Answer Your Watch

Watch

So I did it and took the plunge into a smartwatch. 

For over a year, I thought the technology just wasn’t there yet. 

Too clumsy, too difficult to use with such a small device. 

First, I considered just a Fitbit for tracking activity, but I quickly ruled it out, since you can get so much more with a full smartwatch.

Then, I looked into the Pebble, in particular the latest model the Time Steel, which runs between $200-$250. 

But I watched a review that pointed out the the Pebble does not have a touch screen, and everything are the buttons–okay, I immediately ruled that out. 

Next, I looked to old trusty, Apple…they have never failed me yet, and I tried on their various smartwatches. 

I settled on a simple sports model, since I figured as the technology continues to evolve or as the watch gets beat up in daily use, I could simply upgrade to the next great thing. 

Also, I figured if I really don’t like how it works, it wouldn’t be such a great loss monetarily. 

Well, the verdict is in–I really like it!

Easy to set up by simply syncing with the iPhone. 

And then all your major apps just show up on the colorful apps panel. 

In no time, I was checking the 10-day weather forecast, reading news headlines, tracking my activity, using the GPS locator, looking up calendar events, checking email and replying with easy voice dictation, sending text messages, and even calling family and talking to them into the watch!

I even started the music on my iPhone from another room by using the smartwatch. 

Oh yeah, I almost forget, it tells the time too!

Except for taking photos, which would be really cool with the watch, but it doesn’t do–it did most of the basics that I wanted it to. 

For not a lot of money, I felt that I was getting a lot of convenient functionality, and I am now encouraging my wife and kids to get it too. 

Apple, you still got it–so even though Google surpassed you in market value this week, I am still hopeful that you got some decent mojo left in you. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Snapchat, Eat Your Heart Out

Disappearing Ink
As so many of you app users know, Snapchat allows you to send texts, drawings, photos, and videos, but with privacy, knowing they will disappear in a few seconds.



Disappearing messages is certainly not a new idea–in spycraft or for kids. 



Remember the disappearing ink (or maybe you’ve forgotten because it disappeared)?



Well, this is a photo of disappearing-disappearing ink!



Someone apparently stole the disappearing ink right out of the packaging in the store–it has truly disappeared. 😉



(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Mothers Against Shaving Driving

Mothers Against Shaving Driving

So you think drinking and driving is bad…it is!

But look what this person is doing while driving.

No, not texting.

No, not putting on makeup.

This guy is actually shaving while driving an automobile, and he’s at an intersection.

What is he thinking?

Are people really that busy that they can’t find a few minutes to shave in the morning in the bathroom?

Of course when this guy has an accident, G-d forbid, he’ll make up some shameful lying story to get himself off the hook.

Oh, it was the other person’s fault or the accelerator stuck–it’s defective.

Where are people’s sensibilities?

Here’s a band-aid for the nick you got while shaving this morning.

Next time use a bigger mirror and keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. 😉

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Stark Raving Internet Crazy

Internet_crazy

An article in the Daily Beast/Newsweek called “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?”postulates that we are addicted to the Internet by virtually every definition of the word.

Physically:
– “Americans have merged with their machines”–literally starring at computer screen “at least eight hours a day, more time than we spend on any other activity, including sleeping.”
– Most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unableto be without their media links to the world.”

Psychologically:
– “Every ping could be a social, sexual, or professional opportunity” so we get a (dopamine) reward for getting and staying online.
– Heavy internet use and social media is correlated with “stress, depression, and suicidal thinking” with some scientists arguing it is like “electronic cocaine” driving mania-depressive cycles.

Chemically:
– “The brains of Internet addicts…look like the brains of drug and alcohol addicts.”
– Videogame/Internet addiction is linked to “structural abnormalities” in gray matter, namely shrinkage of 10 to 20% in the areas of the brain responsible for processing od speech, memory, motor control, emotion, sensory, and other information,.”
– The brain “shrinkage never stopped: the more time online, the more the brain showed signs of ‘atrophy.'”

Socially:
– “Most respondents…check text messages, email or their social network ‘all the time’ or ‘every 15 minutes.’
– “Texting has become like blinking” with the average person texting (sending or receiving) 400 times a month and the average teen 3,700 times!
– “80% of vacationers bring along laptops or smartphones so they can check in with work while away.”
– “One in 10 users feels “fully addicted’ to his or her phone,” with 94% admitting some level of compulsion!

At the extreme:
– “One young couple neglected its infant to death while nourishing a virtual baby online.”
– “A young man bludgeoned his mother for suggesting he log off.”
– “At least 10…have died of blood clots from sitting too long” online.

These are a lot of statistics, and many of these are not only concerning, but outright shocking–symptoms of bipolar disorder, brain shrinkage, and murderous behavior to name a few.

Yet, thinking about my own experiences and observations, this does not ring true for the vast majority of normal Internet users who benefit from technology intellectually, functionally, socially, and perhaps even spiritually.

Yes, we do spend a lot of time online, but that is because we get a lot out of it–human beings, while prone to missteps and going to extremes, are generally reasoned decision-makers.

We aren’t drawn to the Internet like drug-abusers to cocaine, but rather we reach for the Internet when it serves a genuine purpose–when we want to get the news, do research, contact a friend or colleague, collaborate on a project, make a purchase, manage our finances, watch a movie, listen to music or play a game and more.

These are not the benefits of a drug addict, but the choices of rational people using the latest technology to do more with their lives.

Are there people who lose control or go off the deep-end, of course. But like with everything, you can have even too much of a good thing–and then the consequences can be severe and even deadly.

Certainly people may squirrel away more often then they should for some un-G-dly number of hours at a computer rather than in the playground of life–but for the most part, people have taken the technology–now highly mobile–into the real world, with laptops, tablets, and smartphones being ubiquitous with our daily rounds at the office, on the commute, walking down the street, and even at the dinner table.

Is this a bad thing or are we just afraid of the (e)merging of technology so deeply into every facet of lives?

It is scary in a way to become so tied to our technology that it is everywhere all the time–and that is one major reason why cyber attacks are such a major concern now–we are hopelessly dependent on technology to do just about everything, because it helps us to do them.

From my perch of life, the Internet does not break people or attract broken souls except on the fringes; more typically it puts people togetherto achieve a higher individual and social aggregate capability then ever before.

If the pressure to achieve 24/7 would just come down a few notches, maybe we could even enjoy all this capability some more.

Now I just need to get off this darn computer, before I go nuts too!  😉

(Source Photo: here adapted from and with attribution to Cassie Nova)

>Evolving Capabilities To Meet The Times

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http://abcnews.go.com/assets/player/walt2.6/flash/SFP_Walt_2_65.swf

Great question raised by ABC News on why can’t we contact 911 using texting (except for Black Hawk County, Iowa–population 130,000!).

I would extend on the question and suggest that we be able to contact 911 by any number of ubiquitous technologies whether texting, instant messaging, email, or even potentially social media sites (e.g. 911 on Facebook).

Frankly, if someone is in trouble, they shouldn’t have to get to a phone anymore, but rather they should simply be able to contact emergency services from wherever and whatever they are doing as long as they are connected–whether by desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, help should be just a message away.

Moreover, by capturing photos, videos, and voice, we can send a more multi-media, data-rich stream of information to 911, enabling them to better assess and respond to the situation.

We owe it to both those in need of help and those emergency service providers to link them through more types of communications services and more information-rich media.

I believe that the excuse that people will make more mistakes texting doesn’t ring true in an information economy where Americans send 5 1/2 billion text messages a day.

In fact, a mistaken text is better than no text!

The key is to evolve our capabilities and not stay static in 50 year old technology, just because.