Monthly Archives: February 2015

Technology Express

$$ money train

Technology chugs along at a nice clip, and like passengers on a train we’re part of its movement.

“All aboard!”

Whether we’re ready or not, it forges ahead as if on some imaginary track, intersecting industry and connecting communities and countries, seamlessly. Stops along the way allow people to embark and disembark in a whirlwind of economic supply and demand. There’s a transparency that allows growth and it seems, as we proceed ever onward, on schedule.

Technology has no motives.  With proper instructions, it’ll be efficient in most hands.  From invention to innovation and back again, beta mode or syntax, technology works to make life easier, better.  But we’re nearing the frontier’s edge, the area where we must switch tracks and become something more than fun.

We must anticipate and identify issues that are adverse to the human condition, things like age and climate change on a global scale, require attention and technology that will resolve, improve or at least redirect energies for the better good.

The Digital Age, like the Industrial Age and all the ages before, marked by Periods– Neolithic, Mesolithic, and served on tectonic plates have such a  huge impact on life and on earth. Some of the growth is sustainable and sadly, some of it is not.

While some rise, others fall and it seems some malady or some catastrophic event might happen, like factories with no fire escapes.  So doesn’t it just make sense that legislation is put in place?

Think Google Glasses, modified that we might see what’s up ahead, around the bend, coming fast… why not?

We are, after all an aging nation. Dementia, senility and frailty are part of the human experience and we need to develop technology that addresses these issues, as people get on and off the train.

It makes me think of Lionel train sets, those miniature replicas of locomotives zooming around curves and not falling off the track, because they were engineered and properly weighted down to stay on track.   Watching them being remotely controlled with an electric transformer, going forward, reverse and at variable speeds.

In 1959, psychologists wrote that “…a child who controls a Lionel train today, will control his life tomorrow.”  I see technology like that and most definitely, I see it including girls… “All aboard!”

 

 

 

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Filed under Girls, Google Glasses, tech, technology, Trains

Recalibrating Finger Swipes

$3 MC Escher

MC Escher’s lithograph , Drawing Hands depicts the possibility of an impossible reality; perfectly! And we’re able to appreciate it, in the most thoughtful way.

Technology is like that, we ask “Why?” and then we think, “Why not?”

There’s the absurdity of it; our imaginations gone wild and then the calming effects of reasonable ideas that we can begin to resolve.  And just like that, we’re onto something!  And we’re often quite successful, especially when we get approval, that proverbial pat on the back.

It’s exactly what makes us human, this thinking and imagining, as if it were our job.   Maybe it is!  That is, we’re here to think of ways to improve our lot in life: to think outside the box, while we are seated inside it, much like a hand drawing a hand.

iPad, iPod and  iTouch technology began and perfected the use of a finger.  Not a hand, not the collective use of the hand, but a single finger swipe across a touch screen.  That’s it, it reduced the whole world to a screen and made it accessible by using one’s fingertips.   From music, to data to games, all done in solitude and contrary to our social selves.

I miss traditional board games that we played on the floor, or on wooden tables.  We use to play chess, and Monopoly, and have a strategy that we could admire in one another.  Even if we didn’t always have enough time to finish it, we started it together.  And truth is, I enjoyed setting up the game, unfolding the board and pressing the center crease, so it would lay flat.  I especially enjoyed the confusion of who would get the use of which token, I was partial to the car.  We all were.

And I miss buying property, lining up my cards in a color coded arrangement and collecting rent on the next toss of the dice.  Trading, purchasing and monopolizing imaginary property, where business as usual meant selling and buying at stable prices.  And the mixture of beverages and snacks included a promissory note, that we would still be friends tomorrow.

It taught us how to live life, moments of encouragement, prosperity and despair.  In my world, where no one had real property anyway it was nice to collect the rent.  I learnt how to count play money for real.  And just as importantly, the value of the game itself, the work ethic to not quit and to play fair and to wait patiently for your turn.  Games are like that, when they’re played in a group setting and teaching you that you can win.  Not so much when you’re finger swiping in the bathroom.

