Is technology getting smarter? Are we letting it make us dumber? Yes, and YES!

originally posted 3/20/2009 7:37 am

A talk on Sixth Sense interactive wearable computers:  “http://www.ted.com/talks/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html

(Watch the clip above first, then read on…)
So whatcha think?

While it’s kind of cool, I don’t like it.  Just like I don’t need my phone to do more than be a phone.  We are already too reliant on technology.  Can you remember when you used to actually know the phone numbers, including area codes, of all your friends/relatives/co-workers.  Now we just program all that crap into our phones and when the phone is dead or service unavailable, we’re lost.  Same with half the dolts behind the registers at our restaurants.  Have them try to add up the cost of a value meal plus tax if the registers are down, then make change because the credit card device won’t run your card.  Wait, you probably don’t have cash on you anyway.

And just for a very brief jaunt down the security path:  Currently, someone trying to determine if you are, indeed, the target he’s looking to nab/whack/etc. may be required to approach you at a bar/store/wherever and ask seemingly innocuous questions in a friendly manner which may tip you off to something not being quite right.  Imagine how different that would be if all he has to do is don the camera/projector combo and walk around until his device tells him he’s found his target… no need to talk at all.  No tip off that something’s up.  And then, if he decides to chat with you to lure you somewhere, his computer is providing him tons of data about your hobbies, family, company, etc. that he can use to his advantage.

We’re spending all our time learning how to make computers and technology do things for us under the claim that it gives us more time.  Do you have more free time than you used to or are you spending that time programming your gadgets and answering that annoying ring on your hip?
[I have to admit that I like the addition of the camera in the phone and do send an occasional text]

Comments:

Old Bob wrote (4/9/2009 8:39 pm):
I wonder what happened when he forgot he was wearing the finger sensors and scratched his balls?

Fritz wrote (4/17/2008 12:54 pm):
So… couldn’t one say that telephones have displaced mail or face to face communication the way the modern phone has displaced older ones?

Working Hard or Hardly Working

originally posted 3/16/2009 4:18 pm

I’m a geek!

I freely admit that I am, although I am way out-geeked by some folks I know.

Like millions of others, geeks and non-geeks alike, I am also on Facebook.  Like a smaller population of Facebook users, I play a number of the games created by Zenga for users to play for free.  I still haven’t joined the gazillions of folks playing the pay-to-play online games like World of Warcraft, but I digress.  The Zenga games I play involve a few basic actions:  create your persona, use energy to do missions, buy properties to increase your hourly currency so you can buy more abilities/weapons/etc so you can do more missions.  Throw in level increases based on experience and you’ve got a very rudimentary RPG.  I love RPGs (role-playing games) and am still playing Dungeons & Dragons with paper, books, and dice.  (I know, off topic again.)  So, these games also allow you to attack other players to gain experience and currency.  I don’t get into this much myself, but there are some folks I know who love to do this.

I hit my Facebook account a few times a day at minimum.  At least a couple times a day, I go to the games I play, do missions until my energy is gone, spend or bank my currency and logoff.  Yes, I am able to hit Facebook from my computer at work, and yes, I do hit it now and then (during periods of downtime, over lunch when I’m still at my desk, or for a two minute break from coding —see my job is even geek) to change my status or even hit the games quickly.  When I open the games I usually have notes that I was attacked by someone or someones, frequently multiple times if they beat me.

Recently, I’ve noticed an interesting trend which lead to this post.  When do you think the heaviest hits on my characters takes place?  Over the weekend or evening/night during the typical work week?  Nope.  I see very little activity on the weekend.  Almost all the real damage to my personas and their properties takes place during what would be considered by most to be the standard work day in the North American time zones.  Now, as I’ve said, I do ocassionally hit these games during the day, but the amount of time I spend compared to the amount of time it takes for all the attacks I suffer during the day is very small.

