Category Archives: ipad

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

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

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

Subdued Technology – Part 2.

cable box circuit 2
I remember when tech stuff looked really cool. Stylishly sleek, with lights that blinked and buttons that created an adventure of discovery, the onset of Razzle-dazzle.

It was a moment that began in awe and quickly became a love-fest; well defined and vetted. Back then technology was exciting and ultra- thin. And that was part of its appeal; that “James Bond. Double “O”, Seven” kind of sleekness.

So cool that the company’s sales department was genuinely impressed by the brushed stainless steel faceplate, the chrome detailing and the black trim along the base. The knobs were replaced with rectangle push buttons, not the round ones. And the caveat of course was the bells and whistles, the added improvements to change one’s lifestyle.

It was awesome! Not only did cable improve television reception, but it came with a remote control and the cable box had a digital clock attached. The clock worked seamlessly and adjusted itself to daylight savings time. And we used it to set every other clock in the house by!

I’ve been a cable customer with the same cable provider for over 20 years. Last week they called and offered me a free upgrade. I like the word “free”. They assured me that there would be no hidden fees, I was simply being rewarded for being a loyal customer. Woot!

“Loyalty,” I smiled, has its perks.

A week later, a new smart box was installed. The technician gave me a quick tutorial, answered a few pertinent questions, and smiled.

Unfortunately the new cable box– a small black square that looks nothing like the old technology, doesn’t have a clock; the beloved time keeper of Day Light Savings in my home is gone!

Sure the new box has potential and it’s on-line to perform with the coming Internet of Things (IoT) and “Machine2Machine” (m2m) technology, but I’m not excited.

I miss the eye appeal; the technology is there but it doesn’t look good. Is there an app for that?

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Filed under Apps, Baby boomers, cable, gadget, Internet, ipad, tech, technology, Telecommunications, Uncategorized

Consumers and Big Data Prep

IoThings
Big Data is here, with its streaming terabytes of information and its misleading name, it is every bit of big and then some; more accurately it’s humongous!

The Digital Age is triggered by more than just the Internet of things, those smart and intelligent devices that will be collecting and transmitting goo-gobs of data, it’s also analyzing that data. Adapting and recognizing the patterns and all of this, in real time.

Real time… Yes, those are dots in my sentence. Ellipses that are meant to indicate a moment of silence. Because the era of static data, as we’ve known it is passing and along with it, our swagger and our understanding of how it worked.

Back then, we knew that Google and search engines in general, like to collect data. We knew about cookies; about saved IP addresses and that our internet habits, were being stored. We knew that the static websites we visited didn’t change; and the way we surfed, registered and played on platforms was analyzable and vulnerable.

We might have never understood the logic in a public Beta release, but we learnt how to download apps to fix the inevitable bugs, inherent in an early product release. And even greater than this, we learnt patience. We knew and chose our game pieces, internet avatars to represent our likenesses. We smiled when days later, having been off the internet for a while, we’d log back onto the web and find our little selves still there, waiting for us.

Manufacturers are preparing to open the gates, to release the first products in the Internet of Things. Soon Big Data will be upon us. It’s a game changer and the key players are businesses. How they adapt, their scalability will determine the outcome.

We, the end users, the consumers of the Internet of Things are preparing to make our selections. It’s been estimated that each one of us will have approximately 6 devices. And each device will add to the stream of data collected.

I hope it goes well. I hope that businesses can gain insight and serve their customers better; that they turn a profit; and hire more women (at equal pay for equal work). I hope that business applications become more innovative and push forward and not sit back on their laurels.

I hope for the success of Big Data, because I’m an end-user and I know that when IT goes badly, IT flows downhill.

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Filed under Baby boomers, Big Data, Consumers, gadget, Gender Equality, Girls, Google, ipad, Marketability, small business, streaming, tech, technology, Women

Music Streaming- It’s Not That Complicated

Words
Pandora, the internet radio giant is being sued for streaming music that was made prior to 1972. And as far as lawsuits go, it’s quite a story.

But the real story ought to be the relationship between technology and music. Because unlike any other industry, music from the 1970’s owes a great deal of it’s current success to Rappers and the technology that’s literally played it forward, by taking it from analog to digital and revitalizing the music industry.

No one knows where music came from, but primal rhythms created with natural objects like gourds, bones, and shells; evolved to the more complex pitch and tone controlled instruments, like strings and windpipes.

In 1999, a seven-holed flute was discovered in China. It dates back to 7000 B.C. and it has one offset hole, perhaps a mistake that indicates earlier man’s sensitivity to pitch and tone. That sensitivity still exists today, except now we call it an ear or an appreciation of music.

The profitability in sharing music via CDs, apps, streaming and the web is a work in progress. But music, like life itself, is a constant. It’s the sharing of cultures and the distribution of a soul’s wealth.

Together, music and technology will continue their dance down Wall Street to Main Street, USA. Shimmering and repackaged, the music will float across oceans and be heard. Because as William Congreve wrote, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast”.

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April 22, 2014 · 11:15 AM