet many of the people that have never heard what a PDA or iPod are less bored than those who have them) but so that they can improve their standard of living.

    Comment by Brian -

  51. All of those items are so overated and overly used by the suits that have over 20% of bodyfat on them. It makes them think, feel, and look like they are educated when in looking at them, most should not even be considered “real people”.

    Do you really need to check e-mail from a cell phone? What is the point of text messaging? It all originates from people trying to act more important than they are.

    Kind of like some GM’s in professionalsports that coulsn’t put together a winning neighborhood softball team, but know someone important so that automatically mkaes them qualified.

    Go figure, it’s an age of weakness.

    Comment by JR Ewing -

  52. I have come to really enjoy this blog and I agree with most of it. One quick comment on the elimination of boredom: it ain’t happening.

    As someone once wrote, against boredom the gods themselves contend in vain.

    That iPod-w/e is cool right now but it won’t be next week.

    Comment by C Little -

  53. Thanks for all.

    Comment by ANLAT -

  54. You know, boredom is a thing of the past, but, I also find myself having to make time and turn all my gadgets off. You can get a little bit caught up in just mindless tinkering, playing, surfing, listening, deleting, etc… Between my laptop (which is on 18 hrs a day), my Blackberry, and my cell phone, I need to pull myself away for an hour or so. That’s why I try to pick up some books and have non digital entertainment.

    Comment by Mark Goodchild -

  55. There is a great line from the Mamet movie, ‘State & Main,’ where one of the characters says:

    “Everybody makes their own fun. If you don’t make it yourself, it isn’t fun. It’s entertainment.”

    There is nothing wrong with being entertained, but I feel that all these gadgets have tipped the balance from away from creating our own fun and to a more passive approach where we sit and stare at a screen, instead of taking an empty vessel and pouring our own creativity into it.

    I say: lets tip the balance back where we can take our creativity and pour them into our gadgets.

    ’nuff said…I’m off to play with my child’s Lincoln Logs and build a small city.

    Comment by Scott Landman -

  56. There is a great line from the Mamet movie, ‘State & Main,’ where one of the characters says:

    “Everybody makes their own fun. If you don’t make it yourself, it isn’t fun. It’s entertainment.”

    There is nothing wrong with being entertained, but I feel that all these gadgets have tipped the balance from away from creating our own fun and to a more passive approach where we sit and stare at a screen, instead of taking an empty vessel and pouring our own creativity into it.

    I say: lets tip the balance back where we can take our creativity and pour them into our gadgets.

    ’nuff said…I’m off to play with my child’s Lincoln Logs and build a small city.

    Comment by Scott Landman -

  57. I agree that there will be a place in the world for portable video. Do you think the demand for video will ever catch up with audio?

    Comment by Sean -

  58. Gotta offer a refute to this, as posted in my blog a few days ago http://www.andydenton.com/2006/01/3x5s.html.

    I have just about all of those gadgets you speak about, and use them often. I’m currently trying to ween myself off of them. With all the gadgets at my side I find myself acting more robotic and less human. You wouldn’t believe how often I pull my blackberry from my hip for no apparent reason. It’s nearly become a nervous tick.

    Here’s to becoming more human in 2006. Mark one on the board for daydreaming.

    Comment by Andy -

  59. An invention from not too long ago that today seems to be in short supply among the masses used to take care of boredom quite fine. It was imagination. Today, kids are not taught to develop or use theirs. Dollhouses come with sound effects that kick in when you move a doll or item near specific spots.

    Comment by Brian -

  60. I wonder if eyebuds will make it into this category…
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10679894/

    Comment by scott -

  61. I still remember when a newspaper or a paperback book served the same purpose, but now those media can’t come close to the immediate gratification of the digital devices.

    But a good paperback still has its advantages — lower price (than a new CD or DVD), very lightweight, no need to recharge, instant “on/off,” it can even survive a spill into the pool or ocean!!

    Comment by Ken Carpenter -

  62. There’s a fine line between distraction by gadget and the death of time to think.

    Long live reflection, even if it’s only in the slightly scratched screen of your video iPod.

    Comment by Alex Bellinger -

  63. In your opinion, is this “end of boredom” a good or bad thing?

    Comment by Chris -

  64. You look around the meeting room and 3 of the 5 people are chipmunking! (two hands on the device and both thumbs clicking away.) Not to mention the things buzzing and beeping constantly. Then there is music (ipod).

    Comment by runescape money -

  65. Someone can hit me immediately by email on my blackberry and not tie me up for a 30 minute phone conversation and I can respond when I have time. On the other hand, the key word there is when you are “away”. I have seen those devices to be a horrible distraction and even a hindrance to productivity in our meetings and general work.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  66. Enjoyed reading the postings on this blog, which I ran into by googling “boredom.”

