Tag Archives: smartphone

Tech Emoji

Techie Love
How can the very thing that makes you happy, also make you sad?

Sometimes, when I’m reading a post on my cellphone, I smile down at it. Finger swipes across its touch screen, seem like gentle strokes. As if I’m caressing it; when I’m waiting for a response, I cradle it; patiently waiting for a text back. A cellular response.

And if I were being watched, I’m almost certain that I’d appear lovingly, smiley faces after every comment. One might think I was in love. Or that my cellphone was the object of my love, as if it could love back. Appearances are deceptive.

On her 58th birthday, my aunt made an announcement, she said that having been without a husband or a boyfriend for an extended period of time; and having grown plumper and fatter over the years, she had decided that she was through with love. And I don’t know why, but I was filled with sadness. She on the other hand, was quite matter-of-fact and jovial about the whole thing.

L…O…V…E… Whether we admit it or not, we all want to love and be loved. We humans require it from birth into adulthood. Just like a plant needs sunshine, our development depends on how much love we’ve been given in our childhood, and then into adulthood. And while physical love is important, it is not as developmentally important as emotional love. Because sometimes you can be in love with someone, and still be very lonely. Like my aunt, who had all the love of family and friends, but something was missing. And it was that something that she silently yearned for.

I’ve learnt that loneliness isn’t just a place where one finds oneself; loneliness is a state of mind. It’s not unusual to be in a relationship and still be lonely, and I believe that you can be in a crowded room and still feel completely alone.

It’s been said, that a body that is not at ease will become diseased, and so it was with my aunt. When she turned 63 years old, she developed a curable cancer, but refused treatment. It seems that in her decision to not love a man, she had stopped loving herself. Or maybe, just by disuse she had forgotten how.

Each life is meant to be shared and we learn from it. I’ve learnt to include the possibility of love in my life; to never shut it down and to never turn it off. I know I can be alone and not necessarily be lonely and most importantly, I don’t have to always be in love, I just need to keep the door to love open.

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Filed under iPhone, tech, technology, Telecommunications, 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

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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

Tech Savvy and Served

1 Tech Platter
Word of mouth sales are no longer limited to the “picket fence” conversation between neighbors. Social media has empowered consumers, but it also weakened the position of “the customer is always right”.

Not so long ago, when you purchased a gadget and it didn’t work, you’d complain. There was an expectation of satisfaction; and sometimes this was guaranteed in writing. It was understood, that if you kept the store receipt, a return within seven days of the purchase, with original packaging would guarantee you an equal exchange or a full refund. No questions, no arguments and without a restocking fee.

Back then, the link between a business’ success and a customer’s satisfaction were closely woven. It was a mature market that kept loyal customers loyal by making good products. The operative word “good” implied integrity– a Maytag machine, a Craftsmen tool and a Peterbilt truck were made to last.

I can’t say when this changed, but it did. Technology with its lightening pace warranted change, and miniscule sizes pushed out products that had their own legacies, called generations. And while the housing remained the same, the processor inside changed.

Generally, the improvement wasn’t fully tested but the product was released and onto store shelves; along with slight glitches and other failings, that if passed under the consumer radar was an “oh, well” shrug of doing business.

Now we accept updates, even expect there to be a few with each new product. Those patches that fix new technology have effectively blocked my complaint in mid-sentence. So, the consumer’s displeasure mostly goes unnoticed, because the problem was already logged and acknowledged before the products were shipped out!

The only thing left for me to complain about is how my smartphone’s battery doesn’t hold a charge. And it’s not because I’m always talking, texting or checking status, but instead it’s the result of all those push notifications that the companies send out in an effort to patch and update my cellphone… to keep it smart and me dumb.

Customer service served.

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Filed under Consumers, Marketability, profitability, social media, tech, Telecommunications

Welcome to the Digital Divide

1 Range Circuit_Board
For years, the digital world seemed to be just up ahead; a futuristic place that existed beyond our dreams and over a mountain, like a rainbow. It culled our imaginations, and made us ask “What if?”

