Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “technology

10 Things to Tell Your Kids (or Grandkids) You Had Back in Your Day

1. Nine Planets

Pluto was downgraded to Dwarf Planet in 2006. Be on the look out for the modern fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarf Planets.

2. Mail on Saturdays

Beginning in August, the US Postal Service will no longer deliver mail (letters, catalogs, and the like) on Saturday. The plan will save $2 billion a year. Kudos.

3. A 7 time Tour de France

Lance Armstrong stripped of his titles. Doping. Have you been under a rock?

4. No asteroid mining

Not one, but two companies have unveiled plans to mine passing asteroids. The two companies, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, have plans to send mining operations to objects hurling through space. Good luck, asteroid juicers.

5. Landlines/telephone poles

Well, they haven’t gone away yet, but I’m pretty sure birds will have to start finding a new place to perch soon.

6. Dial up Internet/Internet without social networking

As per 10-15 years ago, if you were on the Internet, you were either on AOL or Netscape (as of 2008, Netscape’s website basically says “Go get Firefox”). Also, you were a nerd if you were on the Internet. Now, everyone and his dog has a web presence.

7. CD’s (or, dear God, tapes)

I remember my first CD. My Best Friend’s Wedding soundtrack.

The moment I wake up,
Before I put on my makeup!

8. Physical newspapers

What will we paper mache with? What will we line the table with when we carve pumpkins?

9. OJ Simpson jokes

Kids these days. Won’t even know who he is.

10. Chalkboards

Replaced by the much more powerful whiteboard, projector, and AV department.

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Bringing About the Apocalypse – or – Google’s Plan to Make Zombies

I’m convinced. Google is going to bring about the zombie apocalypse.

Either that or they’re trying to make the geek inherit the Earth.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Google has released several press releases talking about Google Glass. While they didn’t take my suggestion for their slogan (It’s a Computer…for Your Face!), Glass is something we can all get excited about.

Google Glass is a technological apparatus you wear on your face like, well, glasses. It’s like Blu-tooth with the smartphone integrated into the system. A forward facing camera allows you to interact with the icons.

The thing I find thrilling about this is that it basically gives you a heads-up display (HUD). For those of you familiar with gaming, first person shooters especially, you’ll know what I’m talking about. For those of you who aren’t, the HUD is stuff that appears on the screen while you’re running around your virtual world, like a map identifying threats, your health indicator, and other various things you should be aware of, depending on the environment.

Like this:

If you’ve seen Prometheus, they had this sort of interactive smart tech built into their helmets.

That sounds really cool, right? Gamers adapt to that within the virtual world, so, perhaps, that means people will be able to adapt in the real world and won’t be stuck running into a wall and not being able to turn around.

Hold the phone. If I’m so excited about that, what makes me think Google is trying to kill us all?

Not kill us, no. Cull us. You may have missed this article, too.

That’s right. Google Maps is now mapping interiors. You will be able to navigate inside buildings. This would definitely be integrated into the Google Glass display. It’d be like exploring a cave in Skyrim, except you don’t go in blind. It’s all laid out for you.

Partnered with this, I’m afraid Google is setting us up for an endgame. The early-adapters, the gamers, the nerds…they’ll have the upper hand. And, we know how this ends. The ones who are most prepared for the zombies are the ones that created them.

It’s the end of the world. You have your Google Glass, a 9mm, 50 rounds of ammunition, 3 health kits, standard shoes, shirt, jeans. Your objective?

Locate the Google facility.

It’s free roam. It’s open-ended. It’s adaptive.

And, you’re playing on hardcore mode.

Don’t forget to upgrade your weapons.


Notes on Social Media or I’m not from the government but I’ll help anyway

As you would have known from my previous post, I am true neutral.

But, in honor of my favorite Avenger, Agent Phillip Coulson, I am going to offer you some help in an attempt to put some rampant Internet rumors to rest.

There is no need to fear social media.

What are my qualifications?

Well, I’ll start with my baffling Klout score. I have kept my Klout score above 40 fairly consistently since I joined about a year ago. Is this because I want free stuff? No. Well, a little. But, really, a big part of maintaining my Klout score is by not actively attempting to maintain it. If you don’t know what Klout is, it’s an analytical tool (that is not perfect) that can be used to understand how influential you are and what you are influential about on several different social media sites.

I am the producer for Everything Internet Radio, a show dedicated to bringing small business owners and entrepreneurs everything they need to know about keeping their business uploaded and updated. We have a podcast, too, if that’s of interest. Anyway, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of not only the Internet, but the social media realm. We have two guests per show and at least one social media/marketing firm represented per show. I’ve been listening.

I was the Social Media Manager for the DFW Writers’ Conference, running their Twitter and Facebook accounts. A volunteer position that I could regrettably only give a few hours a week to.

Lastly, I’m under 30.

Still not convinced I’m qualified to give you advice on social media?

Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week when I post about something else. For those of you who care to stick around, here it goes.

A few things on social media.