And then there’s the music.  I love music, but it’s awfully hard to be engaged in a conversation with you when I’m listening to music, while playing a game, with ear buds plugged in my ears.  Not to worry, later on we’ll both post our updated status on Facebook and like it with a finger swipe.

We’ll get our world news there as well– wrongs against human rights, global warming and culture wars.  We’ll watch videos, read memes and send instant messages, the new chit-chat.

Ah, social reform because come to think of it, social media has given us a great place to check out what’s going on and made it easy to turn off.  Apathy that tricky by-product of capitalism, often experienced when technology is earmarked to consumers who no longer use their hands to clap… I suppose we’re all too busy with finger swipes.

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Filed under ipad, iPhone, Selfie, technology, Uncategorized

Digital Tick-Tock

$ grandfather clock

Time is soundless and a tick-tock isn’t a greeting, because time is not your friend.

For all of our technology and digital wizardry, we haven’t figured out a way to stop it or to slow time down.  So, we’ve injected a sound, the tick-tock of a clock, like odorizing natural gas, so it’s traceable and we can acknowledge its passing.

Clock makers have long mastered the art of gears, carving hand shafts that mesh with trains of wheels to power movements.   They’ve calibrated scales and weights to moon dials, to sync calendar years and create a lovely world stage to visualize time; for our appreciation.

We’ve watched the movements, the unfaltering mechanics of a sun dial– a grandfather clock, Big Ben—and they always do precisely the same thing, track the passage of time.   And even when the device fails, it isn’t because time has stopped.

So, we have to acknowledge those marks on a face– hash marks, numbers, roman numerals–  and wrinkles of the skin, they count.   They tell the story of life, that a second has become part of a minute and that minute part of an hour, which all together add up to a day.  The accumulation of time’s parts become years, and onward until time is measured in decades and centuries.  Never ending…

Technology can’t alter time, but it can keep us part of it, making us fashionable.  Miniature clocks made into wearables for dainty wrists and nimble fingers; fancy watches hung around our necks, or worn on our chests, like medals.

I think about these things now, because I’ve grown older.  But I’m not my mother’s grandmother and I won’t wear my hair in a bun on top of my head like a pincushion and rock my way towards some biological clock, as if death were a milestone!

I stopped wearing a watch.  Time Management 101. 

 

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Filed under Baby boomers

Tech Befuddlement

$1 lathe

Befuddlement, it’s the perfect word for that moment, when you find yourself in the middle of the room, without the slightest idea of what you came to get, or do.

It’s a glitch, a processing error that creates a momentary lag in memory; an affliction that resembles aging.  And I absolutely hate it!

Embedded in the human experience are mishaps common to each of us, the stubbing of one’s toe and the bumping of one’s head, these events are surprises when they happen, but we’re never surprised that they can and do happen.   That is, if we’re alive, then it’s almost to be expected, as if we ourselves are characters in a Charlie Chaplin movie.

It’s not limited to any age group, it happens to children, but their response to the mishap seems quite contrary to the adult response.  And for this, I envy them.

I’ve watched them come tearing into a room, stop and look about and then dash back out; they seem oblivious that their round hands remain empty.  I’ve asked my daughters what they came for and they’ve simply shrugged their shoulders and replied, “I dunno.”  And that’s that, the end.

Just like that, they both lost a moment and dismissed it.  Yes, they’ve acknowledged that it happened, but they don’t succumb to it; don’t wonder if it’s the beginning of some horrible condition, like the early stages of dementia.

Because this sort of thing happens, it’s inevitable that we’ll walk empty handed into a room, then have no idea what we’ve come in for, or what we had to say or do, POOF!  The thought vanished.

Like life itself, we’re born and we learn to walk then run.  We start off with so much promise, and our ideas seem bright and then sometimes we settle, never fully grasping our best selves.  For love, for lack of money for whatever the reason, now irretrievably gone, like some whimsical vapor, it doesn’t matter.

And we grow older.  It’s not a bad thing, after all it is what it is, but we might need to start understanding that memory glitch.  Because technology might not have an answer.  So, just in case we arrive at the future and don’t know what we came for… let’s spin around and live life willy-nilly and not worry about it!

And let’s give it a name… “Whatchamacallit.”

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Filed under AARP, technology, Women