Abraham Lincoln Speaks Out About The BlackBerry And iPhone - InformationWeek

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Commentary
9/20/2007
04:45 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Abraham Lincoln Speaks Out About The BlackBerry And iPhone

A little while back, I wrote a blog about people who sign their e-mail messages "Sent from my BlackBerry" or "Sent from my iPhone." I questioned whether they're bragging about using the latest technology. Many of you wrote in to set me straight -- but the response I liked best described how Abraham Lincoln addressed this issue 140-plus years ago.

A little while back, I wrote a blog about people who sign their e-mail messages "Sent from my BlackBerry" or "Sent from my iPhone." I questioned whether they're bragging about using the latest technology. Many of you wrote in to set me straight -- but the response I liked best described how Abraham Lincoln addressed this issue 140-plus years ago.

Reader "progan01" wrote:

The desire to let people know you are using mobile technology as a means to impress them is specious, self-serving, and not new.

During the Civil War one general regularly sent back dispatches from the front signed with the closing line, "Headquarters in the saddle."

President Lincoln, not impressed by the general's lack of progress despite his activity, remarked that this general "had his Headquarters where his Hindquarters should be."

The mobile technology that "progran01" describes, is, of course, the then-new telegraph.

A page on Harvard University's Web site confirms the story and adds that the tech-braggart was "the bombastic John Pope, a terrible Union general."

Many of the people who wrote to us said that the reason to put "sent from my BlackBerry" or "sent from my iPhone" is as a way of letting the recipients know that the e-mail was sent from a mobile device, and that explains why it might be too short, or have too many typos.

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