Rise of the Machine | Random Thought for July 6, 2018

When’s the last time you were asked to remember someone’s phone number? What about basic directions to get somewhere? I got to thinking about that this morning after listening to a replay on a radio show where they were taking calls on weird and crazy things that have happened as a result of wonky navigation app directions.

Old(ish), but not a fogey

I’m a Gen X’er. I’m in my 40s, so I’m part of this last “analog” population. I’ve seen the explosion of computer use. The transition from LPs and video tapes to CDs and DVDs, and now streaming. I remember having to carry loose change if I needed to call home while I was out. My dad had maps in his glove compartment, and I would help navigate on long car rides. I also needed to remember those numbers I wanted to call, or, I suppose, write them down in an address book. Come to think of it, when’s the last time you HAD an address book. The last one I bought was over 20 years ago (I’m sure I have it in a box somewhere).

I still have a stack of scraps of paper with usernames and passwords that I mean to transfer to a notebook (I just can’t bring myself to use one of those password managers). There’s a core set of websites I visit daily, and I key in login info by hand. Not only is it good mental exercise, but it’s also a way to not be dependent on technology.

This doesn’t mean I’m some sort of tech-averse luddite (I know someone like that, and believe me, I DO NOT want to be that type of person). My smartphone is my go-to piece of tech that is with me pretty much everywhere. I love my DVR. Spotify is basically my source for music discovery. I’m comfortable in that world. I embrace it.

the takeaway

And that’s it– sure, technology can, and does, make our lives easier. But it shouldn’t be at the expense of losing what, for lack of a better metaphor, is part of what makes us human.

Pagers, email, emoticons and priorities

pager-blog-post-image

I remember that, back in the “olden” days of pagers and beepers (you know, the 90s), we would add codes to messages to indicate certain things (a little like how we have LOL and emojis today). I imagine this was done as a way to save on the number of characters being used in a message. Frankly, I can’t remember the exact reason. I do remember that one of the most popular shorthands was to add “911” to a message to indicate the level of urgency that was needed in the reply (another was “411”, used to request info). Fast-forward a number of years, and I realize that some people I’ve come across over the years ALWAYS send their emails flagged as “high priority”. And it got me to thinking… 

We live in such an interconnected world where communication has become almost instantaneous– from things like cell phones and social media posts to instant messaging on mobile devices.

So I wonder– has email’s “high priority” outlived its usefulness? Or does the little red flag (or exclamation point!) still a place for it in our modern communications?

Curious 2 know 411 911

Random Thought for Friday, September 27, 2013

In the spirit of full disclosure– Although I’m a fan of Apple, and am both personally and professionally an owner, user and consumer of Apple’s products, I am not— as of this writing, at least— an iPhone user. 

Since the release of iOS 7, I’ve listened to the reactions on radio and tv, and read opinions both on-and off-line. Although the speed and rate of adoption has been high (as is with any new technology), the reactions so far have been, in my less-than-scientific survey, overwhelmingly less than positive, ranging from a “wait and see” to indifference to downright disgust.

This got me thinking– Does iOS 7 have the potential of becoming Apple’s Vista?

Just thinking out loud here…