I’m late with a post this week, owing to several factors, all relating to technology. I hadn’t quite pulled together a complete lesson, but by writing down these tech thoughts, I got there. (A further argument for the benefits of reflection.)
It started with upgrading our phones. We needed to (I tend to hand mine down, but really we both needed an upgrade this time). Of course there are hiccups, particularly since m’lady’s was so old that it couldn’t do the amazing thing mine had done. What happened with mine was that you just put the old phone and the new phone together and the new one just sucks the data off the old one and then the old one asks if you want to wipe it clean! That’s some serious user experience. Something we should look more to in our LXD, so that we’re doing proper backwards design and we have the right combination of tools and learning to make performance relatively effortless.
Then another thing was quite interesting. An individual linked to me on the basis of a citation in a book. I didn’t know the book, so he sent me a picture of the page. He also asked if I could read Dutch. Sadly, no. However, I had recently upgraded my OS, and when I opened the picture, I noticed I could click on the text. Of. The. Picture! I could select all the text (my OS was doing OCR on the picture live!), and then I could paste into Google Translate (another amazing feat) and it recognized it as Dutch and translated it into English. Whoa!
On the flip side, owing to the unusually heavy rain (for California), first our internet went out, and then the power. Fortunately both were working by the next morning. However, after that my backup drives kept dismounting and I couldn’t execute a backup reliably. I thought it might be the laptop, and I did a couple of increasingly difficult remedial measures. Nope. Had the drives been damaged by the power outage? Power outages aren’t quite new around here (we’re a bit up a hillside, and squirrels regularly blow the transformer), yet it hadn’t happened before.
Then I was on a Zoom call, and I started having hiccups in the microphone and camera. Even typing. What? When I switched to the laptop camera, it was all good. All the things, drives, microphone, external monitor, are connected by a external hub. The hub had gone wonky! Instead of having to replace drives, I picked up a new hub last nite, and all’s good now. Phew!
I guess my take home tech thoughts is that we’re making true a promise I’ve mentioned when talking mobile: we really do have magic. (Asimov famously said any truly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.) We can do magical things like talk at distance, have demons do tasks on our behalf (picture text transcribing and translation), etc. On the other hand, when it doesn’t work, it can be hard to identify the problem! Overall, it’s a win. Well, when it’s designed right! Which involves testing and tuning. As Dion Hinchcliffe put it: “Seamless # is now table stakes.” So let’s get designing, testing, and tuning, and make magical experiences.