You could say they have an affliction. You've probably bumped into them on the street. That is, they bump into you, because they often walk with their eyes fixated on their task, oblivious to any obstacles in their path. You've definitely overheard them chatting on trains, in coffee shops, perhaps even in neighboring toilet stalls. Call them what you like: Cell-heads, the Mobile Mob, the Keitai-zoku. They're everywhere. They're hooked to the cellular Net. You might be one of them

A good friend of mine -- let's call him Bart -- grumbles at the rudeness of cell-phone users, even though some of them happen to be his friends, and even though they sometimes use their handy communicators to troubleshoot problems. Bart still grumbles at this new-fangled form of interruption, this "competition" for his attention. Likewise, despite his friends' urgings, he refuses to buy one because he doesn't deem the intrusion to be worth the so-called convenience.

Bart draws certain lines when it comes to technology, but he is no Luddite. He embraced the Internet as soon as he heard about it (way back in '93, was it?), and was the first on his block to purchase a PDA. Bart religiously checks his e-mail at least twice a day. And he faithfully responds to that e-mail because he's worked it into his daily schedule.