The digital divide seemed accessible by car and markings on the roadway, those dashes painted on the asphalt guided us along, by keeping us in our respective lanes. It was orderly, like life itself.

Trees flew past so fast that they didn’t resemble themselves, instead the blurred images helped fuel our curiosity. From the car’s window we pondered life and the big blue marble, called earth. Road trips had that effect. And when we returned to school we’d have questions, like “What does a cloud taste like?”

On Monday morning, we’d gather in the schoolyard and whisper; a discussion about which questions should be brought up in class; the probable, the impossible and the iffy-iffy.

One student would ask a question, the teacher would answer and then someone else would ask a question. Like a string of pearls in a leap frog fashion- a question led to an answer to a question and another and so on; until finally the bell rang. The class would end and the teacher wouldn’t have taught us anything; and somehow, we felt empowered by the disruption.

It was especially exciting when the teacher realized, albeit too late, that he’d been duped into answering pointless questions. It validated our cleverness and added meaning to our lives. A harmless prank, one in which we delayed progress, that is the day’s lessons and entertained ourselves.

And it’s about to begin again, but this time there’s more at stake. It’s not simply a question of what a cloud tastes like, but rather what exactly can a cloud do with big Data?

Deciding that and what questions to ask isn’t as provocative, as the next question, that is: “How do we protect our information?” and “What information is worth protecting?” and “Is a data breach the only way to know the difference?”

Welcome to the digital divide, a disruption in progress.

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Filed under Big Data, Coding, Consumers, social media, tech, technology

Virtually, You Are Here

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If you are reading these words, then you are, by default here.
An effective writer can do that, through the clever use of words, similes and metaphors. By carefully stacking letters like blocks of code, until BLAM! You are here.

Reading creates a state of mind, without circuitry, or silicon, or bits and bytes of data organically designed. Like technology, it fulfills a purpose, sharing and entertaining passages that tell a story and “Once upon a time” is the crossing line, the threshold. But sometimes the reading material doesn’t begin like a fairytale.
Sometimes, it’s boring and repetitious and in our rush forward to all the great apps that the digital world has to offer, we hastily finger swipe our touchscreen and assume, the wording to be correct. Because we’ve become familiar to and insensitive to legal verbiage, the Terms of Use:

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING TERMS CAREFULLY. BY CLICKING “SIGN UP” ON THE SITE OR BY DOWNLOADING, INSTALLING OR OTHERWISE ACCESSING OR USING THE APP(S) OR THE SERVICE, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah…
For the next six or seven paragraphs, the font will grow smaller and pretty much, it will read like all the other Terms of Use, and all written with capital letters—the equivalency of screaming in a hell and damnation kind of way– we’re “BOUND BY THE FOLLOWING TERMS, INCLUDING THE PRIVACY POLICY.
And this, the usage of terms like Privacy Policy seems benign, and so it might be when used with apps; but there’s another side with far-reaching consequences, like the information stored on our things, like cellphones, tablets and soon to be Internet of Things (IoT).

There’s value to the human signature and a quiet elegance to being able to write in cursive. It’s not an art form, it’s a skillset.

Some of the world’s greatest documents, The Magna Carter, The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, each a signed manifesto are reminders of the human condition, and hopefulness, as we press on.

There’s no lasting image to a swipe of the finger, it just can’t compare to the swirling ink of a pen. It’s little things like signatures that we need to hold onto. Especially as we enter the Internet of Things (IoT). When machines talk to machines (m2m) and massive amounts of data are transmitted and analyzed in real time. We may need the simple things to remain simple, like ink and it’s staying power.

By then, privacy may no longer be sustainable. Or attainable, as profitable markets shift, change and the economy adapts. What happens then? Will it matter?

The world is smaller than it was, thankfully we have social media. And in a virtual world, it brings us together. You are here.

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Filed under Big Data, facebook, Google, GPS, Internet, Marketability, Privacy, profitability, social media, tech, technology, Twitter

The Window to Virtuality

Womens window 4
The window to data has opened and we see all manner of things, both big and small as if technology had been grown in a petri dish and now made available; the circuitry of possibilities.

