Sunday, 8 June 2014

Ramblings

A while ago, I wrote about cashpoints with personality.  It gets worse.  There was a recent update to GMail on Andoid which now displays a cheery message with a picture of a smiling sun when your inbox is empty.

I realise that I'm in somewhat of a minority because I operate at Inbox Zero, but  that doesn't mean that those of us with a mail management system which moves things out of the inbox need to be greeted by a Tellytubbies-style smiling face in return.

Is this inevitably what happens as technology becomes more mainstream.  Where there used to be useful messages there are now platitudes and phrases so dumbed-down that pretty much all of the meaning has gone from them?

I don't like the idea of a future where the ideal is a robot who trundles up to your side and says "hello, how may I help you?".  It feels like shooting in the wrong direction for us to strive to make our machines as human as possible.  I don't believe in a dystopian future in which the machines take over and enslave the humans, but I just find it a strange diversion of effort to try to mimic human attributes in technology rather than seeking to advance the technology for its own sake.

I do wonder as though I'm slowing my pace when it comes to keep up with the world, though.   When I was young, I used to think that I'd keep up with the world. I'd always listen to new music, I'd know what was happening in technology and I'd wear the latest clothes.   I looked at those people who were forty and didn't believe I would ever turn into "that".

And yet, here I am, not too many years away from turning forty.  I have no idea who is number one in the charts.  I'm only dimly aware of the person called "Sam Smith" let alone being able to talk to you about his oeuvre.  Shops where I used to buy my clothes now pass me by.  I look in the window and thinking "they just don't suit me like they used to..."  Of course, I tell myself that's because Ted Baker have changed direction, but the reality is that time has dragged me away from being able to wear a flowery shirt without looking a bit like a school teacher trying to look "funky" when on a school outing with the sixthformers.

And I think the same is true with technology.  My PC is years old.  My phone isn't a particularly new model and the last time I wrote any really serious code it was written in C++.  My age is starting to show.

I don't think there's anything else for it.  I guess I have to just admit to myself that I've hit middle age.