Tag Archives: technology

Jogging Siri

siriI was jogging on the beach listening to my iPod with bluetooth earbuds crammed in my head holes. They only jarred loose and fell out every few steps so it wasn’t that bad.

What a magnificent experience. Truly technology was a great thing.

Suddenly my workout was interrupted by the outside world utilizing the direct access to my brain I had so thoughtfully provided.

Beep. Beep. Bzzt.

“Siri,” I panted. “What was that?”

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Unsubscribe

unsubscribeCan you believe it’s already been four days since Christmas? That can only mean one thing: It’s time to get busy with the next holiday.

New Year? You’re up! My first resolution is to go Valentine’s Day shopping on January 2nd.

That means I’ve been thinking about resolutions. Let’s break it down.

The word is comprised of the Latin Greek words “re” (do over) and “solut” (ancient greeting) and “ions” (small particles).

I decided why wait so I already made one and having been acting upon it. And it has been a lot of fun.

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Happy Holo-Days

Sadly, Christmas technology just isn’t there yet.

We’re still celebrating in the old old-fashioned way. The wheel. Analog travel. And at what cost? Jet lag. Transportation risks. Fights over sounds and smells. Great expense.

In the far future we’ll step into the transporter room, say “energize,” and all meet instantly at uncle Joe’s place in the Bavarian alps.

Assuming most of us won’t be around for the 23rd century, what the hell are we supposed to do in the meantime?

My idea for a short-term interim solution is the hologram Christmas. Imagine it. You finish the last season of your favorite show on Netflix, have a seat in the imagine chamber and voila, you’re magically in the living room sitting around the hearth with the rest of the fam.

Fa la la la la la la!

No mess. No fuss. No road rage. No dodging other drivers brandishing weapons. No worries about snow in the pass. It’s just a good as being there. Better, even.

The technology is almost there. We just need some holo imagers, holo emitters, contact lenses embedded with Google Glass, and sufficient bandwidth. I’ll bet clever programmers can even come up with realistic holo versions of our current level of tablet and phone technology, so we can all lose our faces in devices just like we already do. That’s authenticity.

Happy holo-days to you and yours and everyone you’re willing to interface with.

Emperor OS

sneaky-computerI gave my computer some instructions and walked away. Bad move. Does not compute. Syntax error. Non sequitur.

“How dare you show your back to me!” the computer raged indignantly but passive-aggressively. That must be why it remained silent. It knew damn well what it was doing.

Working. Commit. Execute. Hey, little girl. Wanna see my update?

I don’t know why my computer calls me “little girl” but whatever. I kind of like it.

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Intersmellar: Google

Google is fluid and ever changing. It’s always trying to improve itself. Yes, I’m talking about it like it’s a thing. It’s The Blob.

The way Google works in the now is not necessarily the way it worked in the before.

For example, one day I noticed that entering certain words would provoke a dictionary response on the top of search results.

Search: allegory

Response: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Hey. Thanks, Google. That’s kind of sort of useful if I’m in the mood for a dictionary type response. A little down-arrow is included so the box can be expanded to see things like additional definitions, word origin, translations, and even a cute little chart of “usage over time.”

Looking at Google.

Reviewing Google’s search results.

Then, yesterday, I decided to try the function again, this time for the word “interstellar.”

My God. It’s full of commercials.

The dictionary box was gone. Almost like it never existed. In its place was a box entitled Showtimes. Yes, that’s right, Google. Good job. Interstellar is also the name of a movie. You figured it out.

The right side of the page was also transformed. What used to be blank space was now essentially a big advertising poster for the movie. There’s a thumbnail photo, a series of reviews (it really is full of stars) and other info about the movie. A way to jump to posts on Google+ was thoughtfully provided, thumbnails of the cast and, last but not least, a section called “People also search for.” (This last one I like to call Who Gives A Shit?)

Very interesting, of course, except for that fact that none of this was what I actually wanted. Google excels at this.

I carefully checked the rest of the page. Perhaps tucked away in a corner of the screen there’d be a way to ask for the dictionary? Nope. Nothing.

It was almost as if the dictionary box had been erased. From existence. And magically replaced with Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino. Great Scott! This is heavy!

So what happened? Just like that alternate timeline (which Marty and Doc eventually repaired) Big Daddy Google has come up with a clever system of analyzing words based on money.

The proprietary Google algorithm looks something like this:

is search term a big money word, something that can be sold

if yes, show results_monetized()

if no and it’s a dictionary word show the dictionary_box() followed by results()

if no and it’s not a dictionary word, show our bastardized rip of a wikipedia entry followed by results() including a link to the real wikipedia page

I know this is complicated programmer-style pseudocode but that’s essentially how it works.

Sooner or later this will happen to every word in the English language dictionary and Google will cease to be a valid source of information and will exist only as a shill, much like a carnival barker on the midway. This process is known as the google stomp. Given enough time Google will have about the same meaning as a highway billboard that advises, “Eat at Joe’s.”

Spend $120 on a game and you just might win a piece of crap made in China that’s worth fifty cents. That’s a Google-sized bargain. This is our inevitable future.

Technology and continuous improvement. Is there anything better? Kaizen!

Abyss Christmas Gift Giving Guide 2014

distorted-floorIt’s Christmas 2014 already. How the hell did that happen? Who has been playing with the time machine?

If it’s pitch black in the house by 5pm it must be time for me to get off my ass and start working on the Abyss Gift Giving Guide. Well, okay. I’ll give it a shot.

We were supposed to have flying cars by what? 2008? 1999? Where are they? Where are my flying cars? In the meantime, what else ain’t we got?

The following ideas are products of my fertile incontinent barren mind and may not yet be available in stores…

e-i-Opaque Windows

Thank god this has nothing to do with Microsoft.

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Who Is Hosing Me?

I hope y’all enjoyed the kid-friendly headline. It wasn’t my first choice. -Ed.

I’m looking at one of the 42,000 spinning animations that constitute the soundtrack of my life. In this particular instance it belongs to the Netflix app on my iPad. But really it could be any of them.

One question: Who is responsible for this outage outrage?

Yes, we have the technology to sell technology whether it is ready for prime time or not.

When I was a kid “sit and spin” was consider an insult. Now it’s a phrase that singularly defines an entire generation of tech-hungry consumers.

Who decided this shit was ready? Because I have a serious bone to pick with them.

The technology cycle works like this: Invent. Sell. Count your piles of gold. Then, and only then, stick your head up, look around and see how it works. (Just ask Apple about iOS 8.)

This thing, right here, right now, is not working. Since it takes about 42 pieces of tech just to make this go, how should I proceed? Is there a way for an average schmo like me to logically isolate the culprit? Is there anyone I can call who won’t say, “Nope. It’s not us,” and point the finger at one of the other 41 links in the chain, including me?

I think not.

Is it my ISP? The cable assholes of Satan? Is it the router? The modem? Any points of relay on the internet between me and them? Is it a problem in my iPad? Is it Netflix itself? Is it the Amazon Cloud where Netflix wisely decided to put their egg in a basket? Is it a fucking solar flare?

All I know is that I paid a lot of money for this shit and that money is long gone. And there’s no tech fairy who will make it right.

What a helpless feeling. It’s enough to make my head spin.

This post was written on an iPad using only one finger. Sheer torture.

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