Tag Archives: tech

Women & Technology Again

$ 0 Talk radio

It’s no longer the Golden Age of radio in America and finally girls will have more than a cracked fairy tale to be her moral guide.

All around her are images of womanhood, independent and clear.   Live-streaming, in movies and in newspapers, women are being positively depicted, and a young girl sees herself, without feeling uncomfortable in her skin.  Successful women like Hillary Clinton, Mae C. Jemison, Sara Blakely and Oprah Winfrey smile from the covers of glossy magazines.

The narrative has changed, she can do both- be a mother and have a career.  There’s no sky and no limit to her dreams; from pink sneakers to blue high heels, she can perform!   Hopefully she’ll think outside the gender box, because there’s no social corset and hairpins to keep her tied down, unless she wants to wear them.   Now, metaphorically and literally, she can breathe.

Technology has made life better for all, by freeing her from domestic drudgery to a life of luxury– washing machines and egg beaters gave the gift of time, to read books and to learn.  Because we always knew she could code, given the opportunity to learn code.

The apron has been spun around and the letter “S” reveals two things, one it always was a cape and two, it’s washable.   She has choices!  And while there’s much to get excited about, there’s still a wall to overcome.  Gender orientation is such a huge part of society’s psyche, that it’s not easily cast aside.  And maybe that’s why it continues to be practiced in maternity wards across the country, where the gender color-code begins, when our babies are separated by little blue bands for boys and a little pink bands for girls.   Shouldn’t we start out with the same, equally?

Instead, adults complete the gender code cycle, by unwittingly buying into the color system, toys that should be tools of development create subtle pigeon-holes.  We as a society still respond when we see a little boy playing with Barbie dolls, because we ourselves have been raised to adhere to the gender color code.   And so the stage is set and the cycle continues, gender orientation is passed awkwardly along from one generation to the next.

But things are changing, I did see a little boy playing with a pink truck.  And on Dacia Street a little girl was busy fixing the wheel of her baby carriage, her hands were dirty with axle grease.  I smiled, this is the stuff of her fairy tales.

And hopefully, babies will eventually all be allowed to grow up according to what’s in their heads, and not by what’s inside their diapers.

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Filed under Coding, Gender, Gender Equality, Girls

Notes From Analog to Digital

From Analog with Love

As this year comes to an end, I’m a bit emotional.  It’s an end to an era.   My elderly mother has become that lady we use to laugh about and I’ve grown old.

My journey is very different from how it began.   And like most people, I’ve never benefitted from a personal roadmap or a handbook.  Sometimes the experiences have dove-tailed nicely into place, as if by destiny and other times, nothing seemed to work.   But we’re still here.

Each struggle– yours, mine and hers– has had it’s own purpose.  We’ve compensated for our weaknesses by making athletes into heroes and found motivation reading stories about a little train that could.   And during sleep we’ve gained some of our greatest insights into this life, lessons only a sub-conscious mind could learn, like forgiveness, forgetfulness and the art of moving on.

Our dreams were useful tools that helped us endure and combat injustices in daylight.  But the truth is, our world has been diced and sliced into so many pieces, that few get a fair deal.  And global issues, like climate change really will require us all to make a difference.   Adults much more than our children…

Which is interesting, because as adults we are often expected to do the right thing, but without added incentive.  Even in America, where the stalwart of childhood is a reward/punishment culture, where every child on the soccer team receives an award for participation, but no reward is given to the parent that nurtured and fed the talent.

And rewards grow more elusive as we enter adulthood, with few exceptions outside academia or military service.   I wonder why?

With so many adults on FaceBook, Twitter and Snapchat, each pining for attention and seeking acceptance.   Social media indicates that there’s a need, and why wouldn’t there be?  Having been raised in the reward/punishment system, it seems rather logical and a bit unnatural if we weren’t busy trying to be seen.

If we use trophies and medals to foster good behavior, why do we stop using that form of motivation? Particularly as we grow older?

