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Sign of the Times

Last week BBC's Click programme showed (6m 38s) a one year old iPad user confused by a print magazine where she couldn't 'flick' the pages: a sign of the times.

Print media have been in decline for some time, long enough to worry the staff at my local Waterstones bookshop who don't know what to make of it all. They are physical book devotees. Even when I tell them how easily it is to annotate and manage the annotations on the Kindle application and how I can even do that on my iPhone, they are unimpressed.

Looking around the carriage on the London Underground as I type this, people are prodding and flicking at their mobile phones. A couple of middle aged travellers flick copies of the Times or Guardian on their tablet PCs. Others stare bored at the reflections in the windows. A sign of the times.

About two thirds of all mobile phones now purchased in the UK are smartphones. And I guess, like me, people rapidly become addicted to them and they become a vade mecum--an essential companion.

We are all riding the wireless wave that is transforming the way we live our lives and making the online world as real and immediate as the real world. Judging by my travelling companions, the online world is sometimes to be preferred: a sign of the times.

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