Wednesday, 9 June 2010


The arrival of the postman these days nearly always means another bill, or a flyer from someone trying to sell you insurance cover for the pet gerbil you haven't got. since the introduction of mobile phones, text messaging, and email took over the worlds communication the art of writing with ink on paper has become the sole domain of school children and doctors, the fact that in both cases whatever written is barely illegible, probably makes most of us thankful for the cell phone, computer and printer.

It was predicted that the explosion in alternative communication would decrease direct contact with others and a drop in interaction, however talking, sharing views and exchanging ideas has increased in volumes way beyond anyones expectations, and in ways that none of us could have anticipated or even dreamed of just a few years ago.

I started traveling abroad with work about 15 years ago, and on those week long trips we were allowed a single phone call back to our families to say that we had arrived safely. more frequent interaction would have required either computers the size of your average industrial estate, or smoke, a blanket and a high mountain. Soon after this I did a stint in Georgia, USA, this involved spending 3 months or so at a time in a place just around the corner from the dark side of Jupiter called Brunswick, and aside from the initial phone call the only other means of communication was via a 56k dial up modem and email, although as we never had a computer in our home this proved fairly pointless for communicating anything other that telling work that you were still alive, and hadn't spent all of your company expenses - yet.

In contrast I am now able to tell my family when I am about to go to sleep, when i have woken up, what I had for lunch, how bad the taxi driver smelt, and how soft the toilet paper is in the hotel, in fact technology allows us all to record, display and share every second of our day to anyone anywhere in the world, as it happens, and in full colour. Whilst I can not deny helping my son do his maths via msn, as I travel in a taxi somewhere in the middle of Swaziland is useful, or that checking-in online for a flight to allow yourself the luxury of an extra 30 minutes in bed is a great treat. However i do think that this can all go too far, first we had email, then text messaging, instant messaging, blogging and now twittering.

As a blogger myself it may seem hypocritical for me to dispel twittering as a fad or a craze that doesn't have any real merit. However (although it may not always seem like it) I only use email, texts, or instant messaging if I want to tell somebody something, or conversely find something out. You could still argue that blogging in this context is pointless? I suppose, my original purpose was to let family and friends know what I was up to, However i found that I enjoyed writing and have used it as a way to capture what was going on in my life, my thoughts, ideas and at least it gives me something to do at the airport.

I don't twit, or twat or whatever the correct term is, and I don't post pictures of my shoelaces on Facebook. The idea of twittering doesn't fill me with any excitement, knowing the precise time when your next door neighbour has emptied his bowels or brought a new dishcloth, isn't top of my "things to understand before I die" list. I can see the appeal of following a 'celebrity' if that's your bag, but trying to fit my life into 120 words would be a big problem for me, and besides I have enough problems trying to make my blog interesting using 1000+ words each week, let alone making every 5 minutes seem at all worthy of publishing.

So for the moment I will still to my blog, although a couple of things will/have changed recently, the first is that I am slowly defecting to wordpress, after several years of sticking with Blogger, i have grown tired of not being able to access it in China without engaging the type of technology used by the worlds espionage fraternity. I have also had many problems with reading blogger via Internet explorer and having to revert to the more accommodating Mozilla. Which despite being superior to Microsofts offering, isn't as widely used or even known by many people.

The other event is one that I am bursting to tell, just like a small child would be when wishing to tell everyone where the last friend is hiding in a game of hide and seek, or if his brother had just kicked the football through the kitchen window and his burgeoning desire to denounce any responsibility to his parents. Some people in the press have suggested that the event I am talking about can compare with the feeling they had at the birth of their first born, how stupid - it is far more important and emotional than that, and it doesn't require feeding every five minutes, it doesn't smell like the devils armpit and isn't subject to screaming fits.

Of course the event is the introduction of my new new toy, I am writing this blog on the equivalent of Moses tablets of stone - the Apple iPad. Yes I must be crazy to buy into an unproven technology and of course this isn't as revolutionary as we may have all hoped and dreamed of during the longest labour in history, but it is pretty spectacular.

But surely it's just an overweight iPod touch? But that's like saying the Bugatti Veyron is just a faster Fiat Panda, Concorde was just a sleeker Bi-plane or Buckingham Palace is just a large house. the iPod touch and it's brother the iPhone reinvented the mobile phone market, love or hate Apple you cannot deny the impact these products have had on the industry - especially now that everyone is running to try and catch up.
I have had all 3 generations of iPhone and despite the obvious limitations have loved each one, the iPad just does everything the same just bigger and better - ask any women if size matters, and if they say no, they are trying to protect your ego!

With a desire not to sound like an Apple nerd I won't jump into a 5000 word essay on why it's brilliant, but I will sum my views into one word - speed. Any one who has lived with a windows laptop, will know that the boot-up time can feel like passing a kidney stone, as can the time to find a document, or switch between applications. I can now understand why Steve (The Messiah) Jobs couldn't understand the need to run multiple applications at once, he obviously hasn't used one of Mr Gates windows products, if you don't keep your applications all open at the same time, you die of boredom between waiting for one to open up. The introduction of running multiple applications on the next OS 4.0 may make some people happy - I just hope it doesn't kill the ipads single biggest advantage - speed!

No comments:

Post a Comment