Why shouldn’t we want to read our name in the newspaper, or on social media?  An obituary isn’t a true blue ribbon.  What if we learnt early in life, that pro-creation isn’t an achievement and staying out of jail isn’t an accomplishment?  What if there were small awards for those behaviors?  Would we as a people do better at life?

Me?  I’m mostly self-taught.   I used a length of chain link fence to learn how to ride a two wheel bicycle.  I paddled a row boat into the middle of a lake, and jumped into dark waters to learn how to swim.  During winter break, I shoveled snow in the schoolyard so I could play basketball, because I wasn’t allowed inside the school gym with the boys.  And my high school guidance counselor instructed me to drop out of school and have babies, I went to the public library instead and taught myself telephony, electric code and telecommunications, all marketable trade skills.

I’ve used  pulse technology and rotary telephones; spoken with operators of switch controlled, data entry, card punched computers and watched the first manned trip to the moon– all feats of analog technology.   But earlier this month, the SpaceX program sent a rocket ship into space, it returned and landed vertically, so it can be used again… that’s a digital feat!

Aiming a little higher.  In a digital world, there ought to be social media awards, ones that make us as individuals aim a little higher.  Who knows, maybe that will help us save our planet.

I’m willing.  I wouldn’t mind a little plastic trophy to put on my bric-a-brac shelf.   Besides Heaven seems a long way off and I’m not particularly sure that’s where I’m headed, once I leave here.   Besides, there’s still time for me to do some good.

Happy New Year 2016 !   Notes from analog to digital, an Honor Roll of the greatest use of technology.

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Filed under Life, NewYear2016, Uncategorized

The Pursuit of Smarty Pants

#smarty pants d

Smarty pants!  Not so long ago that label was reserved for sarcasm and usually accompanied by some form of bullying.   It wasn’t exactly an endearment that made you the “Big Girl On Campus”

But what if?

Much of what’s happening in our digital world happens so fast, that before it’s completely absorbed, we’re onto the next thing.   What was once generally accepted as taboo, is added to our “To Do” lists.   And jumbled together, what’s derogatory is the new compliment!   Hello.

When it won’t fit neatly into our compartments, we stuff the data into storage space.   Renting clouds is like that, from standard to hybrids.  They’ve become a necessity, and what we once paid for, is now free, a supposed perk of disruptive innovation.

But remember Blockbuster Videos, the store that rented out our favorite games and videos?  It was quickly replaced by Netflix’s streaming videos on-demand.  And once upon a time, we didn’t blink twice to be charged for an email account, that too became passé.   Acronyms can be like that, easily replacing an “L”  for an “A”, making us laugh out loud at  America On-Line.

Still, deep down inside, we know that nothing is free.   We’ve simply exchanged one thing for something else, the latest commodity, our personal data.

Facebook recently had a judgment made against them, by the EU court in Europe, on a privacy case.   A case with such huge ramifications that it’s most likely a triple threat- dare, of the mammoth size, where there’ll be no clear winners.

It seems that the digital world doesn’t turn in a predetermined static-free orbit, after all.  But instead it’s in a constant state of flux.    Laws written fifteen years ago have become out dated, transcontinental e-commerce that was once all the rage, is now the brunt of outrage.   And it’s hard to predict which way it goes.

Because technology just keeps moving, incapable of feeling, it’s capable of separating good people from their data.   The word open platform doesn’t always lead to bug fixes, or great results.   Sometimes, it leads to new ways to discover breaches to be breached.

And budgets spent to fix what’s discovered, breaks relations and leads to distrust and clandestine meetings.  A cycle, that the Internet Of Things might avert, because its capable of firewalling data in that machine to machine way, without being paranoid.   Making ulterior motives apparent and functioning more efficiently.

But first… we all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time.

As we pull our digital pants on, we’ll know what data is collected and dispersed.   Data collected will be gathered by how hard we pull today versus yesterday.  Whether that movement was swift or jerky; and if our grip around the waist band was strong or weak.  And was the fit loose or snug?  Things like body temperature and amino acid level inside, read by an inseam.  Our diet adjusted automatically, and accordingly.

