Innovation is in my blood. At this point in my life, it's impossible to distinguish how much is original and how much is transfused, but the point still remains. So in that spirit, I've been expanding my horizons a bit to see just how modern (meaning 3 years old or younger) technologies and services can help me in various creative endeavors.
It's no secret that I'm also a fan of speculative media (science-fiction for those of you in accounting). It's always been one of the strongest sources of creativity and thought methodologies for me. I've been active in one form of science-fiction or another as both a consumer and producer (which, if you search hard enough, will uncover the different outlets I've dabbled in whether it's original art, convention organizing, or just hanging out with my heroes from the golden age writers to 1960's and 1970's film and television personalities in the United States, and most recently in Japan). So finding myself this weekend at a regional conference that I helped start 25 years ago, and having the time to commit some thoughts to ether, I figured I would actually try to write an article sitting amongst like-minded fen just using my tablet, while enjoying a coffee-based beverage that was clearly priced on syllabic content alone.
Clearly, I am no one's target market.
If the idea that functional portability and ubiquitous access frees the mind for expression, then the haptic geniuses at (insert tech giant here) clearly think that I'm a Baptist with cramps. Just the act of typing on a displayed keyboard is a novel exercise in repetitive stress, to say nothing of touch responses that are delayed by ad-placement. The aggressive spelling correction is a new joy in fool-speak (hence my apparent gastrological challenges on Sundays). The random response of a capacitive touch interface offers new dimensions in non-linear sentence fragmentation. Is this really the epitome of technology and innovation making our lives better?
A recent comment by Buzz Aldrin in MIT Technology Review metaphorically sums up my tablet-writing experience pretty well: "I was promised Mars. Instead, I got Facebook."
Technology has a wondrous purpose in advancing civilization, but if we lose sight of the fact that a sense of wonder is essential for continuous innovation and advancement, then creating technologies for technologies' sake is nothing more an addiction. Compelling products and services address substantial functional needs that previously have not been met.
It's been an interesting experiment writing this article on a tablet, and it probably won't be the only article I write this way. However, the until the bugs are worked out and until some genius figures out how to extract what thoughts I really do want to write about, I'll probably limit my tablet prose to Shakesmad-libpeare.