Category: Techno Thursdays (page 1 of 2)

1981: Reading the newspaper on a home computer

In 1981, I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I remember that was the year I had to take Biology and we dissected things. I was thoroughly grossed out by one, I think it was a cow heart or something, that I had to leave the lab. Even the worm made me sick to my stomach. Most people at 15 don’t have any idea what they want to do, but I knew for sure I did not want to be a doctor. However, I did have to make some decisions about my education that year. New York State has this really screwed up system called Regents. In order for me to get a Regents diploma, I either had to do a “sequence” in something. Or take all these other classes. The other classes included science, like chemistry or physics. Um, no. Math like higher math past advanced algebra like calc and stats. No thanks. Art? No way. I can’t draw a stick figure. My brother can draw. Should have seen this thing he drew on his cast when he broke his leg. Music? I can’t sing. Really. That’s an ugly noise. And I took violin for five minutes. When the instructor said I had to practice over the summer, I was like, dude, I go to summer camp all summer and it wasn’t band camp.

So, I opted for a sequence in Business/Marketing and joined the DECA club (Distributive Education Clubs of America) not to be confused with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), which was what Tom Cruise was doing in Risky Business. Way back then, I remember the distinction between the two was  the kids in DECA were cooler!

1981 Pittsford Sutherland DECA Club members. Can you guess which one is me? LOL

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But this did set the ground work for me and my love affair with technology and Marketing. Now, when I say marketing, I’m talking more market research kind of stuff. Had to do a focus group project that was a lot of fun. But my biggest fascination was computers. Not the hardware side, the software side. I remember every time a new version of something came out I wanted to be the first one to have it. I’ve been working with this new program to build websites and they have a beta version of the next edition and I’m already using that one. Its freaking awesome.

But I digress.

I learned a lot about the possibilities of future technology and what it could mean to the world. We actually discussed in one of my classes the possibility of reading on the computer in 1981. It was sparked by a news report about the internet. I saw this the other day and the memory came flying back. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Only problem, no cartoons or pictures back then. It also took like 2 hours to get the entire newspaper. Imagine those dial up costs back then!

I guess the internet is my generations airplane? Wonder what it will be for the next generation.

 

The Hanging Chad has returned!

Well, not literally.

I remember lying in bed with my husband as we waited to find out if Bush or Gore was going to be the next president of the United States. Just before the polls ACTUALLY closed in Florida (something the news got wrong, thinking they closed at 7pm EST when they actually closed at 8Pm EST due to part of the state is in a different time zone, the part that generally votes republican), the state was declared a Gore state. One survey estimated that this confusion could have stopped voters from voting, potentially reducing Bush’s margin of victory. This blunder ended with the state being “too close to call”. When Bush won on election night, because it was such a small margin, Florida state law requires a recount, thus the hanging chad incident. It was the “butterfly ballot” that produced “unexpected results” Essentially, outdated technology failed. Bob of course, is thinking, but what if it didn’t? Or did it really fail? I’m sure this will end up in a Time Patrol Novel somewhere.

The only reason I bring this up is there is a new ‘chad’ in town. Part of it is social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. They really are changing the way we do EVERYTHING and influencing opinions.

The news reports “Trump tweeted today…” “Hillary responded via twitter…” Perhaps we should vote via twitter?

Social Media is real time, so the candidates do something, anything, we see it immediately because someone is going to post it. I also find that generally people post what they don’t like, instead of what they do like. People outraged over Trump’s latest curse word, or outraged over Hillary’s emails.

One thing in the news right now, partly because of the email situation, is the protection of our election system from hackers. Because the system is dated, it wouldn’t take much to change the outcome of an election.

One solution could be to update the technology. Well, Virginia did that and it was deemed the worst voting machine in the US. The technology was essentially a laptop with a touchscreen running on windows. This technology was used in other states, also decertified, but last year, it was decertified in Virginia after the system kept crashing. There were a lot of reasons that went into the crashes, but one of the biggest was that the system was fragile. You can read more about this here.

Another solution could be, especially to protect against foreign hackers, would be to go to a paper-based election. The logistics of that could potentially be a nightmare, and lets face it, election rigging is not uncommon.

I’m really a fan of technology, but I understand that while the creation of technology might solve one problem, it could potentially create others.

 

Techno Thursday: Is social media really social?

I have always been an early adapter of technology, but not always an early adapter of social media and I’m not talking blogging or websites or various forms of communication and advertising. I think the internet is a vast and wonderful place to find out all sorts of valuable information. Without the internet, my job would not exist. I also love that things like Google Hangouts and Facetime now allow my husband to travel a lot less, since he’s having virtual meetings. eMail writing makes it easier AND faster to communicate with friends. I’ve even become fond of some of the services that will send out invitations and birthday cards.

Much of social media is used to promote a product, business, or brand. It is also used to keep up with family and friends. I love that while my daughter is in the Peace Corps living in Madagascar, she can still, when in a town with internet, post pictures and communicate with all of us back home. I believe she has a stronger relationships with family  members because of these types of social sites. And really, thank God for Facetime! Both audio and video. Its nice to be able to actually talk with her each week. Twenty years ago, we would have been waiting MONTHS for just one letter.

Social media is good for so many things, but I don’t find it to be social. I want social interaction, I’ll go see a friend. Pick up the phone. Talk to my pet rock. In an effort to engage and network, we develop on-line relationships, and yes, some, actually, many, can and will develop into real, face to face social interactions. But lets face it, no one has 5k friends on Facebook that are real, honest friends. Yeah, sure, with Authors, there is the fan thing. Another good reason fro social media. A connection to a favorite author. TV star. Dog (as in Cool Gus).

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We’ve become all consumed by social media. Watching the news the other night, listening to the Anchor say, “he tweeted an apology” just made me cringe. Sure, Social Media is often live, happening right then. I personally prefer to get alerts on my phone about news and other important topics than sit in front of my computer looking at trending topics. But so many of us have Social Media dialed as high as it can go, barely taking a break from it. Its always on. Always calling you, telling you that you’re engaging with people, making new friends, networking.

Perhaps, a little. Perhaps enough to say we need to be on social media.

But not so much we need to join a support group for people addicted to Social Media.

There are many studies now that show the negative affects of social media on our mental health and on our productivity. We need to learn to turn it off sometimes.

Another area of concern for me with Social Media is that often times people say things they wouldn’t normally say. Social Media has become a place to rant about this or that, and don’t you dare disagree with me, only lovers welcome. Haters beware. Social Media has made the divide in topics even greater and the anger even stronger. And none of that is being social.

And I do think there is some truth to Einstein’s quote.

Einstin Technology

So, in a nutshell. Technology and social media are a good thing, but they come at a cost. A personal cost we can control.

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