Oh, and the best part will be the multi-functional zipper.  The head-end that communicates to the internet of things– Our refrigerator and our coffee machines.  Simultaneously turned on, preferred sources of information will stream in real-time.   Our location, the day’s weather, morning traffic and news.  The pharmacy notified, pre-written prescriptions filled and the car’s heated seats, turned on.

While there’s a lot that might go Topsy-Turvy, there’s an awful lot that might just go right.   The true pursuit of happiness in a pair of smarty pants!

Nicely done, aging in place.

 

 

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Filed under Big Data, Internet of Things, tech, technology, Wearables

In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion

# Forget Tech

Perpetual Motion, it seems that would be the ultimate of all technology. That unlike life itself, a thing would go on and on.

Since the 13th century, when the first wood engraving of a perpetual motion machine was drawn (though never successfully made), the concept of a machine that would run forever has been elusive to mankind.  But why, we’ve had other dreams that seemed equally unattainable and yet, they came true.

Take for instance, man’s trip to the moon.  A theory of manned flights and space travel, where rockets went into dark space and returned, safely!

And that’s exactly what Wernher von Braun was able to achieve. One of the world’s leading rocket engineers von Braun convinced the world that he could place a manned rocket ship onto the moon, and return him back to earth!

It must’ve been a huge stretch of imagination, cemented with a firm faith and equal parts of an astronaut’s courage and bravery.

Even now, it’s an amazing feat.   But back then, Wow!

Not only convincing people that it could be done, but to actually determine space worthy durable materials and to develop multi-stage rocketry, that would be both recoverable and reusable.   What’s truly mind boggling is that he accomplished this with theories, calculations of the moon’s travel, its gravitational pull on the ship, all speculative because duh… no one had been on the moon!

But that’s exactly what technology did, it freed us of earth’s orbital pull.  Once thrust into space, it compensated for the moon’s spin, it slowed and let the moon’s gravity pull the ship in.  Forethought, precision and a predetermined location…. To land , walk, rove and stick a flag into the surface?  Yes, been there done that.

So, in some wispy thought, my mind thinks we should be able to develop a Perpetual Motion machine.  Why not?  We can defy the 1st and 2nd laws of Thermodynamics.  Hell, we’ve defied laws before!  Besides, what if all we really have to do, is to think and make it so?  What if the secret is as simple as visualization?

Might we then imagine ourselves to be more tolerant, more loving and patient with one another?  Maybe we could have Do-Tanks and Think-Tanks, with break-out sessions and toss around ideas and exchange business cards.  What if we could do all this, while realigning the figments of our imaginations into a virtual reality, that we might all do as Rodney King quipped, “All just get along”.

Then, it would be worth it, the ongoing pursuit of Perpetual Motion, technology…

I like the thought  🙂

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Technical M&M’s- (Machine 2 Machine)

$ Gumball tech
If the whole point of technology is to improve life, we must do better.

Concentrated and sustained effort will be needed, because we aren’t born brave or courageous. We’re just bits and pieces of our better selves that will need some assembly. Countered by persuasion, like M&Ms in a gumball machine, they don’t quite fit and are mostly, out of place, but have a sweetness to them. The Internet of Things is like that.

Strange bedfellows, these toilet bowls that scan and lightbulbs that sense when we’ve entered a room. Mood altering and so appealing, catering to our basic needs. Anticipating exactly what we want, before we know what we want, after having spent a long day at the office. We walk into our Smarthomes, feet up and relax, we don’t have to lift a finger. Except maybe to swipe about it.

But the Digital Age will not be victimless. There will always be some who don’t like progress, who wish for the good ol’ days and the old way of doing a thing, like flying moldy flags and writing grocery lists. Still microwaves and ovens will communicate what ingredients have been used and make status changes.

Our refrigerators will communicate with the grocer’s computer, sharing its awareness of upcoming expiration dates and it’ll use virtual coupons, clipped for greater savings. And of course, it won’t forget the eggs.

