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Books Tech

Crossing a telephone with a TV set

Image of old Western Electric ad for telephone and TV set

What do you get when you cross a telephone with a TV set? That’s what Western Electric was asking in 1968 with this advertisement for its Picturephone.

Western Electric is crossing a telephone with a TV set.

What you’ll use is called, simply enough, a Picturephone set. Someday it will let you see who you are talking to, and let them see you.

The Picturephone set is just one of the communications of the future Western Electric is working on with Bell Telephone Laboratories. Western Electric builds regular phones and equipment for your Bell telephone company. But we also build for the future.

What is now considered FaceTime on the iPhone, the convergence of video and phone technology took another 42 years to come to fruition. The above image appears in the book The Golden Age of Advertising: The 60s.

Categories
Social Media Tech

The great escape

Peeking at life, three inches from the screen. It’s the possibility that it may show us something captivating that keeps our eyeballs alive. #tech #gif

Peeking at life, three inches from the screen. It’s the possibility that it may show us something captivating that keeps our eyeballs alive.

Even with robotic intervention, we’re glued to that rectangular glow. There’s enough variety in the repetition to keep us hooked.

But what happens when we willfully want to get away?

We struggle to bend our attention back into focus. When a thousand websites and apps are talking to us screaming for clicks, we lose understanding of ourselves.

Consumption drains identities so that we can no longer be ourselves. The physical and psychological spaces are limited, that is until we make the first move to get out.

Categories
Culture

Ramming speed

We lean into inanition, surrounding ourselves with computers that accelerate information yet de-energize action in the physical world.

We expect everything to be deliverable with a click.

We consume more than we can handle. The next track, the next photo; we’re scrolling in a constant state of next and forget to appreciate the art.

We store our memories in the cloud and Google all the answers. We outsource our chance to think. What’s a brain for?

We can’t keep up with this dizzying pace. Hence the procrastination, lack of care, and certain shortcomings.

We seek out distraction to avoid facing the hard isses in our life.

We’d rather stare at a screen of perpetual pleasure than realize the moral decay around us.

Categories
Creativity Photography Tech

Reality Augmented

Images by Wells Baum

A mirror shows us who we are. It doesn’t lie, reflecting blemishes and other imperfections. The phone’s screen is also a mirror, but one that’s used to project an edited version of ourselves.

Selfies are customizable. The phone allows people to pinpoint the side of the face and angle that makes them look best. People use blur tools and filters to further enhance their look. The aim is to publish the best version of themselves.

Seeing your face off a reflection though is more complicated. We can’t really control the way our face shines off a bus window or how it ripples in the water. But we accept this the lack of control because of the contextual effect. It makes us look interesting, narcissistic yet natural.

Put a mirror up and people will judge themselves. Give them a smartphone and they’ll preset their look, perfecting it afterward. But a reflection is distorted, creating an organic depth misperception that makes others curious.

Reflections are shadows of ourselves, an augmented reality we happily accept.

Categories
Tech

Keep Ya Head up

adam-birkett-182274.jpg

Humans are meant to look up and be vigilant of their surroundings.  It’s a survival mechanism.  Now we stare into our phones, neck hunched over.

Some people argue that this habit is no different than before.

But carrying around paper and a handheld computer is different. You don’t walk and read a newspaper simultaneously but you can walk and drive with your phone because of its size and because it acts like a compass. Accidents are inevitable.

If you’re going to google and social network, stop instead. Get out of the middle of the street. Dictate instead. Or use Beem.

Try to keep your head up and your phone in your pocket, or preferably your purse or backpack. Notice and observe your surroundings. Technology does more good than harm, but the latter is mostly preventable.

“Yeah, keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.” – The Doors, “Roadhouse Blues”

#Neverlookup

Categories
Social Media Tech

Through the Looking Glass

We’re restless doing nothing. The thought of boredom leaves us scrolling through email and refreshing Facebook to the same updates. We crave new information, even if it’s useless, even if makes our brain fat.

Technology hinders daydreams spontaneity. Instead of letting the mind wander in dull moments we fill it with screen time. Life, which was once the only screen our eyes could see has been replaced by the mobile device. Google’s Cardboard plans to relegate reality even further, allowing our eyes to venture into 3D experiences. Some people won’t want to come back.

Technology trivializes experience. We live through images. We dive into our screens. Nothing is new, nothing is visceral. Memory drains with a click of the button.

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Uncategorized

newyorker: A cartoon by Paul Noth from this week’s issue. Phoneless
newyorker: A cartoon by Paul Noth from this week’s issue. Phoneless

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Uncategorized

Good Tips

People pay for curation today, not the content. The content is cheap and mostly free.

Apple just have away a U2’s new album. You can already stream any track you want on Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Unless you’re reading the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, there’s no paywall preventing you from getting free news. Meanwhile, Amazon is pushing for an all you can eat books model as part of their Prime service.

Free content means that what people are really paying for are the quality of recommendations thy get in return. Peer recommendations don’t suffice.. You only want to consume the good stuff that master curators spend the time to find.

What made Songza different than the rest of the music streaming networks was its handpicked, contextual playlists based on time of day. Echo Nest plans to turn Spotify into a recommendation engine. What makes Amazon so good at recommending books is its smart algorithm.

The wisdom of crowds theory that said that the best result is the summary of what everyone is looking for is dead. People don’t want to be manipulated by mainstream culture. The best services will find out what niche genres a person likes and make long-tail recommendations around those. Make the users feel like they found it first.

Content and curation are BFFs. The two go hand in hand. The act of curation gives content it’s true value. People just want to hear about the good stuff and ignore the rest.

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Uncategorized

The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

— George Bernard Shaw predicted why you’ll never win an argument on social media because of the whip-speed of digital communication.
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Uncategorized

The wisdom of Devin Wenig

Nobody has an electricity department in their company; nobody has an Internet department anymore—although they did a few years ago. I suspect that within 24 months, no one will have a mobile strategy. They’ll just have an omnichannel, connected-screens strategy.

What does “Omnichannel” mean anymore now that the analog and digital worlds have merged? Online/offline are the same thing bridged through screens.