Proper Technology

Don’t feel left out of the flat-panel TV revolution (does that mean they spin?). I only own a modest one and the Tivo upstairs, along with a Sony DVD player gotten on massive sale. Meh. The Honorable GF is the true Tech Ho’ in our house.

We squabble over how I could possibly be cyberpunk enough for her to hang out with, as I’m actually not big on gadgets for gadget’s sake.  I think it comes from my engineering training as well as temperament: I tend to only want something if I need it…and I don’t perceive “latest and greatest” as a need, necessarily. I hate techno clutter in real life. My ideal robotic/cybermind assistant would look, to all intents and purposes, like a Victorian drawing room…or just like a plain old room. You wouldn’t know it was there. No weird hummanoid interfaces, no massive writing ductwork or cabling or racks of equipment. No knobules and thingumawidgets would clutter up my space, ever.

Screens should lever up from the inlaid oak desktop if necessary, and include gestural interfaces. No mouse, no keyboard, unless you need to type  letters or draw something. Transfer the items in question to your smart-paper, which you fold up (one sheet) to carry in your pocket, purse, or bag. PDAs—bah. Phones—bah. Unless you *want* to have something to pick up and hold…then it might be modern or retro.

Thirty years ago, I wanted TVs you could hang on the wall like a picture to get it the heck out of my way. Well, finally they catch up with me! Refrigerators should compose grocery orders, and you should be able to use the fridge-front interface to make the order to be delivered or picked up. Houses should be able to keep up with the bills, not to mention the climate control, even if you use steam radiators with boilers. Plug the damned car into the driveway when you get home. And the driveway should heat briefly to facilitate snow removal, if the retractable carport  (which otherwise looks like a piece of architecture) doesn’t do the trick. Windows should dim for privacy when you clap or give the keyword, forget the damned dusty drapes unless you *really* wanted them (in which case they should be huge, long red velvet ones), but the house should otherwise look like a piece of Craftsman art.

I truly loathe the necessity for the badly-designed clutter of little personal electronics, most of which use text that is too small for anyone over forty to read. The damned wire from my earbuds to my iPod is constantly getting tangled in everything. Hateful wires…I should be able to plug the thing into the shoulderstrap on my bag so I don’t have yet MORE things hanging off me. Can’t stand a clutter of computer add-ons, either. Screens are ugly enough. Why can’t they have gold-leafed carved frames? or just be a glass panel that becomes opaque when you use it, but is see through when you aren’t? Why isn’t my mouse in between the halves of my keyboard, so the halves are separated by about a foot, so my arms and neck doesn’t hurt from scrunching into un-natural postures. And all cubes should have halogen or greenhouse like lamps with mandatory plants under them. OK, maybe not mandatory plants…

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