Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Enter the Green (r)Evolution, Phase Two

I think of Douglas Adams' "subsistence" theory of mankind's evolution. The first, caveman phase is "When will we (next) eat?" The second phase is characterized by "What shall we eat?" And the final phase is "Where shall we have lunch?"

We are going through a similar phase in our Green (r)Evolution. We have moved beyond totally ignoring the problem (maybe I should have used the Death progression here? Denial, anger acceptance?) and have moved into action. LCD video, windmills and solar generators, hybrid cars and flourescent/LED lighting.

We may have moved into the next phase; Mrs. FX and I actually had a mild dustup over when to run the dishwasher. We had a little disagreement over whether or not to run the dishwasher. We had used up all of the plate-and-bowl space, but only used about 50% of the top rack. I determined that it was time to run it, but not without doing a walk-thru of The Abode, seeking stranded glassware and snack plates...having done All That I Could, I got out the soap & began to prep. Mrs. FX chided me for running a not-full dishwasher, and, for a moment, I agreed with her. We have evolved to the point of doing our meal-planning around the remaining available space in the dishwasher. None of this "let's eat Vegan tonight!" for us, just "What can we make that utilizes three soupbowls and a cookie tray?"

I decided that I was not going to live vicariously through my appliances, and, by Heaven, I was going to wash, even if I had to do extra chores to get back into Grace. I'm still doing extra chores...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

iPads aren't as new as you think, when you think about it

The iPad revolutionizes the whole notion of techno gadgetry! Yet, when I think about it, this is another case of people catching up with technology. Touch-screen technology has been around for more than a decade, with only a few applications gaining any measureable traction. The fact of the matter is, only a few could mentally bridge the user interface. I posit that a generation of young people growing up with handheld games provided an "experienced" population that could kickstart the trend to the micro-user interface. Next, the advent of the cell phone and texting broadened the base and gave rise to innovation in trying to address those shortcomings.

One shortcoming is everyone who simply has to have a qwerty keyboard. RIM has made a niche market of those who cannot make the texty shift to 10 keys, but the market analysts show that the need for this crutch is falling off fairly rapidly. I say "good." In 20 years, we might finally be rid of the only known technological innovation specifically designed to cripple the user (the qwerty keyboard was designed to slow typists down in the days of mechanical typewriters). On the other hand, I found the onscreen keyboard too alien for blogging or any activity with a lot of input, so I bought the bluetooth keyboard, too.

Insofar as the other required technologies giving rise to the iPad; I have seen it blogged that the current generation of small, low-power devices are a direct result of the efforts put into the Open Source OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project. Lighter, cheaper battery technology, low power consumption (doesn't the OLPC have a wind-up mechanism?) and a return to not-bloated software, if that's a real phrase.

Have you noticed that the iPad is sort of the domain of the young and the old? At the office, the big users are mostly past 50, with a few younger users. If younger women have them, they're not telling, but the young men all have Droids or iPhones. Middlin' young folks from 13 to 30 are doing very well with their touch screen phones, thank you. After a fashion, they have leapfrogged the touchpad revolution and are already in the middle of The Next Big Thing. the iPad is just there so that the rest of us can catch up. I know that I am having fun with mine!