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I’m with stupid? November 6, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society, Technology.
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A few months ago, my boyfriend referred to a URL as an e-mail address. And he wasn’t joking. 

There he was, paper and pen in hand, asking me to write down the “e-mail address” of the Web site for him. 

And there I was, biting my tongue while seriously questioning the future of our relationship.

Though I understand that there are different levels of innovation adoption, how can someone not know the difference between an e-mail address and a Web address? Come on. It’s 2008.

But the incident got me thinking. Am I a latent techno-elitist? Do I assume everyone is well-versed with online technology by now and look down on technological laggards? 

Absolutely not. I’ve just been programmed from an earlier age how to maneuver on the computer. Therefore, when I began using the Internet at age 12, I was more interested in finding out what the Web had to offer. 

In fact, looking back at my elementary years, my school had a hi-tech computer lab where everyone mastered touch-typing skills and basic computer skills. By the 4th grade, most of my peers and I were typing on blank keyboards because we had met all of our accuracy and WPM goals. 

It just goes to show that technology adoption may be easier for people who are exposed to the medium at an earlier age. Many people don’t embrace technology and are unwilling to learn new skills because of their fear of the unknown. 

It could be as simple as building computer labs at elementary schools to let students become familiarized with the computer and Web from an earlier age. 

But of course that’s easier said than done considering the current economy.. And that’s a whole other can of worms to be discussed.

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What I want, when I want October 31, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society, Technology.
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Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a [woman] on a Jet Ski.

The Web has changed the way I want to process information. It’s not that I’m incapable of analysis, comprehension or contemplation. I’ve just acclimated to the easy search button and condensed bullets of information.

And what do you expect? Here we live in a period where tweets, e-mails and instant messages are common forms of communication. As a result, I’ve been used to getting what I want (information), when I want it (instant access).

Researching for endless hours in the library? Reading through piles and piles of essays and analysis to write a research paper? Using print sources?!

Not so much.

The Web has made it so easy for instant access to information. People don’t need to (or want to) read longer writing pieces on the Web to get the information that they’re seeking. And unfortunately, this translates into the offline world of reading for many people. Like Nicholas Carr writes, our minds now expect us to digest information the way the Internet and Web distributes it: “in a swiftly moving stream of particles.”

The key word is brevity.

I don’t have the time or patience to sit through step-by-step analysis and theories. I have 15 million (yes, 15 million) things to do during an average day. Please give me what I need and I’ll move along.

Just get to the point.

Future forecast October 16, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society, Technology.
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Forget Smart House or remote-controlled kitchens. Think bigger, better and—quite frankly—scarier.

Let us begin marinating in the idea of every physical “thing” being connected to the Internet.

Ovens telling fire alarms that it’s overheating. Showers telling toilets not to flush. Microchips embedded under the skins of cows electronically notifying farmers where the cows are grazing. 

No, I didn’t just make that up. There’s actually a name for this future forecast. Experts are calling it the Internet of Things.

Although the idea of having a smart ___what have you___ is appealing, I can’t imagine what the drawbacks to this technological advancement will be. Businesses, educational systems, hospitals—every industry may operate more efficiently. But certainly we will face the issue of dependency.

Cell phones, computers, the Web, iPods and other gadgets are already playing big roles in my daily life. Throwing physical “things” operating on their own unique IP addresses into the mix spells out nothing but dependency and convienence. 

Still, who knows how far into the future experts will connect “things” to the Internet. Experts say sometime between now and 2010, but things could go wrong. It may come decades from now when my interest in technology goes on a gradual decline and I’m Googling to keep my ageing brain youthful.

Regardless, I just hope they send me a memo so I can mentally prepare myself for it. I mean, what happens when the “Internet of things” experiences a technical difficulty?

The world just might end then.

Can’t stop, won’t stop October 10, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society.
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While simultaneously brushing my teeth and shampooing my hair this morning, I attempted to reach for my body wash and loofa when I realized: a) I didn’t have enough hands and b) I couldn’t even see anything because the face mask I had put on a few minutes prior was stinging my eyes and was ready to be washed off.

At this moment, I have two (different) Web browsers active with six tabs opened in one window and four tabs opened in the other window. iTunes, Google Chat and Microsoft Word are all being used; the television is turned on with the morning news; and it’s almost time to greet my coffee maker. Oh, and I’m having a conversation via text messages with a friend in Los Angeles.

What is wrong with me?

I can’t seem to do just one thing at a time. Multitasking has become such a way of everyday life. There’s too much to do so I do a little bit of everything at once. And even when there’s not much to do, I still multitask because it’s really difficult not to

The biggest problem is that I’ve been programmed to believe that multitasking equates efficiency, that everything I’m doing simultaneously is done with my 100 percent attention. 

But according to researchers, I’m wrong. Human beings don’t really multitask. We just switch our attention from one thing to another at a lightning fast speed. Ironically, multitasking can actually slow us down because we constantly have to remind ourselves, “OK. What am I doing right now?”

I personally ask myself that question at least five times a day. With the increased use and advancement of technology these days, I can’t imagine that number going down for me anytime in the near future.