There’ll be no last minute notes, scribbled to the shopping list to also buy mocha-fudge ice cream, because we shouldn’t and machines won’t let us cheat on our diet. Besides, the toilet scanner will snitch, it always sends its findings to a electronic health folder. Yes, the medical team stays informed and the life insurance company will be notified. So much for sneaking a second slice of birthday cake, it wasn’t covered, and Fitbits don’t lie!

The Internet of Things and their connections to healthcare, transportation and communication will become exceedingly efficient and independent. Machine to machine learning, talking to themselves about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, so that we won’t have to do it ourselves, can improve lives.

Technology is sweet, like M&Ms placed in a gumball machine, innovative and appealing. Very much like the impact of the washing machine on society, as women were no longer tied to laundry.

It is a gift, a gift of time and so what will we do with it?

Will we move towards our better selves?

We aren’t born racist. We’re not born with prejudices. These aren’t evident at birth and aren’t naturally occurring traits. These are learnt behaviors, things that have been taught.

Fittingly, technology doesn’t care about your gender, or your sexual orientation. Technology doesn’t care what color you are, or your nationality, your age or your religion.

It’s all the more reason that we should be mindful that technology doesn’t overlook human needs, and policy must be put into place to protect us from us, our technology.

As we strive to improve life, it’s becoming increasingly clear that technology will afford us time and it will remind us that race and gender don’t matter; they never did…

We must do better.

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Filed under Fitbit, tech, technology, Wearables

Technology Calls Talk Radio

$ 0 Talk radio

Blah, blah, blah…  Maybe that’s what we sound like to our lesser selves, when we’re not feeling clever.

The sound that our minds hear, when technology is stale, like AM radio.  It’s what happens when technology is no longer exciting or fun.  Luckily, that isn’t the case with our smart technology.

The true ingenuity of apps, isn’t just what they’re capable of doing today but what inventiveness we conjure up tomorrow.  Those applications we add onto our devices to make them uniquely ours, that even if we could, who wouldn’t put back into the box.

How quickly we’d become outraged if we were restricted to the limits of a landline phone!  It would be a little bit like the Prohibition Era, a fertile ground where even the most law abiding citizen would become incorrigible.

It’s not like that with the radio, because the radio is for all practical purposes mostly unchanged.   It’s clung to its form like no other technology.  Here and there a tweak, maybe to bandwidth, or stereo and most recently high definition.  But really, nothing monumental.  It seems as if innovation stayed away; rarely fetching a nod of approval from a futurist because radio is, well unimagined as anything other than what it is, which is odd.  But maybe that’s simply because it’s great technology.

Other than the housing, nothing has changed.  Sure the components have gone from big to small, but the skeletal form has been slow to change.  Copper wire, a crystal, a glass vacuum tube, a solid state transistor and printed board circuitry.  And from this, the new breed of technology, as if it were a testing gorund.

Interestingly our sense of sound, when culled by a radio gets our attention in that old nostalgic way of a family gathered around a radio.  Talk radio and a sports game can engage us, especially when a talented sports announcer does that energetic play by play, colorful analyst.  We “see” the game in our imaginations, through his spoken words.  A gift really.

I’m only thinking about radios now, because I recently read an article that suggested white gaps in mobile technology can be used in low end areas.  Areas like zoos, that aren’t being supported by cellular.  Utilized in those areas where data traffic is in low demand and voice transmission might be beneficial.  Capturing that signal, as it bounces around mountain ranges, in leap-frog fashion across the earth’s curves, travelling along a noisy bandwidth.

It’s the same premise of a radio’s frequency signals, amplitude and modulated that evolved from analog to digital.  Then, like now, bandwidth space became choppy at lower ends, gaps caused white noise and eventually, those spaces were sold.  Think AM talk radio.

Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t it be something if we could be more inventive with radio??? In the Digital Age we might be more efficient, and not resort to old timey problem solving, maybe that’s the reason it’s called a communication gap.