Like the Industrial Age before it, the Age of Technology is full of innovation. And it’s all happening very quickly, and gives merit to the adage “If it can be imagined, then it’s possible.”

The future that was set into motion, doesn’t care whether we prepared for it or not. Each generation has been given the world, “As Is” with a bucket of nuts and bolts and a set of rudimentary tools; and incomplete history books, that substitute and interchange individual greatness for truths.

The notion of getting things right the first time seems impossible; as does the approach of taking it slow and steady. Unlike Aesop’s Fable, “Hare and The Tortoise”, there will be few winners among those who lag behind, or who are too slow to keep pace in the Age of Technology.

We see society changing so rapidly that words like “virtuality” and terms like “social media” have been added into our vocabularies without foreword or discussion. Clouds and Fogs have taken on added definitions, and Big Data, is exactly as it implies, only more of it than what had been supposed when the term was first introduced.

And if it sounds like a storm brewing, it just might be and at the epicenter is social change. Society will have to adapt and must adjust quickly to the disruption.

Already we’re seeing the disruption to the traditional livery and taxi-cab businesses, with new upstarts like Uber and Lyft, carving out not a slice at a time, but huge chunks. Traditional funding has also changed. Crowd-Sourcing and companies like Kickstarter, has successfully launched upstarts. And yes, it does help when you’re not seeking to be funded by old establishment banking systems that founded the horse and buggy and stagecoaches, when you want to bust into the industry!

Interestingly, letting go of old innuendos, and outdated traditions is even more difficult, at a time when our natural instinct is to maintain the status quo, that is to cling onto what’s familiar and held dear. But that’s exactly what has to happen, this purging of society so the new can be integrated. It’s not always achieved by brute force or by the slower, art of persuasion.

Social media is a part of the Age of Technology, mostly without precedent. The internet can impact change, without a bullhorn or a stadium, or the power of a microphone, millions of people can gather and share; to create one voice and be overwhelmingly heard.

We witnessed its power when women outraged against misogyny, used Twitter and through the power of a “hashtag”, used their touch screens to send a message that was heard; the beginning of change.

So there is a future. The window to data has opened out to it and we see all manner of things, both big and small as if technology had been grown in a petri dish and now made available; the circuitry of possibilities.

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Filed under Apps, Baby boomers, Big Data, Consumers, gadget, Gender, Gender Equality, social media, tech, technology

Technology Loses A Skillset

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As schools let out for summer vacation, it occurs to me that some kids will never learn how to read a roadmap. GPS, Global Positioning Systems have eliminated a skillset.

Technology has taken us away from Norman Rockwell’s America; and up ahead is a Digital Age full of wonder. Our world is changing. Smart devices are able to communicate with other smart devices; they’re exchanging bits and bytes of information—from lighting to temperature to foods and medications; without any help from us.

And it’s all happening so quickly, that when someone asks what just happened, we can assume that they blinked and missed it. It’s just that fast; giving added meaning to the phrase: “in the blink of an eye!”

Thankfully we have smart devices to handle most issues, whether or not we’ll be able to adapt and translate the information might be a challenge. But having the right tools is half the battle. Training will come to those who need it, because it must.

I remember when a road trip required a map, and that we bonded around and watched as an index finger followed what was hopefully an interstate highway. And the map was always carefully folded and stored away.

Back then you didn’t drive with the car’s air conditioner turned on. We were kids and some nitwit on television said you can drive a lot further on a car’s full tank of gas, so that’s what we did. And we packed the car to the roof with our camping gear and kids and little need for electricity.

We always started out early in the morning, as if we could out run the heat of the sun. Somehow it always caught up and baked us thoroughly. Our voices shrill with excitement as we set out on a family adventure and made memories. Often times, we’d get lost. Hence the need for the roadmap, and a set of skills to be able to read it.

Getting lost was always better when we’d find a gas station, a restroom and some food. Funny, but you find the best little restaurants, when you’re not actually looking for them. We’d use the restroom, eat and leave; make the left turn onto the interstate, but forget what came next in the set of directions that the waitress just gave us. But we’d sleep well.

