The preferred location for Tefilah is a Makom Kavuah. The more familiar a person is with a place, the less distraction and the easier is the concentration necessary for prayer. While this quest is easily attainable for Shacharis and Maariv, when one is usually closer to home, Mincha presents more of a challenge.
And so it was some time ago that I found myself in a Mincha Minyan Factory. It is not for naught that Halacha prohibits walking in front of those Davening. The peripatetic flow of traffic, the latecomers, the early goers, all contributed to an atmosphere that was not conducive to Kavannah.
Amidst the din, my eye beheld an unimaginable sight. The fellow to my right was Shukkeling with intense concentration while scrolling and reading from his Blackberry! I wondered to myself what email could be so important that it can’t wait until Shemonah Esrai is completed? Whatever little Kavannah I had attained up to that point, completely dissolved.
Only later did I realize that he was probably just using the “siddur” feature, having the text of the Siddur fully loaded on his handheld device. Perhaps one day the Weekday Siddur will be a thing of the past, another casualty of the electronic age.