    I’m a developmental psychophysiologist who has written about and researched boredom’s interrelation with perception/attention, behavior, creativity, hyperactivity, violence, disease, and development/evolution (including cultural and technologic development/evolution).

    I think this group of bloggers might find my perspectives of boredom to be of interest. I’ve put up some of my ideas on my website boredominterest.net. See especially the page “Center for the Study of Boredom, Interest, and Entertainment.”

    Other writings, including a paper I recently presented to the 50th annual meeting of the International Society for Systems Sciences in Sonoma (California) can be accessed on-line off of Google.

    My name can be Googled for reference to other writings on boredom, including an interview I had recently with Michael Crowley of the New Republic. Crowley incorporated a small part of the interview he did with me in an article entitled “Prison Break,” the focus of which is the focus of this blog.

    I look forward to future posts on this blog. Terrific to see so many people talking about boredom. It’s a taboo topic in most of our institutions (education, medicine, business, government, etc.).

    Augustin de la Pena

    Comment by Augustin de la Pena -

  67. yes very good work very usefull!

    Comment by praca -

  68. Thank goodness for technology. What did they do back in the day before the cell phone? And, technology will just get more advanced. Can’t wait to see what the future holds.

    Comment by gigabull -

  69. Probably you cay say that boredom was now eradicated from existance. We all now have the alternative solution to divert ourselves into a more lively per minute of our lives. We don’t anymore leave our hands empty with so much things to do. That was what technology brought in to this world, from our own articulative ideas that escapes from boredom. Unlike before we can only look for a typical partner on our neighborhood or to any social gatherings. Now technology brought us internet like chat, emails and webdate*com. Bringing closer people even from far away distances.

    Comment by Edz -

  70. What ever happened to reading a book?

    Comment by whales -

  71. This is the end of boredom, or should i say the begining of the end… and what do you know, it’s a good thing. These “devices” were created for that exact reason, to pass time to ammuse and they continue making gross profits of the multi billions because people don’t want to be bored.

    I came across this page from typing bordom into a google search. I was bored, sitting at a computer and found something to pass my time. The thing is, the iPods, Cd’s, PSP’s… what ever will only last so long. Soon there will need to be something better, I am sitting here typing with my music blaring ni my ears because it simply isn’t enough. I don’t get ammused by just music. Where talking about the psychological problem of stimulation, because our world is changing where a mind is constantly stimulated the state of “boredom” comes on a lot quicker, your at work, working you come home, turn on the T.V the only time someones mind stops is when they sleep… It isn’t meant to be that way. The stimulous of reading a book is far less… (for lack of a better word) “damaging” then that of a telivision. Stimulous is a good thing, constant stimulous is dangerous.

    Comment by Aces on high -

  72. I’ve been a “closet” kid my whole life, and I socialize just fine, when I want to. 😉 I have a whole box of gadgets, yes, in a box. They are not being used, period. I have two out that I use… my laptop and my 5th generation iPod. You know, it always comes back to the simple things in life… health, happiness, and love. Those three things keep me entertained plenty. When I’m bored, I take a drive to the lake or yes, you guessed it, go by another “gadget” for the box. 😉

    Comment by Daniel -

  73. I agree Dan. Are we slowly becoming a society of non-thinkers?

    Comment by college blackout -

  74. Ipods, video ipods, Archos jukeboxes may be the end of boredom, but they may also be the end of thinking. Whenever I had free time I used to think about different issues and problems, and then shared my conclusions with others. Now I just turn on my ipod or read a book on my Pocket PC. This is simply bad. So.. I banned e-books from my Pocket PC. I also started to take my ipod with me only about 30% of the times I go out. I just take a small paper notebook instead. The time I spend thinking about stuff has increased and so have the results.

    Comment by Dan -

  75. An interesting read. Are people that afraid to think and be alone with their own thoughts? Perhaps another perspective, as a baby you have a pacifier or suck your thumb, then do you down grade to an ipod or similar device. At least with your thumb as a baby you may think for yourself. One last thought, if we removed the word “like” from peoples vocabulary could they have a conversation?

    Comment by Gadge -

  76. Like several other commentors, I wonder about how the death of idle time with affect creativity, imagination, and progress.

    If necessity is the mother of invention, then boredom is the fellow that knocked her up.

    How many times have you had a brilliant idea pop into your brain when you were bored?

    Chris
    http://inanethoughtsandinsaneramblings.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Chris -

  77. Just kick back in a hammock and read a book!

    Comment by v7ndotcom-elursrebmem -

  78. the problem is that someone else is doing the dreaming for you.

    Comment by alan -

  79. What ever happened to reading a book?

    Comment by Jay Mani -

  80. What ever happened to reading a book?

    Comment by Jay Mani -

  81. Hey Vijay Shravah, the interview was on ESPN2, not TNT.

    Comment by Tom Borish -

  82. My Confession….

    There’s no time to be bored these days. The pace of the world–so fast, ever changing–like quicksilver.

