Category Archives: cellphone

Unplugged: The Power of a Washing Machine

# Tenement Laundry
What would be the fate of tens of thousands of women, if their washing machines were left unplugged? Or what if the washing machine hadn’t been invented?

Having power doesn’t make us powerful. And it seems, if we’re talking about electricity, using it may in fact, lead to us being powerless or nearly so.

Welcome to the digital world, where recharging cellphones and smart devices is as common as opening up a window to let fresh air in. No one looks sideways. In fact, it’s so common and relatable, that our apathy when someone mentions a dead cell battery is genuine.

From mega-watts to the kilo-watts. From our smart-cities to smart-homes. From our smart-devices to our cellphones. We are all bound to electricity. Our factories and businesses are increasing usage, from the “internet of things” to artificial intelligence (AI) to Clouds and virtual servers, all of these use and require, power. And we need more.

And that’s the other side, the flip side, where one is forced to think about life without power. We’d have to rethink our priorities, from lighting to cooling to where we lived. What need would the upper floors of a skyscraper have, if you had to always climb it’s stairs? And what about our washing machines?

Now that would tell quite a compelling story. The gift of time, both given and taken away. Women would return to the status of a laundress, those 19th century women who spent a day washing laundry, their own or someone else’s. Paid or unpaid, the work would be structured around childcare, because it took so long to complete.

Last month I had a little sampler, when my top load washing machine broke in mid-cycle. By mid, I mean once the washing machine filled with water, it broke. Getting the sopping wet sheets and clothes out of the machine was one part of the equation. It became an equation as I realized just how much of a task I had in front of me, when the bucket didn’t work. I transferred the load to a kid’s wagon, and made multiple trips to the upstairs bathroom. Once there, I sat on the edge of the tub wringing water out for what seemed to be days! My fingernails softened and broke, my hands ached and I lost my mind!

Which brings me back to our problem, that is we have power, but we’re not powerful. And it seems we’re getting weaker.

Technology has spoiled us with gadgets and machines that have improved our lives, but they’ve also lulled us into a false sense of security. With a soft hum of joules per second, the amperage of electricity has carried our load for us, but that’s not always going to be an option to keep our gadgets running and our smart devices powered up.

We’re going to have to look at new ways of doing the old things and let’s be clear, unplugging my washing machine is not an option.

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Filed under cellphone, gadget, solarpower, technology, Wearables, Wi-Fi, Women

Storytelling With Emojicons

tech book
Everybody has a story. More often than not, it’s a heart wrenching story of a childhood spent with some form of deprivation. Be it love, money or a social life, it ultimately defines who we become and how we interact with one another.

Memories become the fodder of that story. Weaving in and out, to what we know are our conscious motives up to and including what we discover to be unconscious desires. And at times these are reinforced with a deep-rooted hatred that just like love, can motivate us to great heights, or lower us to the realms of depression.

And I was just thinking… is there an app for that? If not, well there ought to be like a mood ring, Fitbits and Wearable technology should be able to sense how we feel, before we feel it.

Wearables, should aggregate emotions like anger and sullenness. The feelings of hurt and sadness, that we don’t generally wear on our sleeves and are mostly kept hidden. Because American culture has long held a belief that feelings are a sign of weakness, but it’s also data. Data which like blood pressure, diabetes and calorie counts can be tracked; could indicate when a person is in need of a “hug”.

Data processed in a real-time algorithm, might have real-time results. And this might prevent someone from acting out, in some destructive behavior that threatens peace.

We need to read Tell-tale signs and act on, not react to a person who is preparing to do harm to us, or to themselves. In a virtual world, we can’t overlook emotional instability, as we progressively overlook our individuality. Besides how easy is it to smile? That simple kindness might be enough, a hug to save humanity.

These aren’t store brought, and can’t be pawned off to machines.

People need people. We need the warmth and gushiness of loving feelings; feelings of belonging. We’d be wise to realize artificial intelligence can’t duplicate it, this is our human essence. So, while programmed behaviors may mimic our blinking eyes, they can’t tear up and live-stream our emotions.

