An automatic thing

Recently I went to a fruit stall to get some natural sugar after handing in an assignment. As I was getting my change something happened automatically: I put the change into my wallet without looking at it. Is this an automatic thing?

Action without thinking

Perhaps I was too preoccupied with the crowds in a very big city, or became engrossed at the amount of fresh fruit for really low prices. Either way I did something automatically.

Automatic reactions are a good thing because our brain has this amazing capability to keeping on top of things, even if we are not concious of it.

Have you ever remembered that a light is on, or you left your [X] on?
At the time we don’t notice, but our brain has the amazing capacity to keep us right. A few minutes/hours pass and we get this sudden reminder.
So much so, nothing too serious happens whenever we are distracted. Leaving the light on, for example, is not a big deal.

But what about the change?

I don’t have money to throw away, but after this automatic reaction I could have lost a few coins. How would I have known I was overcharged if I put the change straight into my pocket?

Maybe an automatic reaction happens whenever we feel really safe. Maybe this automatic reaction allows us to show trust towards another human. Did I simply trust the fruit stall guy and felt so safe that he wouldn’t screw me over? Maybe

PS, he gave me the correct change. This time it really was a good automatic thing.

What are your automatic things?

What have/did/do you do? Is there this one [thing] that you keep forgetting and suddenly remember?


Technology: a reflection on this machine

A few weeks ago I returned to work within my universities’ largest library, were I work in IT Support. Over the summer they have done a lot of renovations, so much so, the same building looks completely new! But behind the exterior there are a lot of cables and a mass number of coloured screens: technology is used everywhere in the new library.

A human take on technology

I am passionate about technology. I don’t think I spend much time without it, this could be reading the news on my mobile ‘phone, or, catching up on an interesting video clip on-line. But technology doesn’t always get everything (remember the why technology gets it wrong post?), does it?

Technology does not get feelings

I was talking to a Librarian about the new gadgets within the library, as well as the use of technology in other sectors. It was interesting how we both agreed on a few points:

Technology is removing that human touch.
Self-service scanners / checkouts are putting human beings, us! out of jobs.
Electronic stores (such as the example of a bike store below) don’t allow us to have feelings with something.
Photo of an electronic bike store (

Photo of an electronic bike store (

Do you ever pick a fresh fruit over another fruit, even if it’s the same fruit, in the same container/basket?
We like to make connections with what we do. Now I am not saying we all have relationships with fruit (or another piece of food), for example, but I am trying to illustrate that as humans, this connection is important. This human touch allows us to think that we have just purchased a really good apple, for example.
We cannot form a relationship with a store
Electronic equipment is cutting the number of human beings within stores. But what about that little conversation we used to have with the cashier? We cannot form relationships with technology: technology is removing human beings from the ‘real’ world.
Technology does not cloud emotions
If a store’s closing up, the chances are that you will still get the item you are looking for are high. A shop owner is likely to let you quickly grab and buy an item, even if s/he is closing-up. With computers, they are either yes or no. As soon as it’s 18:00:00, for example, all transactions stop. Emotions are not taken into account.

Caring technology

Technology does not care, as such. It may be used within caring environments, such as a hospital, for example. But technology does not do feelings, nor is it likely to do so in the future. At least in the world in which we operate today!

Some blurs of emotions and technology do exist today, but they are not really used in everyday, real life. For example, smile detection on cameras enables the camera to take a photograph whenever a person smiles, but the same camera does not know how to associate this with feelings: camera’s do not know that smiling means happiness. It just knows to take a picture whenever we smile.

Do you care about technology, even if it doesn’t care about you?

What date will the new iPhone be released?

A few weeks ago, I said, in a post, that the new (sixth generation) iPhone will be released before Christmas 2012. My whispers are getting a little louder, and they say that the launch will be on Wed 12th September 2012.

What are the sources saying?

thinner, larger screen and a smaller dock connector.

Details of what the new Apple iPhone look like, or what additional features it has, are limited – even on the open web. But pictures are filtering through, and it looks like Apple are trying to retain their market share, because Android seem to be getting more and more of Apple’s market share!

Technology viewpoint

You might have heard of web 2.0 — have you? If so, you will know that web 2.0 means that users have a say and produce content for the web. For example, having your own blog is a web 2.0 element, whereas just reading a website was a web 1.0 element.

So if users create content, interact with others and take part in other user-centred content, what is next for the web? Web 3.0 — the ability to pay for services with our own technology. I think that the new iPhone will allow the internet to be used as a true communication method. Our mobile (cellular) phone will be linked to our very own bank account to pay for goods / services. This is the future of the internet. An internet which allows us to connect, more than we ever have, to complete transaction(s) on the web.

My dearest technology

technology in a letter format

A little different format to get across the power, use, benefits, limitations and possibly the future of technology. Enjoy!

Dear technology,

You are always in my life, from a text message on my mobile to showing the news on a television, you are there. But I have noticed that you put up some benefits and limitations in everyone’s lives, let me explain.

Technology and disability

A smartphone could allow a blind user to send a text message by making use of your voice control, for example. For a deaf user you allow text to be sent to everyone, know matter what a person’s hearing status is.

Technology you frighten me

Technology, I sometimes get a little caught up on your advancements. If you allow users who are techie (technological gifted) to pretty much do anything they want, such as the hacking of CEO Mark Z’s Facebook account last year, what are my rights online?

You have created one of the world’s biggest groups (anonymous) to stand together in the digital world to fight for everyone’s rights, wants and openness. But you have made me, a human, to think like a computer. I cannot use “password” as a password, I have to use capital letters, digits and symbols now that you are in my life. And even at that, I don’t feel totally safe.

Today I read another news article about you and sound. It was outlining that you might implement the exchange of photos and other things from one mobile to another just by using a chirping sound. This chirp only works if their is a certain app on my mobile, but it could be really useful to get my concert tickets really quickly when I am waiting at the gates to see one of my favourite bands.

Technology I often wonder what the future holds. Will you make humans electronic? If countries are starting to make their citizens have a chip in their passports will they suggest that we all use scanners, or have a chip in our finger to prove who we really are and what we have been up to? I sometimes don’t know what to think about you, technology. My mind can race quickly to figure out what you are going to do next.

You excite me

While I often find the future daunting, you excite me. For example, that Animal Systems firm developed chirps into digital sounds which can be read and written to other electronic devices. Who would have thought that would have happened today? Well not me ten years ago!

Thanks for removing barriers to those who have physical and mental problems, getting the most technological gifted people to join in a unit call anonymous and for making my mind run really quickly as I think about what the next big thing might be.

Yours sincerely,

A proud technology user