A Day (or Two) in the (Digital) Life

Stretched to the limit in the digital realm

With each passing week, life becomes more and more of a blur. Technology marches on at almost a sprinter’s pace. I seem to be keeping up for now. Ironically, the only time I slow down to smell the roses is to read (or listen to) books with (futurist) topics about breakneck speed of modern life and where we’re headed as a race (race-sic!). While I’m at it, a few recommendations:
  1. The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler - Oil’s on the way out sooner than you think: get a good bike.
  2. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson - Hyperselection (too much choice) leads to fragmentation of common cultural ground and the end of “water cooler talk” (Paris Hilton’s exploits, Iraq, Seinfeld, Friends, American Idol). Opponents of the multiculturalist view argued against non-Anglo views of history on similar grounds.
  3. The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman - Your Dell tech support guy named “Vince” in Bangalore is just the tip of the iceberg.
  4. The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil - An optimistic prognosis of our future by a revered futurist that looks much rosier than the Matrix or the Terminator would have us believe. Onward, homosapiens!
  5. Rebuilt by Michael Chorost - A warm, witty work by a man whom the future may see as one of the earliest cyborgs. Five stars on Amazon!
  6. Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau - The future of the human race, broken down into four possible scenarios vis a vis technology, all thought-provoking.
Hey, look at that! I’ve actually found time to read!Back to the topic at hand. As today is Friday, let’s start today... FRIDAY
  1. Wake up at 7 AM, let the dogs out/feed them, fire up desktop (if not already left on overnight to virus scan, run SETI, or render some complex 3d animation or After Effects composition)
  2. Check email (delete spam & respond selectively), check Engadget website for latest tech and gadgets, check MSN for any major developments overnight (in the Middle East)
  3. Shower if needed (I recommend the tried and true “scratch and sniff the genitals” test. Not to be confused with the “sniff the crotch” test associated with the eligibility of pants or shorts for the washer.)
  4. Eat breakfast, dress, check email again, kiss fiancé goodbye
  5. Listen to BBC World Service on Sirius on AM commute
  6. Upon arrival at work, check (work) email, then personal email, check aforementioned websites
  7. Work (in front of a terminal where I work with AV/graphics apps all day) interspersed with email checks, website scans (including my virtual homes on YouTube, Blogger, Amazon, my eBay auctions/Craig’s List postings, and financial accounts just to name a few), listening to Internet radio or audio books, perusing/shopping iTunes (when my ears aren’t needed for work), and multiple cups of nasty (but free) coffee
  8. Listen to BBC via satellite (or audio book via connected iPod Nano) again on PM commute (LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Yes, I am losing my hearing at an alarming rate. I am COUNTING on Moore’s Law here…)
  9. Arrive home, kiss my fiancé, fire up the Dell box AND the Mac Mini, exercise and/or feed the dogs, check email and aforementioned websites, eat dinner, miscellaneous household chores interspersed by checking email and aforementioned websites, work on miscellaneous personal AV projects (switching between PC and Mac) interspersed by checking other things on the laptop via wireless (i.e. learning to navigate the virtual landscapes of 2nd Life, playing online Sudoku/Mah-Jong, checking work-blocked virtual homes like MySpace, P2P networks, and miscellaneous web-based email accounts, etc) Now keep in mind that there are still plenty of other distractions around: PS2, PSP, DS Lite, video iPod full of “TubeSocked” YouTube clips and converted feature films, a large iTunes library1 via Squeezebox, two unwatched Netflix2 DVDs that have sat on the TV stand since March, several unread books. Surprisingly, throughout the evening, the TV is often off, at least during the summer where there’s no footy or hockey to be had. (To reinforce the “tyranny of choice” concept coined by Chris Anderson in The Long Tail, we have DirecTV. This may be a contributing factor to the TV set’s dereliction. Of course, when we DO watch anything, it’s rarely live…) By the way, I am not neglecting my future wife: she is ALSO on her laptop, still working her job via telecommute. Our (relatively) tech-free time must wait til the weekends.
SATURDAY
  1. Wake up at 8:30 AM, fire up desktop again
  2. Check email (delete spam & respond selectively), check Engadget website for latest tech and gadgets, check MSN for any major developments overnight (in the Middle East)
  3. Eat light snack and go play soccer (listen to iTunes tracks on the way)
  4. Play footy, one of my few technology-free activities (Wait, isn’t there a way to wear my Nike iPod sensor while playing to track my distance? This activity is substituted with a 3-5 mile walk on Sundays with my betrothed, augmented of course by a Nano with Nike sensor-both of us.)
  5. Drive back home, repeat iTunes or BBC or audio book routine
  6. Drink copious amounts of sugared drinks, eat a light snack, take a shower, check email, nap
  7. Skype with Mom for an hour or so (As my mother has severe hearing loss, Skype is our main mode of communicating now. I have a webcam, she does not. I plan to remedy that in time. On a related note, I have a remote PC access account so I can troubleshoot her machine remotely- one of my many monthly “subscriptions”.)
  8. See #9 from Friday above
*Hot on the heels of offing my CD AND DVD collection (the closure of Tower Records, Home of the Hits in Buffalo, and Sam the Record Man in Toronto, sad though they are, were no shocks to me), I recently resolved to stop buying reference books AND to not renew magazine subscriptions to lessen clutter. After all, magazines are mini-billboards that I willingly fall prey to and the same info is available on an LCD near you, with no danger of pages sticking, no chance of a real estate penalty. I cannot tell you how many graphics reference books I have purchased only to never open them.**Is it the beginning of the end for Netflix and Blockbuster? Several companies unveiled their home media servers and living room streaming media devices at CES 2007, with more release rapid-fire since. WE realized we have little time for Netflix/Blockbuster these days. The ironic thought that runs through my head whenever I am consuming content, is that I SHOULD be creating it. So back to my desktop I go, only to be distracted by random thoughts or ideas, which require more surfing, searching, investigating on the Net. Once one jumps into the swift stream of information, it’s hard topull yourself back out. It’s a strong current…