And Machine-to-Machine (M2M) sensors labeled with Emojicons can’t access our memories, or their power.

It’s what makes being human… human. So how do you share the feeling we get from a childhood memory? of a special drawing, a self-portrait of a stick figure with a big circle for a head? Painstakingly drawn under a thin line of Periwinkle blue that we insisted was the sky? You don’t and we can’t.

This choreographed interplay of our senses– seeing, touching and smelling, gathered information of a moment, defines who we are, by who we become. A memory conjured up in a flash, of a scene drawn from decades earlier… kindergarten class, with kids hunched over blank pieces of paper, select colors from a Crayola crayon box and create masterpeices.

Storytelling is like that, with layers. And from them, we gather the information– the scent of frying bacon as it sizzles, the sight of it as it shrinks and the heat of the frying pan. The recollection of a Sunday morning, when we smelled, heard and hugged our Mum, as we presented her with a Mother’s Day card, that she fawned over. Hugs.

We’re like subjects in a Pavlov experiment, we act in response to memories, feelings and hoped for love. And there’s a long sought after happy-happy-joy-joy feeling one gets from the triple A of society: Approval, Acceptance and Appreciation.

Yes, drawing with more details and guided by our imagination can create a memory through the power of a crayon.

Technology can’t duplicate that, or the moments we feel. technology doesn’t care, unless we add an Emojicon. But science has proven that humans need to be touched and we need hugs.

I suspect we’re going to have to incorporate “People to People” (P2P) teachings in our virtual world. Our stories will make a difference… they must, because shared memories improve and protect life.

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Filed under cellphone, Wearables

Thinking Outside The Bubble

1 Internet of everything

 

What’s in a name?

I was thinking that we humans have a tendency to forget things. That is, we walk into a room and fully forget what we came in to get; we drive our car home and forget where we put the car keys.   Well, we should all be able to remember this name.

“The Internet of Things”

Lazy and rather unimaginative, this name does what most names don’t actually do, it defines, describes and categorizes, then answers the question: “What is it?”

Once a theory and quickly realized, anything equipped with a sensor could be in constant communication with a computer processor.  I can almost imagine the first MIT scientists throwing their hands up in technological glee, fully inspired by the sheer volume of their discovery!

Now a coffee pot in their office could “talk” to the refrigerator down the hall.  And both could be programmed to “talk” to humans, as well as machines and more, these enchanted objects would be able to add cream and milk to your grocery list, as well as perform “yet to be thought of” applications.  Big Data (with it’s equally unimaginative name) would gather and collect executable data, which could be analyzed in real time.

Mind boggling and still evolving into what just might be “the internet of nearly EVERYTHING”.

The Digital Age has jettisoned technology closer to a television cartoon with a similar name (The Jetsons).  We don’t have flying cars, but who knows?  Everything seems possible with sensors and a computer’s magical little black box, that processes code.  That leads to technology getting smarter and smarter.

Change is coming, both progressive and disruptive.   It can decimate confidence, shake up the bottom line and place a strain on long standing traditions.  And we’re all prone to its “Goosies”,  that skin tingling sensation induced by excitement or fear or disbelief.

Mature businesses, like older people will feel it acutely, maybe more so than start-up companies and younger, tech savvy people, who never used letterhead on bond paper and couldn’t tell the difference.  But having different efficiency levels shouldn’t be a license to feast, one on the other.

It’s wiser to work together; bartering and collaborating like our ancestors did when they first discovered fire.  And again, when they put fire to a best use practice, smelting iron and forging steel.   Factoid, teamwork will always lessen a load.

We’ll have to use technology smartly, because finger swipes across a screen is not a measure of intelligence.   We’ll also need to put on our thinking caps, which will act as a protective helmet in the event of a crash.

The mind is a powerful bubble making machine, full of ideas.  So, what happens when a thought bubble pops?

I say we harness the gases for propulsion, fasten your seatbelt.   It’s gonna be a helluva ride!