    I wasn’t able to keep up, I didn’t adjust, I failed….

    I withdrew from the world the day my mom passed away. She and I were close….It’s so hard to let go….

    I’ve been lost for too long….Holed up in my apartment, trading stocks, living off credit, avoiding life….I failed. Three days from now, I’ll have no place to live….I can’t believe it, and I’m sorry….

    Before they shut off my internet, I wanted to share two poems I wrote. The first is a verse I penned after the passing of my wonderful mom, Marion. The second poem was inspired by the girl I’ve always been searching for, but haven’t yet found. Take care and goodbye for now, Jim.

    “Mother’s Gate”

    The gate creaks welcome no more
    ’cause time has unhinged the withered door
    Unchained, this great ghost,
    unearthed from her post,
    fenced in, no longer, no more

    Copyright ©2006 James Gary Parham Jr

    “My Forever”

    Tender her touch,
    a faint whisper in ear
    Her touch, a faint whisper,
    tender and dear

    Her eyes dance as wildflowers,
    joy in spring breeze
    Her hair flows as rivers,
    long for the seas

    Her smile a sunset,
    warm colors my heart
    Her love forever,
    pray I, never to part

    Copyright ©2006 James Gary Parham Jr

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  83. Hey Mark, please read what I have to say, because it would mean a lot to me.

    I saw your interview with Stephen A. Smith on TNT today, and I gotta say that you got me re-thinking what I’m doing. Right now, I’m an Aerospace Engineering major at the University of Michigan, but my real passion is the NBA. Owning an NBA Team or working for the NBA in general would be an absolute dream for me. But your perspective on marketing and how important it is for the league to recruit some “new blood” to boost its marketability was very interesting. I really think that I got a grasp of your take on how to improve the NBA, and I totally agree and wish I could help. I just would like to know how someone in my position would be able to get the great opportunity to become the owner of an NBA team, because I really think that I’m smart and skillful enough (I am gonna be a rocket scientist, after all) to really make a difference in the NBA. I feel like I know everything that any ordinary person could know about it. If you have the time, please give me some advice about how someone in my position would be (eventually) able to get a prestigious job in the NBA in the future.

    Comment by Vijay Shravah -

  84. Sorry,
    Didn’t read rules earlier
    http://procapperschallenge.com/summary.php?id=138

    Comment by Keith Nipper -

  85. I feel disturb that most people in DART train beg to turn my PowerBook’s volume turn up. I completed ignore them and try enjoy watch the movie with subtitle on it. Can’t they read it?🙂 I mean, DART train is darn noise when I wear hearing aids. Whoa!!!! Therefore, I turn it off into total slient.

    Comment by PowerSam -

  86. “The end of boredom… unless you’re poor.
    Gadgets cost money. The services they provide cost money. The poor kids will learn to talk and interact with other humans where the middle and rich kids get carpel tunnel and no social skilz.

    Always the cynic,
    -BP”

    I rather like this post, but I wonder what that should be logically leading to. For instance, there may be an implicit claim that rich kids are going to be at a competitive disadvantage because of their lack of social skills.

    When I look around the job marketplace, I see plenty of otherwise terrible candidates getting second looks or thumbs up on a hire because they graduated from BC or Harvard.

    Neither school is producing the kind of quality candidates that they did 20 years ago, but because they have a social network based on their ability to pay, they are equally or more competitive.

    If only kids from the top 20% of income are going to own a PS3 (current rumoured street price is around $500, and you thought an Xbox 360 was expensive) or the latest HD Video iPod with 5 terrabytes of storage, then I think that you will find that their inherited social network is easily going to overwhelm any sort of social disadvantage they may have.

    Comment by Jeremy G -

  87. Rediculous!

    People aren’t ‘bored’ for any reason other than they cannot THINK of a useful and practical use of their time.

    Instead of reading, conversing or thinking of ways to be more productive and profitable (not to mention healthier and more polite), we now have ‘gadgets’ to ‘distract’ us from these ideas.

    Why don’t pre-teens and teenagers go outside and play anymore? Because they have phones and video games and iPods to ‘distract’ them.

    Our education levels are slipping drastically when compared to the Far East, and our levels of obesity and heart problems are rising rapidly.

    Oh, but don’t worry! In fact, INSTEAD of worrying, you can listen to your iPod and send a text message to your fat, lazy friends!

    Comment by Jeff Eskow -

  88. Hey Mark, I just tagged you in 4MEME you have to blog:Four websites I visit daily, Four TV shows I watch, Four TV shows I watch, Four places I’ve been on vacation, Four places I’ve been on vacation, Four books I would read over and over, Four of my favorite foods, Four places I’ve lived, Four jobs I’ve had,

    Comment by Shauli Zacks -

  89. It’s cured boredom, but maybe to our country’s demise. How many kids pick up a book in their free time?

    Comment by biggest fan of randy moss -

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