A Simple Life

JetsonsOur world is too complex. Just in my lifetime we have gone from communicating primarily with letters and telegrams and sharing a party line for voice, to individual cell phones with texting capability. The older forms are still available, for now, but when was the last time you sent a telegram? Even the FAX has come and is mostly gone with PDFs now being used via email or other messenger methods. Many years ago I joined a startup company called PhotoAccess. They were a complex company that wanted to be both an engineering company, which I was a part of, as well as an internet site dedicated to photos. Though www.photoaccess.com still exists, it now redirects you to Shutterfly.

The engineering side was developing a chip that would be most of a digital camera and in the end we had an agreement with a large manufacturer to actually build the whole camera based on our chip. But that division was sold to Agilent and my career shortly thereafter went off to other pursuits. While working there we dreamed of having our digital camera upload its photos via some wireless method to our internet site. It is possible that is happening now with some other camera and internet site, but I am unaware of who or what or even how, though I could speculate.

My point is that answering machines came along and disappeared being replaced by services now provided by your phone company. Ours is still AT&T. Now I am frequently bothered by robots trying to spew some message or gather some money or at the least influence someone’s vote.

The audio cassette tape is nearly officially an antique, though my wife still loves and uses hers, but for most of us they have gone the way of vinyl records and 8 track tapes. Even laserdisc is dead, along with VHS and BETA, all replaced by their digital counterparts and 4 GB memories, that can store either audio, video or both (and obviously anything consisting of 1’s and 0’s!).

It is so crazy that even the digital counterparts are being replaced as well. CDs are barely holding their own, but DVD has gone BLU RAY replacing a competitor in HD as all major players agreed to simplify the playing field.

The next new thing is the one thing that seems to be replacing all the other things. You no longer need to carry a cell phone and a laptop and a camera and a GPS for all that is now contained within your iPhone! Naturally the competitors have responded with Android devices. OMG the complexity of our world, ROFL!

During this birthday celebration I have had people tell me happy birthday to my face. I have had them call me on the phone and tell me. I have had them call on the phone and leave a message about my having a happy birthday. I have had them email me a happy birthday wish. My email told me that my facebook had happy birthday messages for me and sure enough when I got on facebook there they were! Most of the calls were placed with cell phones to my landline. Though my phone line is using the internet and thus will not work if the power goes out, unlike the older technology which used a dedicated line to each home and provided its own power. Some of the emails were texted there through their cellphone. It is all so complicated!

Absurdly many believe complexity will lead to a simple life!