Blah-blah-blah…  that’s when we become our lesser  selves, and not up to feeling clever.

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Bartering Technology for Cool Pink Lemonade

11 Lemonade Girls

What if Norman Rockwell’s America had been depicted differently?

What if little boys and little girls were treated equally, that they might pursue similar dreams, based on their aptitude; and not by what was in their diapers.  Maybe then, coding, and entrepreneurships wouldn’t be as male dominated as they are…

What if “Rosie”, the Riveter wasn’t just a wartime phenomenon, but was commonly seen in everyday life, as a woman no more extraordinary than the housewife attached by an apron string, by choice.

What if after the war she was promoted to CEO and we saw that image as well.  What dreams might her daughters and grandchildren have and how might they have lived, seeing themselves depicted equally?

That’s what I think. And I’m only thinking that way now, because this past August my idea was accepted and then advanced to phase two of the YouNoodle competition, Verizon’s Powerful Answers.  And as I moved along in the competition, the portion which I found most difficult was entrepreneurial, because I had no training in that area.  So I did my research and pushed forward, but it did sit with me and ultimately, my idea was passed on.

That’s what encouragement or lack of encouragement does, it can sit and become a burden, one that vexes you, or it can inspire you to rise and push, that you might become your greater self.  I call it a lemonade stance!  Taking life’s lemons and bartering them for a chance to live your life, your way!

Sometimes, we do it to ourselves, because it might be easier to create our own club, rather than knock on the door of his club.  But we need to remember that separate is never equal.

And being comfortable to speak, doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be heard; because we’ve effectively made it easier to be ignored, as a group huddled to one side of society.

I’m not a history revisionist, but if I were… we’d all know the wives of the great men of America.  Her story, the wife’s story would be motivational, for surely she had a story, as we all do and must.

Of the five men who have been credited with making America one of the most affluent and influential countries in the world, we know very little of their wives.   Try looking them up, there’s very limited information about them and it’s not simply because of the times, but society that has historically and effectively stifled them.

In tribute…

Laura Celestia Spelman, Abolitionist, Philanthropist and teacher married John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil) who she met in an accounting class.

Sophie Johnson married Cornelius Vanderbilt (Railroad) and ran the Bellona House, a hotel for weary travelers of her husband’s steamships.

Clara Bryant married Henry Ford (Automobile) and along with gardening was a business supporter in her husband’s business deals, that included convincing him to sign off on a Union contract.

Frances Tracy (2nd wife) married J.P. Morgan (Financier).  She preferred the quiet of the suburbs and home.

Louise Whitfield married Andrew Carnegie (Steel) and was a philanthropist.  She said it best:  “I am the unknown wife of a somewhat well-known businessman.”

But it’s wintertime in New England, a wonderful time for white fluffy snow that appeals to our aesthetic sensibilities.  A good time to pause and ponder life’s inequities, and like snow, thaw ideas that then nourish future minds, and grow so a child might become her greater-self and he might know of her.

Let’s begin by bartering life’s lemons for lemonade; to build lemonade stands.  So we can pass along tech advice, while we sip on cool pink lemonade and reimagine stories of what a damsel in distress looks like.

Cheers!

 

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Filed under AARP, Coding, Entrepreneurship, Gender, Gender Equality, Girls, Women

A Girl’s Journey Into The Next Lifetime

1a glassceiling

Truth is, long before finger swipes across a touch screen, I believed that cable technology would set girls free of gender limits.   That data was without bias and that even a glass ceiling had upside.

By looking up through it, one might pause and see one’s own image, and take stock of one’s progress… where you’ve been and how much further you might go.  And that assessment in a lifetime, if not yours would propel the next woman, if not now then in the next generation.

Women think like that, with interloped arms that both link them together, and allow them to stretch and reach into the future.  In some piggyback fashion, one generation steadily improves upon the next.   That’s how Boston’s cable training program came into being, female activists who themselves had passed their prime, haggled with city officials and politicians to create opportunities for young women like myself, that we could have a chance at gender equality.