I know a guy who keeps one of these games open for a large percentage of his time at work so he can do missions and attack other gamers.  He also watches for when he gets attacked to that he can respond.  As far as I know, he is the only one in his office who does this, but I have to wonder how many of these guys are out there at work with their game of choice open all day.  Add this time to time spent reading news, chatting with co-workers, etc. and you can easily see where my title came from.

Now, some would argue that if we block sites so people can’t get to these time wasters, productivity would go up.  I fervently believe otherwise.  Block these sites and people will spend more time talking, reading print media, etc.  The only way to increase productivity is to have something productive for people to do and have a manager who makes sure they are getting the job done.  If the workers get their jobs done quickly, let them be rewarded by a few minutes of downtime.  Let them take a quick break from a stressful task to hit a leisure site (that’s tasteful, non-offensive, etc.) without having to take a coffee or smoke break.  It keeps them at their desk where they can still be reached by email or phone.

Of course, I’ve now skewed in a different direction than intended, but I guess that’s ok.  It’s my blog after all.

Comments:

Old Bob wrote (3/17/2009 9:20 pm):
The last paragraph sounds like the basis for a Dilbert strip. All we need now is the pointy-haired boss and Catbert.

Khan is Gone

originally posted 1/16/2009 12:02 pm

As a kid, I remember thinking it would be cool to go to Fantasy Island.  I mean, come on, just show up and get to live out your wildest fantasy… who wouldn’t love that?  Looking back, I realize the fantasies never quite worked out as the people hoped because they never thought about all the potential consequences and repercussions, but I digress.  The point of this entry is to mourn the passing of Ricardo Montalban.  Aside from Fantasy Island (and many other movies and TV shows), he was a fantastic villain in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  To read more about him, here’s a link to the Ricardo Montalban Wikipedia page.  R.I.P., Mr. Rourke!

Comments:

Old Bob wrote (1/17/2009 12:56 am):
I hated him as ‘boss’ but loved him as Khan. He was the only villain who really had a chance to kick Kirk’s ass. These days genetic manipulation does not seem so far fetched.

Fritz wrote (1/17/2009 1:40 pm):
Rich Corinthian leather. Mmmmmmmm

It’s Cookie Time

originally posted 1/13/2009 9:58 pm

Well, my daughter joined a Daisy troop a few months ago and now it’s Cookie time.  Which leads me to this post… which is kind of related to the comment Dammun made to my Dontcha Hate It When post.  We’ve already told the troop leader that we’re not interested in sitting in any malls or camping out in front of stores.  Why do stores allow every organization that has something to sell or wants to pander for your money to harass their customers?  Do they think we enjoy it?  “Hey, honey, we need to go to the grocery store.  Which one has the Girls Scouts (or Boy Scouts or DAV or name-your-favorite-group) sitting out front of both doors hitting us up to buy from them on the way in and out of the store?  I really want to go there.”  NOT!!!

Dontcha Hate It When… The End Around at Work

originally posted 1/13/2009 7:58 am

…someone makes a request for you to do something and, as much as you’d like to help them out, it just isn’t the best idea –it doesn’t quite fit how or where they want.  You explain to them that it isn’t the best idea, make a suggestion on a better way to do it, and even go further by doing a couple things they hadn’t thought of to help further their goal, but that isn’t good enough for them.  They figure out who your boss is and go above your head.  Ok.  I understand, they just really want what they want, but when they go above your head, they suddenly have a slightly different story, more justification, more support, more authority, more whatever.

Comments:

Dammun wrote (1/13/2009 2:35 pm):
Yeah…

I also hate going shopping, and just as I’m paying for my goods, I’m asked to donate to some Children’s or Homeless charity. And when I decline why I get stares from the employee as some sort of insensitive jerk? Not that I wouldn’t do would I could to help others, but maybe if you asked me before I spent my last $5 donating to some wildlife fund in the last store I was in 10 minutes ago I might contribute. I can’t keep doing this every store I go into otherwise I’m going to need my own benefit fund!

Old Bob wrote (1/13/2009 3:26 pm):
My recommendation is to go find them and threaten to rip their head off if they do it again…of course you may be looking for another job before long. People suck.

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