Mar 11 2009


Being on the bleeding-edge of gadgetry is not a job requirement in any job I’m qualified to perform. So I can afford to spend my money on other things and enjoy a comfortable level of schattenfreude when I see people complaining about the price of new electronics.

I also have the priviledge to recoil in surprise at the directions to which technology is drifting. The militant miniaturization of electronics is inevitable considering the ever-shrinking size of semiconductors, but when your iPod shuffle is significantly smaller than your thumb, I start to wonder about the drawbacks of teeny-tiny things and such. I have personally lost two USB flash drives because they were too petite to track. I suspect that they fell between a pair of atoms in my floor. Cellphones were rapidly approaching the size appropriate to this quantum miracle but recent keyboard integration seems to have swung them back around to at least reasonable size, provided your hands are those that would belong to a Malasian child laborer.

And as though that weren’t enough, certain specific geniuses at this year’s TED have created a poorly-named “Sixth Sense” device that accumulates meta-data and works with a webcam and projector to display that data in what could only be called a brilliant presentation. I’m not sure what practical purpose it might serve if and when it became available, but I can’t see any limit to such a device’s use in nearly every facet of my life, professional or otherwise.