1. Stop calling it your “platform”, “fan base”, etc…

What are you selling? Is it yourself? Because that reminds me of a different profession that has little to do with social media. When I stepped into my role with @DFWCon, they were working off bad advice. They had downloaded a program that automatically followed people with a particular hashtag, with the hope that these people would follow back out of some sort of honor based system of “Followback”. They had the same tweet going out once a day, just so there would be activity on the feed. I felt as though I were some captain coming out of hypersleep to find my spaceship drifting lazily through the void with a dull-witted automatic pilot, slipping my hands into the steering yoke to set everything back on course.

Why was this the wrong approach? Sheer numbers is not what social media is about. Social media is about building relationships. It’s about communication. What needed to change? We shouldn’t have targeted people in general, we should have tried to reach people interested in attending our conference. How? By interacting with our guest agents. James Rollins, our keynote speaker, was interacting with us on Twitter, talking about how he was excited to attend the conference.

Guess who follows James Rollins? People who like James Rollins.

Guess who should be attending our conference? People who want to hear James Rollins give a class/keynote address.

Is there going to be overlap?

Yes. A lot of it.

2. Patience.

Do you know how, in real life, when you meet someone, it takes time to build a rapport with that person? The same is true of social media. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re not going to start reaching everyone immediately, even if you want to. You know what also takes time? Learning the rules and shortcuts of the social network you’re using. Where does that @reply belong if you want everyone to see it? Not at the beginning of your tweet. When should I #hashtag? Depends. I like to do it when I’m being #ironic. What happens when I type the @ symbol in my Facebook status update? Well, try it and see. #evilgrin

My point is: Don’t get flustered. Look at it as a bright and shiny new tool, a new iPad, say. Here is this thing with potential. How you make it work for you is up to you. Relax. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask your followers. If that doesn’t work, or you have too few followers to get an answer, type your question into Google.

I could go on with tons of hints, but I’m going to stop after this next one. If you want to hear (read) more, let me know in the comments. Or not. I might do another one of these if I get frustrated at the fear-mongering again.

3. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

Not sure if you want to blog? Try it out. Don’t expect a lot of comments. If you don’t like it, go ahead and delete the blog. No one’s going to get mad at you. No one’s going to call you a failure. It’s not that big of a deal. Remember that age-old joke, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” Stop doing it.

Anyone who tells you that you “have to” do something is lying to you. If you don’t get any enjoyment out of tweeting or reading other people’s tweets, you can get off Twitter. Those people who say, “You’re not on Facebook? What’s wrong with you?”…there actually might be something wrong with them. I’m not against trying new things. Many things deserve to be tried. But, if you feel very reluctant about doing something online, don’t. We’re all friends here. We don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.

Don’t confuse the addicts with people who think you’re funny, sincere, genuine. Sometimes, people want to hear what you have to say and when they ask, “Are you on Twitter?” be honest. They’ll understand. Maybe not right away, but point them toward this post.

Social media is not something to be feared.

It’s something that promotes communication and relationships. It helps people stay in touch. It celebrates the human condition.

Enjoy it.


Society’s Existential Crisis

What a bright and beautiful Tuesday morning. Time for some philosophical ramblings on the state of the world.

It seems that everyone wants to ask “what’s wrong with the world today?”. The fact of the matter: nothing.

As I was listening to the insanely giddy bubblegum pop of the late 90’s and early 00’s (I like to bounce around to Nsync {take that, Justin Bieber}), there seems to be a great division between the world before 9/11 and after. The terrorist attack that rocked the nation has shaken us into a societal existential crisis.

For generations, America defined itself by its enemy. Communism (Russia, Cuba, Vietnam), Korea, Nazis. Before the string of wars that dominated the past century, America defined itself by isolationism, expansion, as well as a myriad of other ideals. Now, we are no longer defined by our enemy. Terrorism is a nebulous concept, too nebulous to help America establish an identity. We can fall back on the original tenets of freedom, equality, the American dream, but those are all nebulous, as well. We lean on philosophers and founding fathers in an attempt to get a firmer grasp on what these ideals mean specifically in order to live up to them. The fact remains that these terms are loose and open to interpretation.

For those who think there is a revolution coming, you’re a little late. The revolution is already happening. We are in a state of flux. Four of five societal tenets are changing. Socially, we are more connected than ever before. Your world is only as private as you make it, and even then, anyone with smartphone can broadcast your business to the interwebz. Economically, we are on rocky ground. Politically, bipartisanship is prevalent.

Intellectually, that’s a big one. Arguments and lawsuits over intellectual property, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, media piracy; how can one define what an idea is worth?

There is a generation gap. I’m not talking about ‘I’m young, you’re old’, I’m suggesting there is a fundamental difference in how Gen-X and Gen-Y think. Why learn anything when all you have to do is look it up on Google? We have forgotten the importance of knowledge.

Without knowledge, there can be no wisdom. There can’t be any wisdom without dignity, either, but that’s a topic for another day.

We need wisdom to break through the societal existential crisis. We need to reflect upon the past in order to create a future instead of running headlong at a light at the end of the tunnel, hoping it’s paradise and not the oncoming train. America is a nation less than 300 years old. Growing pains, paradigm shifts, reorganization; all these things need to take place.

Who are we? What do we value? What will our legacy be?

When the people one hundred years in the future look back on the 2010’s, what will the legacy be?