Things have changed a great deal over the past few years. And while I still want my jetpack, unless there’s some major(exciting!) new discovery in the world of physics (or Science!, with a capital S, and the exclamation mark. that’s not optional), I suspect I won’t be getting one.
But things aren’t all bad. In fact, they’re very very good. I mean, the phone in my pocket has more processing power than my first PC. Much much more. Let alone the computing power that had a man standing on the moon. I’ll admit, I’m a little disappointed about the lack of people zooming round the solar system (barring the 7 billion going round and round and round) but it says something, that I, as a private citizen, have so much computing power available to me. And I can even use it to call people! Weird, I know. Mobile phones have made such massive societal changes in the first world (probably the other classifications too. But I don’t have a good viewpoint to observe from). And with the addition of cameras to them, well, there’s a reason that everything gets recorded. Throw in twitter and blogs (even vanity ones, like this one) the world becomes a very small place indeed. Privacy has suffered, but that’s unavoidable. People have always gossiped. You’re not going to stop that. The modern world is the small town, writ large. If you choose to live in the public eye, then you can’t really complain when the public just keeps on watching you. Try to hide something, and you’ll just have the Streisand effect blowing up in your face. Huh. Firefox knows how to spell Streisand properly, even when I typo it. Anyway, yes, sometimes it goes too far, but then again, sometimes you get obscenities like the super injunctions that have been talked about in the British press lately. If you do something, like have an affair, and someone reports on it, tough luck. You went against societal norms, society will talk about it. If it’s not true, well, that’s what slander or libel laws are for. And just a tip. Getting an injunction makes you look guilty.
Bah, little bit of a ramble off topic there. The real causes of this piece are a couple of things I’ve got in the last six months. First, my Kindle. It’s great. Just the WiFi model, but there’s normally some WiFi nearby, or I can tether it to my phone. It’s not like I’m web browsing on it. The thing that really brought it to mind, was when I was reading the blog of an author I like, Seanan McGuire, I came across a link for Zombiesque. Granted, it was for the US site, but that’s not hard to change to the UK site. Now, I could have bought the paperback copy, but it showed the link for the Kindle copy too. 5 minutes later I had my copy. If I’d had to wait for delivery, I’d probably have passed. But the Kindle is bad for people with poor impulse control (me! :D) I can just click and click and click, picking up reading material for the next few days, with ease. When I’m reading a new series, well, new to me, I have this bad habit of buying the first, then just buying all the others. The kindle makes that easy. And as I can get them quickly, it reduces the wait time to the point I finish them one after another, rather than buy one, like it, buy the next, wait for it to arrive, lather, rinse, repeat. Amazon Prime was bad enough for my reading habit, the Kindle’s worse. Though it does stop my bookcases from getting overly full. I only have space for maybe another 30 books, before double stacking, or sticking in boxes. I can’t fit any more bookcases into my spare bedroom/library. On a side note, Library Thing is great. Recommendations, series lists, all that good stuff. I’m a lifetime member. Dedicated eReaders might be a niche market, but they’re cheaper than a tablet, with a better screen for reading. In time, those might change. Right now, they’re a selling point. And I have a tablet. I just use the Kindle for reading. The tablet’s used for email. not reading. As a side note, the Advent Vega’s great. Not perfect, but far cheaper than equivalent competition.
The other thing, which I got more recently, is the Microsoft Kinect. I mean, wow. It’s not perfect, but it does a damn good job of mapping where limbs are, and the stuff that’s been done with it, well, it’s just amazing. Forget the Wii and the Playstation Move. They may be good implementations, but they’re still not tracking you. Is it good as a game controller? I’m less sure about that. But as a guide to what’s not possible, it’s amazing. Yes, I used the word twice. Because I am Amazed. Body mapping, without the person needing to do anything special, opens up so many possibilities. The voice recognition’s pretty good too. Maybe not for general computer use, but if I could control my tv that way? It’d be good. TV: Channel eighteen. TV: mute. without using the remote. Maybe hand gestures for browsing up and down through the channels. And Dance Central is quite fun too 😉
So. We live in the future. You just need to step back to appreciate it.