First we became linesmen, as the city needed aerial distribution cables to feed neighborhoods, using lashing machines to pull lengths of cable through easements.   If you continued training, you might become an installer and then a technician.

But there were few positions available for women and departments were limited to how many women they could hire.  I was in the service department, with only three slots available:   one female installer, one female technician and one female engineer.

The manager didn’t hesitate to mince words, literally and figuratively, “It’s out of my hands.  There’s no more to be done.”  and the worse statement of all, “Don’t make me regret the hire.”

Ironically, being a female in a traditionally male job made passersby think that they could easily do your job!  We, women were constantly reminded of just how replaceable we were.   Sometimes that was enough motivation for me to dig my steel gaffs into the meat of the city’s telephone poles, climb up, do the work and to keep my job.

But I’ve known glass ceilings.  I’ve touched them, and was somehow comforted by their coolness on my fingertips.  Back then the cable industry was in its infancy and male co-workers, less qualified than I were quickly promoted and dispatched beyond grade, a reminder of how frail my position with the company was and it had been predetermined just how successful I would be; it tapered off at 35 feet, the exact height of a telephone pole.

Not even New England’s cold winters and snow blizzards could get me to stop climbing poles.   Especially during the Spring and summer months, when active equipment would need to be upgraded and whole neighborhoods would be without cable.   It was then that people cheered to see a technician’s truck.  I’d work and get the cable back on and it was a little heroic at times, or so it seemed.

Fathers would take their daughters by the hand and walk them across the street, where they’d wait for me to climb down from the pole.  Or they’d yell up and wave; then ask if I needed water.   On quiet days, when things had slowed, I’d hang around after the job was done.   Sometimes they’d invite me to speak to small groups at the YMCA or the Boys/Girls Clubs.  It was unscripted and impromptu, like hope itself.

I’d let them touch my gaffs and run their round hands across the leather linesmen belt.  The big metal D- loop and clasp would clang noisily, and I’d smile and hold it high.  Grand posturing, like a boxer before a championship bout.

I too, had grown up in the city.  And there I stood in my linesmen boots, living proof that a city gal could climb up from poverty on a telephone pole; it seemed noble.  And they seemed to see other possibilities for themselves, if not in this generation well then surely in the next.

 

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Filed under cable, Gender, Gender Equality, tech, technology, Telecommunications, Television, Women

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

Park-O-Meter Blues

2 trolley
Who thought it would be possible to miss a parking meter! But I do.

Last week, I watched as two city workers uprooted a few old parking meters. For years, these citadels of curbside spaces had collected coins and kept track of time as it expired. They were mainstays.

Unceremoniously, the two men cut the meter’s pole nearly flush with the sidewalk. They’d push it back and forth to snap the final shred of metal from its base, then they’d lean it up against a shoulder and chuck it up into the truck. One of the men would climb in behind it, while the other hopped into the truck’s cab and they’d drive a little more than a car’s length to the next meter and did the same, then onto the next and so on.

Two city blocks later, each stump was capped and roped off with yellow tape. A temporary sign read “No parking” and the tape, the kind used by the police to mark off crime scenes was knotted tightly.

And so the last of the fully coin operated parking meters, first introduced in 1935, were taken out of commission. It happened without fanfare, no bells were tolled, no military taps were played and no mourners gathered in black to wave goodbye to the Park-O-Meter era.

The notion of a city with “Free parking”, that coveted safe haven on a Monopoly game board, was swiftly removed; as the old poles were retrofitted with new hi-tech meters that seemed to have sprouted overnight. They’re no taller, but stand a little prouder than their predecessors.

These new meters accept all manner of payment, as well as coins. They’re solar powered, wireless, and I’m almost certain that they’ll alert a nearby meter maid of a pending infraction, and worse… they’ll self-generate a virtual ticket that can be e-mailed!

Parking meters are one of society’s greatest motivators. Capable of getting people in and out of stores at break-neck speeds because time does expire. Oh, I’ve known meters. But not like these.

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