For a long time, I have resisted the lure of handheld e-mail devices. I don’t want my private time to be invaded by the information explosion any more than it already has, and I don’t want to become an e-mail junkie like those poor, immersed souls who poke at miniscule keyboards with their styluses, or thumb them, outside conference rooms, in restaurants, in airport waiting rooms and everywhere else. They usually look harried and always look obsessed.

A lawyer friend of mine recently bought a BlackBerry, was thrilled with it and urged me to buy one. She said it is very convenient: She can always stay in touch with the office and with her husband and kids, and she can get back to clients immediately. She was exuberant about its virtues.

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