I wonder if getting lost in the Digital Age will be as fun, or as memorable. I hope so!

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Filed under Baby boomers, Gender, GPS, Maps, social media, tech, technology, Uncategorized

Smart Technology Isn’t Osmosis

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We embrace smart technology as though owning a smart device will in effect, make us smarter. As if by magic, call it the osmosis of gadgetry, we’ll improve upon ourselves. Well truth is we can, but generally that’s not how it works.

It can and it should, but instead we’re becoming less focused and we’re losing our abilities and our skills. The point of GPS is to guide us along roads and highways, not to lead us by the hand. But that’s exactly what’s done, and we’re losing our ability to read a road map. It isn’t an art form; it’ a skillset. And we might lose it, unless we make a conscious effort to maintain our skills. Because the mind, like an unexercised body loses tone and becomes less efficient.

It begins with the small stuff, like numbers. We use to know our own and other important telephone numbers, but now we store them on our smart device. Leaving ourselves vulnerable to a partially charged or dead battery; or worse when we lose or misplace them.

But I recall a different time, one in which children studied and knew their telephone numbers by heart, as if it were a sign of passage. Once memorized, they could go all the way downtown. The furthest any of them had ever been without an adult, alone and away from home. This was an achievement!

But things change, and now the stakes are higher.

American society is dumbing-down, becoming lax when we most need to stay sharp. Technology requires aptitude, not just as it’s being invented, but also as an end-user. Adults need to pull up a chair and learn old lessons over again, how to flex our memory so that we can smartly use the technology.

With our minds clear and focused, as it manipulates two digits: 1’s and 0’s.

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Filed under Apps, Baby boomers, Code, gadget, social media, tech, technology, Uncategorized

Big Data Uses Syntax for Storytelling

Big Data Revere 1Big data is coming! Big Data is coming!” Where’s our Paul Revere? Who’s galloping down our asphalt streets shouting the warning?

There should be some announcement on television. The network media should make use of their cherished Emergency Broadcast signal and bleep us to attention, so we might know: Big Data is coming!

We need to know and understand that we can’t control Big Data; that our success will be to accept the fact that we can’t protect all the data. Collaboration is the key; the sharing of information so that it won’t be so overwhelming. This will be the period of adjustment, so our minds can get around it and adopt the technology.

It’s been said that American society is wobbling, it wasn’t just Big Data that set this in motion, but it’s the Age of Technology. The parity, its impact, its failings and its successes; all the little bits that go into life and how we live ought to know that society is wobbling towards change. That’s what happens with big footsteps, things get shaken up and come loose and change.

I believe that it’s going to be good. Because that’s human nature, our survival instinct and it allows us the luxury of hopefulness. So, my feelings of excitement far outweigh any misgivings I might have. I know three things: A) Big Data is so vast that it can’t possibly be protected. B) Not all of it needs to be protected. C) Privacy is malleable; particularly the little guy’s privacy. That is mine, but I can live with this truth.

In 1995, when my daughters were little, I told them stories about dinosaurs. We went to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and stood beside the massive bones. And they saw how big the dinosaurs were and how infinitesimal we humans were compared to them.

In that humbling experience, we were all a little grateful that they were no longer around. We read stories of how they became extinct and how mankind could never have co-existed with them. A story that was awe-inspiring and entertainingly depicted in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park movies. But the take away was the legacy that the dinosaurs left behind, fossil fuel. Without which there would have been no Industrial Age and our present, Technology Age.

And that’s the point, that as Big Data uses syntaxes and processors get cheaper and cheaper, it’s going to get much bigger. And we humans will stand alongside and look up at, as if it were an old relic. All of our information gathered and stored. Biometrics like face recognition, iris and finger print identification, processed so that it mimics us and appears that machines are running things.

A storytale for the ages and it’s exciting!

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Filed under Baby boomers, Big Data, Consumers, Internet, Privacy, social media, Syntax, technology