Showdown: Harry Potter vs. modern technology

By Joe Doherty, ITworld |  Personal Tech, Harry Potter, Social Networking

My friend Amy brought up an interesting question: would you rather have an iPhone or an owl from the Harry Potter universe? Quite naturally, this question begged for an answer, a potential debate and, of course, a look at J.K. Rowling's magical creations versus their early 21st century tech counterparts. For purposes of this article, we will take it as a given that Hogwarts, Dumblebore and magic are real. So don't fire me off any owl mail saying, "well, obviously a cell phone is better because magic mail-delivering owls do not exist in reality." Yes, I know. But suspend disbelief for one little article, if you would, and start the discussion.

OWLS vs. CELL PHONES
Successful communication is essential whether you're a wizard or a writer. The benefits of an owl not only extend to having a trusty companion, but you will always have coverage (no dead zones), no roaming charges (or monthly bill) and they can travel worldwide in a short amount of time. Cell phones will connect you instantly with anyone (who has a phone) and will not require daily cage-cleaning. Texting with an owl is NOT recommended. Cell phones will not take care of that mouse infestation. Owls do not need to be recharged, so you're saving money on electricity. Cell phones do not need to be fed regularly, so you're saving money on Owl Chow.
WINNER: Cell phones. I can't surf the internet with an owl. Case closed.

PENSIEVE vs. BLOGGING
A pensieve is a storage device made of stone with which you can physically download and review your memories. A blog is an online diary of sorts where you can physically write down and review your memories. The benefit of a Pensieve is you can extract the exact memory with no detail left out. With a blog, it's usually your "humorous" take on your life's events.
WINNER: Blog. I don't want the real story. I want "funny". Also, blogs are available on the internet so I can read/write anywhere. A Pensieve is not, as of yet, portable. Would make a good iPhone app, though (I want credit for that idea, developers...)

BROOM vs. ANY MEANS OF MODERN TRANSPORTATION
Let's see: the broom isn't nearly as cool as a Ferrari. Plus, a broom is for sweeping. I don't care if you do have a Nimbus 2000. A broom will look pathetic in the garage next to my Koenigsegg.
WINNER: Broom. C'mon...personalized flight against any cool car? Hands down winner.

MARAUDER'S MAP vs. GOOGLE MAPS
The Marauder's Map is a really nifty map that will tell you the location of anyone on the grounds of Hogwarts, by name. Google Maps can give you satellite-accurate locations and directions, as well as street-level views (in some areas). With GPS technology, you can use Google Maps to locate people's locations much in the same way as the Marauder's Map, and you are not confined to Hogwarts.
WINNER: Marauder's Map. This can find you even if you don't want to be found.

MAGIC WAND vs....
WINNER: Magic Wand. There is no equal.

POLYJUICE POTION vs. SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
Polyjuice potion allows the drinker to transform their appearance into anyone. Social networking sites are places where you can, if you wish, pretend to be anyone you want to be.
WINNER: Social networking sites. I'm one photoshopped image away from looking like Nathan Fillion.

INVISIBILITY CLOAK vs WEBCAMS
The wearer of the Cloak is rendered invisible, and is therefore able to observe people undetected. Webcams can also observe people and you don't have to hold your breath while watching them. Plus, Dumbledore still knows you're there under the cloak.
WINNER: Invisibility Cloak. Sometimes it would be nice just to be left alone to get some work done...!

What else, Pottermaniacs?

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