Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Computer America Radio Show

Sandy is now a regular on Craig Crossman’s Computer America radio show. Here’s the details on when to listen!

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What Technology Will Be Like in 2014

A Swedish company called TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) put out this video with their ideas of what their technology will be like in 2014. It’s very interesting, especially if you would like to see Sweden win the World Cup in 2014. I think that this technology the thing to watch for the future, whether you want to buy stock in a company or just want to peer into the crystal ball. If you want to learn more about the screens of the future, check out the Corning Video that is even more detailed.

Social Media Addiction

Are we becoming a society that misses out on the real world because we are so focused on the online world of social media? Here’s how I see it.

This morning, I arrived at my bank about 10 minutes before it opened. I stood in front of the bank building breathing the fresh clean autumn air and was enthralled by the sun glistening on the leaves of the three magnificent magnolia trees across the street. I turned my attention to the autumn color bursting forth from several other trees as I wondered about how they kept the entire area so pristine.  Several early morning exercise-seeking walkers and joggers greeted me with a hearty “good morning”. It was truly a magnificent morning.

A few minutes after I arrived at the bank a young man drove up in his truck. He was quite obviously also waiting for the bank to open. I noticed that he was intent on thumb typing on his smart phone. At exactly 9 am when he emerged from his truck I asked what he had been doing. He replied that he was checking his Facebook page and accessing Twitter on his smart phone.

This is the regrettable side effect of today’s technology.  While this fellow was engaged in social media on his phone, he was missing the real world and real people.

His actions are quite typical of twenty- and thirty- somethings in today’s world. At a garage sale that I held recently, I had a lot of wonderful people who were friendly and talkative, but I also had several young people who never even said hello to me because they were engaged in conversations on their cell phones. I also recently met a girl who said she went into a panic because she found herself in a line at the grocery store and was without her cell phone. She would normally check her Facebook and Twitter pages if she found herself with a few extra minutes of time. In fact, she routinely checked her Facebook and Twitter pages whenever she was stopped at a red light.

I realize that online social media is a big draw today. In fact, you can hardly be in business today if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account.  Where five years ago we were seeing advertising with Internet addresses everywhere, today we are seeing advertising with “See our Facebook Page” at the bottom.

Everyone is flocking to these websites where you befriend and follow people. You may know these people in real life, but more often than not, they are simply online acquaintances.  Getting to know these people and to communicate with them can be great fun. I have a ton of Facebook friends and several of them have even turned out to be friends in the real world. But when these online relationships become so important that we miss the beauty of the real world and interactions with real people, it seems that it is a case of technology gone wrong.

Every day I see teenagers so engaged with texting on their cell phones that they walk out into traffic. I see people who drive poorly because they are talking on the cell phone.  I see people in the grocery store having a conversation through their Bluetooth ear piece while ignoring the other people in the store and while actually aggravating others with their loud conversations with their invisible friends.

I love technology, but we need to control technology rather than have it control us. The use of social media can become an addiction. We need to engage in the real world. And we need to teach our children that online relationships can never replace real relationships.

Please feel free to add your comments. I’d love to know what you all think.

Welcome New Grandson into World of Future Tech

Christian Anderson Berger
Christian Anderson Berger

Christian Anderson Berger

There was a special event in my life this month…. the birth of a grandson, Christian Anderson “Andy” Berger. Being born in 2010 is something special. In fact the year “twenty-ten” sounds pretty futuristic to those of us born in the years prefaced with the number 19. And it is futuristic! Andy will see technological changes in the world that most of us cannot even imagine today.

His health and longevity will certainly be improved because of technology. We may or may not find a cure for cancer during Andy’s lifetime, but we are sure to make huge strides in diagnosing and treating common diseases. Genetic testing will become commonplace uncovering genetic predispositions and allowing for preventative medicine to take the forefront. I envision Andy being able to put his hand on the bathroom mirror every morning and have his customized vitamins and medicine dispensed in the proper doses right on the spot.

After that he may wonder into the kitchen to read the daily newspaper. It will, of course, be in an electronic form, but instead of today’s e-book readers, it may be on a substance that looks and acts much more like real paper. Andy will, no doubt, have some help with the housework. Today we have robotic vacuums, floor scrubbers, and gutter cleaners. While Andy may not have a robotic maid named Rosie, he will most certainly have technological help. It is not too far-fetched to envision his having a robotic helper to pick up and wash the clothes. And certainly, by the time he has his own home, someone will have developed a self-cleaning toilet.

By the time Andy heads off to college, computers and communication devices will be ubiquitous and may, in fact, be rolled into one gadget. His entire life will revolve around whatever device becomes his communication device, e-book reader, information finder, entertainment hub, and payment center. Money may become obsolete as he uses his “lifestyle device” to pay for purchases wherever he goes.

