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From the Archive: Interview with The Baltimore Sun

In honor of their 10th birthday, Google has brought back their oldest available index, from 2001. I decided to search for myself to see what I was up to back then.

I found a few things that I’ll post here on the blog. Below is a hilarious article that I had completely forgotten about. The summer before going to college I was interviewed by a writer for The Baltimore Sun on my use of technology. It’s amazing to read what my perspective was eight years ago, now having a career in the field. Isn’t it a riot how life turns out?

Techware high on back-to-school list

By Rasmi Simhan The Baltimore Sun
Aug 14, 2000

Whitney Hess wants to make life as simple as possible.

She keeps to-do lists, phone numbers and addresses in her Handspring Visor and uses the handheld PC to check local movie listings.

She has a CD writer to “burn” her own albums, a digital camcorder for video editing, and a DVD player built into her laptop for movies on the go.

Should she need to send snail-mail, she can write a letter on her computer and print an address sticker for the envelope with her label writer. But she’s more likely to communicate by e-mail with a wireless gizmo the size of a pager.

“Some people find that gadgets clutter their life and make things more difficult,” she said in a chat over her new cell phone. “But for me they simplify things.”

Hess, a New Yorker who will start her freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in September, is part of a high school generation that grew up wired and is taking its technology to college.

For example, more than half of incoming freshmen will bring a computer to college this fall, compared with 13 percent a decade ago. More than half plan to keep in touch with family and friends by e-mail, compared with 7 percent in 1990, according to the Digital Decade Survey.

The survey, conducted last month by SWR Worldwide and sponsored by Best Buy (which coincidentally sells a lot of these gadgets), looked at the tech habits of 500 students who will be freshmen this fall and 500 adults who started college in 1990.

While Palm Pilots, pagers, cell phones and CD players are far more popular than they were a decade ago (some of these gadgets didn’t even exist in 1990), the personal computer seems to have made the biggest impact on campus.

Almost all schools have computer labs, but for many students, owning a machine is critical for keeping in touch and working on papers late at night.

“Computers make access to everything a whole lot quicker and easier, since everything’s computerized in college,” said Joe Feldmann, an Annapolis (Md.) High graduate who will major in economics at University of Maryland, College Park, this fall. “It’s how professors always get in contact with you.”

For students taking computer science, engineering and related courses, time spent using a computer is time spent learning.

“A lot of what I’ve done with amateur radio and computer exposes me to the way things will be (in the future),” said Michael LaBarre, an incoming freshman at Johns Hopkins who lives in Hereford, Md.

The survey also showed that today’s students are carrying more gadgets that aren’t necessities (at least to parents’ thinking).

For example, 20 percent will tote cell phones, 13 percent will bring portable CD players and more than 10 percent will bring pagers and personal digital assistants, such as the Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor.

I think the article got caught off, but there was more. Can you help me find the rest?

How would you have sounded back then?

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  • http://www.mindspring.com/~dbholzel/index.html David

    Did they quote you correctly, Whitney? ;) And do you REALLY want things as simple as possible? I love the quote marks around “burn.” But I think it's the use of the word “gadgets” that makes this article seem old fashioned.