Saturday, September 18, 2010


Toronto, ON, August 2010

[Please see here for more Thematic letters & numbers]

This isn't my BlackBerry. It belongs to a friend, but it nevertheless reminds me how much time my thumbs, my poor, poor thumbs, spend dancing over a keyboard much like this one.

I really think it's time we came up with new ways to cram our thoughts into the devices that we use to communicate. Current forms of text input are, for most of us, too slow and cumbersome. And in some cases, they're even hurting us (RSI, anyone?)

One of the most often-cited solutions to the keyboard conundrum, voice recognition, doesn't do it for me: Too noisy and zero privacy. I wonder if the Star Trek cupboard of technological goodies has something to hope for. Like brainwave recognition or implantable communication chips. My thumbs cry out for a solution. And soon.

Your turn: What ever did we do with ourselves before we texted and e-mailed everyone from our mobile devices? Have we truly advanced ourselves? Or not?


Ginny Hartzler said...

I love the names you've given this,Thumbellina! We used phone booths, which are on their way to extinction now.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I agree w/Ginny... and to me that way was more personal.. Texting and emailing are convenient yet not as personable.. Getting thank u notes thru email still doesn't go over well w/me.. We're in the century of convenience.. a double edge sword... great technology, but humanness is gone.

Stacy said...

When I was a little girl in the days before answering machines, I once ran to answer the phone during dinner. My Dad told me in no uncertain terms to sit back down again. He said, "The phone is here to serve us. We are not here to serve the phone." I think that's an understanding that we as a culture have lost since then. Just because we can communicate at all times doesn't mean that we have to.

Jennifer said...

As a deaf girl, I am very dependent on texting for communication. I was JUST having this conversation with my husband tonight. I am getting carpal tunnel in my thumbs. I'm considering switching to the Android phones with the "swiping" technology. It will be slower, but easier on my thumbd joints...I have to keep them working for a long time!

Tracie Nall said...

The only way to solve the voice recognition privacy issue would be to carry along a Cone of Silence. The fact that this device never worked for Maxwell Smart or Control is an indicator of the problems that could arise...that, and the fact that it would be large and cumbersome.

Mark said...

I've sent exactly one text message from a phone, and it was my wife's phone, as a favor for her when she couldn't reply to someone right away.

I absolutely can't stand it when I see someone in line at a restaurant or at an event with their child, and all they can pay attention to is their cell phone, with the texting. What happened to truly being there in the moment with your child?

Could I ever have a use for texting? Sure, but I just don't right now.

Maybe I'm not social enough to want to have full-time connectivity to everybody else (kudos to Stacy's comment on that). When I sat waiting to give blood today, I found a magazine to read. I had a few moments to just think about things. Never once did I think I just had to tell somebody something or to find out what someone else was doing at that moment.

I think folks don't take time enough to reflect, and I think consumption, not creativity, is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to all these devices. Soon there will be even fewer people actually producing any content, and the rest will lap it up.

It's all contributing to the dumbing down of the population.

Juniper said...

I still write letters, hand-written that is; I find e-mails cold and unemotional. My husband and I write 2-3 letters a week to each other (he doesn't live here!)

I don't have a blackberry/iPhone/similar, just a standard Nokia mobile (cell) which I use for calls and text messages and the odd photo if I've forgotten my camera.

I, like many of you I suspect, am of the in-between generation; happy with technology but still attached to the old ways of communicating.

Biya said...

thats so true.. as our thumbs dance on keyboard.. feels like we have been doin this for years..

well way before that we used to write letters.. with ink and pages

Mojo said...

Erm. Voice recognition? *ahem* it is a telephone, right? But I get what you mean.

There's always handwriting recognition -- which is surprisingly accurate nowadays. Of course, that's assuming you can write faster than you can type. Which is debatable for me, but for my sons it's no contest. My eldest can text faster than I can type.

"Advancement" is -- in my thinking -- a highly subjective measure. We have more technology than we used to, no question about that. But, to quote Jeff Goldblum's character form Jurassic Park, "we spend so much time thinking about whether or not we can, we don't stop to consider whether or not we should."

But I digress. What I really came to tell you was that I finally came up with a suitable shot for the "Letters & Numbers" theme.

JAM said...

Engineers were way ahead on the "thumbing" thing than the rest of the world.

We have long had thumb callouses from using our HP scientific calculators, way before cell phones and texting.

I still can't text message worth a hoot, but I'm darn deadly entering equations or converting from hexadecimal to binary to decimal on my trusty ol' Hewlett Packard 48SX graphing calculator.

Excuse me while I go retape my horn-rimmed glasses and polish my pocket protector for the coming week of work...

Makeup Lover said...

Little bit of a late post