Digital Devices at the Beach


South Miami Beach. Photo: Kelly Dean

Digital Devices at the Beach

By Kelly Dean

Pads, Kindles and Other Screen-based Readers

Let’s hear it for print, because it’s still king of the beach. You seldom see anyone carrying or using a screened e-reading device at the beach. In fact, you don’t see people with laptops at the beach either, except in work-from-home advertising, which is kind of odd when you think about it.

First, it doesn’t matter how hard designers try to deal with the sun and glare, it is still unpleasant to read on a digital screen in the sun. Remember, you’re wearing sunglasses too. It’s also plenty bright under an umbrella. If I have to work on a computer at the beach for some ungodly reason, I choose a shady area like a beachside bar because you just have to struggle too much to see. There are other benefits to the beachside bar, but you probably already know about those.

Also, if you take the expensive item to the beach, you have to make the spouse or significant other watch the darn thing while you cool off in the ocean or take a walk looking for shells. That really doesn’t go over very well, especially if there’s any romance still left in the relationship. I can hear the dialogue: “Oh! That was great, Honey. I saw three dolphins. They were so cute! They came right up to me. They must have been attracted by the sea turtle. Oh, by the way, thanks for watching my stuff for me.” Yep, that goes over really well.


Miami Beach, Photo: Kelly Dean

Here’s something you might not thought about: Screens tend to reflect your image in a swimsuit. If this isn’t a pleasant vision, then you might leave the pad at home.

The Printed Page

At the beach, the printed page is still king. Not only is it less costly, it doesn’t reflect or glare-out like a shiny screen. The simple paperback is available at any grocery store, and if you lose it, no biggie. You can find another for a few bucks, not so with that digital tinker-toy. So if you’re planning to read in bed at night, the digital screen is just fine. But if you want a nice read at the beach, you’re going to have to go old-school and stick to paper.

The Cellphone

Boy, I would be a big fat liar if I said no one brings a cellphone on the beach. It is as unpleasant to view a cellphone on the sand as it is the aforementioned digital reader, but people still squint and try to tweet and post their statuses all day long – about swimming at the beach – while carrying the phone in their swimsuit — which keeps them from swimming — because they have a phone. Maybe they’re tweeting about that interesting square tan-line patch they’re developing.

People relocating should know that you can’t leave your phone in the car for long in the Florida summertime. It will bake to death. So you might want to call your shrink about any possible separation anxiety you might experience from having to leave your phone at your home or hotel for the day.

I understand that some folks want to take photos, but the white sand of Florida reflects the sun, so you’re getting it from at least two different directions. You need to accept that you can only concentrate on the framing. Hopefully, you’ll get what you aimed at in the frame; you might then crop it and so forth later, in bed, that night. Because your spouse is still mad about missing the dolphin anyway, you will have something to do.

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