As technology increases in Andy’s life, so will the stresses that come with being always available and with constant multi-tasking. No problem though, society will be well beyond 3-D television. Perhaps Andy will be able to use a device like the Holodeck from Star Trek to take an instant vacation. By then, the entertainment that Andy sees will be so realistic and immersive, that it will make him feel like he is really there. This will be great for a vacation paradise that he will need after being truly immersed in that intense murder thriller.

With technology like that, it may be difficult to tell what is real. Today, we cannot discern when a photo has been digitally manipulated into something illusionary.  For Andy, though, it may be difficult for him to discern if what he has just seen is real or imaginary.

While Andy will benefit from health and entertainment advances, he may find that he has very little privacy. Most of his life will be documented on the Internet. Public cameras will be everywhere. RFID tags as small as a grain of salt may be put into every object that Andy uses, making them totally traceable. No matter though, the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks as they have for us.

These are just a few of the things that Andy will have to look forward to in his lifetime, I’m sure that each of you have your own ideas of what life will be like for him and his generation. While you are thinking about it, be sure to remember that there was a time not long ago when we didn’t have Google to look things up instantly, when a large television had a 24” black-and-white picture, when you had to wait several days for your message to reach a friend by U.S. mail,  and when you couldn’t call the person you were meeting at the coffee shop to tell him that you were running late.

We have come a long way in our lifetime and I am sure that the world will see some outstanding and useful changes in Andy’s lifetime as well. While you are thinking about what some of those changes will be, please join me in welcoming Andy to this Brave New World!!

Welcome the New Decade

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to welcome the new decade. This year we move from the 00 years to the 10s.

Some are calling the decade just past the oh-o’s.  From the beginning of the decade with the introduction of global terrorism to the end of the 00’s with economic tribulations, there were many problems and missteps in the oh-o’s.  But if you look at technology during this decade, rather than troubles and tribulations, you will see a slow evolution of growth and advancement.

In my New Years newspaper column for 2001, I made some predictions. Here are the predictions and the results.

The Internet will be faster for many.

During the past decade, millions of new Internet users were added to the online community. Millions more upgraded their Internet service to the faster broadband service. Some are even using high-speed fiber optics to access the Internet. (Unfortunately, not in our neighborhood.) The Internet has become so much a part of our lives that the word “Google” has been added to the dictionary.

Home networking will make its appearance.

Both Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Apple’s new Snow Leopard operating systems have home networking built-in. Both companies are offering family packs for three home computers. Millions of families now have two or more computers in their homes.

Music will continue to merge with the computer.

The iPod was introduced in 2001 and you know the rest of the story. People everywhere have wires hanging from their ears as they listen to digital music. Millions have digitized their music collections on the computer and download that music to their portable players. It is even becoming popular to use iPod docks or media extenders to listen to the digitized music throughout the home. Millions are also using their computers and Internet radio stations to listen to music from around the world.

Digital photography will become a popular hobby.

No one will argue that digital photography has become the norm. I haven’t seen a non-digital camera in eons. When the flashes go off, whether it’s at sporting events or a birthday party, the cameras are all digital.

Wireless and portable will be hot.

Millions of people access the Internet from their portable netbooks, laptops and/or smartphones. They can use WiFi in places like Starbucks and Paneras. Some also use a cellular connection to hook up just about anywhere. Wireless and portable are the hottest things out there today.

Internet Appliances will face a shakeout.

You might remember the push for Internet appliances back in the year 2000. They faced a big shakeout, and have reemerged as the netbooks which were one of the most popular types of computers in the last few years.

Several things that I did not talk about at the beginning of the decade have also changed our lives. Everyone from Luddites to great-grandmothers are now using cell phones. Some of you, like me, have even given up your land-line and gone all cellular. And millions of you now have smart cell phones like the iPhone that let you surf the web, play games, get satellite directions, and play music.

Television has undergone a huge transition. We now have televisions that are larger and thinner than we ever dreamed of. We have TiVos and video recorders that let us replay live TV and time-shift our TV viewing to suit our individual schedules. Hi-definition televisions and Blu-ray players produce amazingly detailed pictures. With the introduction of high-profile 3D movies like Avatar, we may even be moving into a 3-dimensional world for both movies and television.

We don’t want to forget about the many wildly popular Internet sites that have become a vital part of our world. We now have Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can connect with friends from around the world, get a minute-to-minute rundown of what everyone is doing, and see videos of everything from dancing cockatoos to how to stuff a turkey.

Yes, our lives have certainly changed in the last ten years. This brings us to ask “What technological advances will better our lives in the next ten years?”  We may have some big breakthroughs. Perhaps we will find the cure for cancer. Or maybe we will find a way transport objects on beams through the air. Or maybe someone will come up with a viable flying car.

There may or may not be any really big breakthroughs in the next ten years, but you can bet on one thing. Technology will continue to transform our lives in ways that none of us can even imagine.