...alerts for nearly exactly the same thing went on for 2-3 weeks in Boston.
It's not nearly the same thing. You're probably thinking of the impact of Quebec forest fires in May, which drove the Air Quality Index (AQI) to the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range (which is 101-150) in parts of the Boston area. This is nowhere near 500+. (The ranges above 150 are Unhealthy (151-200), Very Unhealthy (201-300), and Hazardous (301-500+).
$299 with a contract is NOT retail. It's subsidized.
You can go into a retail store, and walk out with an iPhone 4 after paying that price. I'm sorry if you want to play word games, but that is retail by any definition EVEN THOUGH it is subsidized.
Since the poster ALREADY stated he "would carry a phone anyway" that rendered the subsidy point moot, since he would BE PAYING FOR PHONE SERVICE ANYWAY. A contract price doesn't factor in if you'd have a contract regardless.
A couple of quick points, since I think your argument is a little flawed. First, I can walk into car dealerships and drive away with a car after paying only hundreds of dollars. That's not retail, because I'm on the hook for years worth of payments afterward. The iPhone is cheaper, but I'm still paying for years.
But you argue that he'll be paying for phone service anyway? Phone service varies a lot in cost, and the post you're replying to quotes a $50 saving from T-Mobile over AT&T. So the paying for phone service anyway costs him an extra $1200 over two years? Not all plans are created equal, and they vary a lot in cost (and phone subsidy).
I teach math at a decent university, and I could teach a semester's worth of material in one class using PowerPoint. Nobody would learn anything, of course. But speaking as a math teacher, it's really easy to go far too fast using things like PowerPoint.
I teach with a lot of the techniques they're talking about (group activities, hands-on exercises), but I really don't want to use presentation software like PowerPoint. I'm willing to bet a lot that a student that has written down a couple of examples from the board is better off than one who has seen the same example projected on a screen.
Finally, the technology the article mentions include blogs, videoconferencing, and "clickers". I've avoided clickers mostly by teaching in small classes, but I can see their use as instant feedback. But blogs? Do my calculus students really want to read a blog I write?