Up the Missouri with my GPS

I finally got myself a smartphone. Its name is HTC Hero and I love it. I'd of course been pining for the iPhone since I was technologically leapfrogged by my own mother getting one some years ago, but I joined my wife's family's plan with Sprint and through a rigorous investigation:

me: does this phone let me do the finger-pinchy thing?
Sprint store guy: yes. And instant NFL updates and game broadcasts.
me: [returning signed-contract and nodding vigorously]

I have the Hero. Honestly, I wouldn't trade it for the iPhone. Why? Google has become the lynchpin of my technologically-assisted organizational structure, ala Aliens' Ripley in the loading dock suit. Yes, yes, hooray for me, but I digress. Shortly before acquiring this new phone, I started reading Undaunted Courage [Steven Ambrose] about Lewis and Clark's expedition to the new American West.
In some ways, the story is undercutting the heroic notions I had about them, but a lot of that is due to the anglo-centric attitude that wasn't really questioned back then. More than that though, I'm even more impressed with my new phone and its Google Sky Map app, which lets me stare at the sky with my GPS-located and gyroscopic phone matching my view in front of me with a corresponding map of the stars, planets and constellations. I'm positive if either Meriwether Lewis or Thomas Jefferson had seen this feature, they would've messed their britches in astonishment. Similarly, it would take some explaining on my part if I showed them how I purchased school textbooks online with the Amazon app, for less than the cost of those right in front of me at the Hunter bookstore. I guess my point is that this level of connectivity is even more stupefying when held up to the image of Lewis taking map measures with his sextant and chronograph. At the same time, the unknowing that his party moved forward with is of a type that we in the information age will never know. Also, the buffalo meat.

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