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Filed under AARP, Baby boomers, Big Data, cellphone, Code, Coding, gadget, Internet, ipad, iPhone, tech, technology, Twitter

If Bees Pollinated Technology

2 bees tech

Have you ever had a moment, when everything that you’re doing seems to be moving along at a nice clip; each in its orderly fashion, when BLAM! Life happens?

You can’t know for certain if it’s all bad, because you don’t know exactly what’s gone wrong.  But there’s that disconnect, that general feeling of disbelief.

Change can be very disconcerting, especially when everything you’ve worked so hard for has gone awry.   Then you’re left with fear, that perhaps it’s over and then you find that it’s not over, but nothing is as it was and you’re completely off your game.  Disoriented.  That’s when the real disruption begins.

Disruption in the Digital age, like the Industrial Age before is a certainty. How much is not, and that will be sorted out later by historians, with that 20-20 tool they call hindsight.  And hindsight can and does reveal correctable flaws, but time is a luxury, not a commodity.  A poor decision today may have devastating effects for future generations, but technology is exciting!

And it’s moving so fast!  The internet keeps getting better, social media, and collaborations.   Open platforms, bugs and fixes that we mindlessly download to our tablets, that add value to our smartphones.  And apps, games and upgrades, with the promise of more– the Internet of Things!

The buzz of new technology has quieted the buzz of bees.

When I was younger I could hear them, whispering.  Back then I rushed into things without any concern about them or the size of my footprint on the earth.  But I’m older now and these things do matter.   (Perhaps, I’m worried about getting into heaven.)  But whatever the reason I’m straining to listen and I’m not hearing the whispering sound of bees.

Scientists attribute it to hive disorientation, a result of the hertz frequency used by our cellphones. Others say pesticide usage has weakened the bees’ immune systems. Still others believe it’s a combination, in addition to the effects of global warming. But they all agree that bees are disappearing.

Here are a few facts about bees.   Of the 20,000 species of bees in the world, only 4 species make honey. Bees are the only insect that makes food for humans. Honey is the only food in the world that contains all the substances necessary to sustain life. Bees pollinate plant life in the original ecosystem that supports ALL life.

We might want to pay attention to the changes that are taking place, those harbingers of disruption. Bees are disappearing.

Bees have been around since the Triassic Age; right alongside the dinosaurs.  Oh and in case you didn’t know, dinosaurs were huge and they’re all gone now.

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Filed under Apps, bees, bees disappearing, cellphone, Coding, technology, Telecommunications

What’s Under The Hood

45 iphone
Last weekend, I passed a line of shoppers outside an Apple store and who, by all indications, were patiently waiting to purchase the new iPhone 6. And I’m not a rocket scientist, but I could tell that they weren’t newbies.

It made me wonder, why someone who already owned a perfectly good iPhone would stand in line for, what basically amounted to another smartphone. I paused to look at more than a hundred people, seated and standing calmly in a most organized way, without a police officer in sight, it was extraordinary. And from what I overheard, not nary a complaint among them.

Every now and then a customer would exit the store carrying a bag, a box and smiling down at a new iPhone. It was then, that the line came to life! The onlookers would nod in appreciation and in mock-like fashion give an invisible fist pump; that encouraging gesture of an eager beaver coexisting with an over-achiever; as they both experience a moment of bliss.

I was compelled to watch, as they satisfied their need for immediate gratification; this wasn’t simply the result of a successful advertising campaign, or the end game of a marketing ploy. No, this was genuine, like eating dinner and being satisfied with the meal.

This was great branding, a well-made and well-defined product. Worthy of our attention; technology and cars seem to have that effect, product loyalty and product integrity. And while one doesn’t ensure the likelihood of the other’s existence, they can and do make people form lines; like this one, in which consumers wait to be one of the first to get their hands on the product. So they can play with it and love it. New technology is like that, shiny and inviting. But if you look under the hood, you’ll see it hasn’t got a heart to love any of us back.

As I walked away smiling, I knew that I’d be purchasing a new phone soon.

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Filed under cellphone, Consumers, Internet, ipad, iPhone, technology, Telephone