Posts Tagged ‘technology’

There is this article that Dan Lewis of Now I Know pointed to: Why Nothing Works Anymore, with the subtitle “Technology has its own purposes.”

“The contemporary public restroom offers an example. Infrared-sensor flush toilets, fixtures, and towel dispensers are sometimes endorsed on ecological grounds—they are said to save resources by regulating them. But thanks to their overzealous sensors, these toilets increase water or paper consumption substantially. Toilets flush three times instead of one. Faucets open at full-blast. Towel dispensers mete out papers so miserly that people take more than they need.

“Instead of saving resources, these apparatuses mostly save labor and management costs. When a toilet flushes incessantly, or when a faucet shuts off on its own, or when a towel dispenser discharges only six inches of paper when a hand waves under it, it reduces the need for human workers to oversee, clean, and supply the restroom.”

Surely I have experienced this. In the previous building I worked in, the toilet flushed an average of 2.5 times every time. Not only would the faucets only turn on with proper distance wave, they would often fail to turn off even ten minutes later. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

I’m not the handiest person in the world, but I have opened the back of a standard toilet to get it to work again. I think this is the same frustration car owners have with everything so calibrated that they can’t fix what’s under the hood. It gives me an uneasy feeling.

I went to this home show maybe decade or so ago, and we marveled how wonderful a “smart” house would be, knowing how efficient it would be. Likewise the driverless car. These would be particular wonders to the elderly and the disabled. But can they be hacked?

Or go rogue? I think of HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the characters in the movie Westworld. I don’t think I’m just being a Luddite when I get wary that technology will always make our lives easier. Maybe paranoid, though.

Amazon fireALL of her friends had some sort of electronic device, and she did not, so someone (Santa? The Wife and I? I forget) gave The Daughter an Amazon Fire for Christmas. It was one of the best presents I ever got.

For one thing, it ended the fussing over The Wife’s work iPad. It was entrusted to the adult, of course, but the child knew far better how to actually USE the thing. I was of no help in this arena either.

The Daughter getting her own device means Read the rest of this entry »

Satellite-navigationWhen you know you’re going to be unavailable, and you want to write ahead, you do list thingies. Thanks to fillyjonk:

20 Skills Facing Extinction
According to some survey, “younger generations have a lack of interest in things like reading maps, tying knots and remembering phone numbers. They don’t know how to knit, use a compass, darn a sock or write in cursive. Here are the following 20 skills facing extinction.”

1. Reading a map: Yes, I can do this; I often serve as navigator, going back to my childhood. What I CAN’T do, apparently, is refold a road map properly. But I have loved maps since Read the rest of this entry »

More of those Ask Roger Anything answers.

clonesMy colleague Ed asked:

So, if the technology existed (it will sooner or later) that would do the following 2 things:
1) As soon as you are born a clone would be created with your DNA. This clone would grow in a chamber inanimate until it is needed when you die.
2) From the moment of birth everything that ever happens in your life will be uploaded in real time to storage.

Premise one: You step off of the curb to cross the street and are struck and killed by a bus. At the exact moment of impact you real-time data is downloaded to your growing clones brain and the clone is activated. The clone sits up exacerbated and screams “Oh My God” in regard and reaction to the last memory recorded just a millisecond ago and then relaxes and realizes what happened and that he has just been killed but also been reanimated. Every single memory and experience from life in his previous body intact. Two main questions (this is from a scientific and logic perspective)

Q:1 – Is that clone really you? Has your life been extended? Read the rest of this entry »

skeuFriend Dan wrote to me about the word skeuomorphism, which was not in my vocabulary. But I didn’t see the email right away since it ended up in my spam folder, because “It’s written in a different language than your messages typically use.”

So what IS it? The Technopedia explains:

Skeuomorphism refers to a design principle in which design cues are taken from the physical world. This term is most frequently applied to user interfaces (UIs), where much of the design has traditionally aimed to recall the real world – such as the use of folder and files images for computer filing systems, or a letter symbol for email – probably to make computers feel more familiar to users.

Yeah, sure. I hadn’t thought about it, but that was a really ingenious idea.

However, this approach is increasingly being criticized Read the rest of this entry »

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