Category Archives: Technology

Even Apple thinks poetry rocks!

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman,

“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring. Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

What will your verse be?

Read more: Apple’s Latest Ad Is Probably Going to Give You Chills | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2014/01/13/apples-latest-ad-is-probably-going-to-give-you-chills/#ixzz2qP4SgPzE

Tomorrow in Hindsight

 

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In 1997, Intel commissioned One Digital Day: How the Microchip is Changing Our World art of the company’s thirtieth anniversary. The result is a coffee table book filled with pictures pertaining to the microchip, all taken on the same day. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, that doesn’t preclude the assortment of essays and captions featured in this tome. The foreword is written by Andy Grove, Chairman and CEO of Intel at the time of publication. Michael S. Malone introduces various “chapters” of the book, classifying photos under different categories. I use the term “chapter” loosely since, in this case, it identifies sets of photographs and their corresponding captions placed under a particular heading rather than what one would conventionally consider a chapter to be. This is a picture book for the adult who wants to look into the future with the same wide-eyed marvel as a child opening a superhero comic book for the first time. The difference? This is not fiction. This was actually happening over a decade ago.

What exactly were we doing on July 11, 1997 or what Andy Grove describes in his introduction as “last July, on an ordinary day?” To provide some personal background, in 1997, I was a seven-year-old first grader. Unlike most of my classmates, I did not have a personal computer. Instead, I would use my mother’s old electric typewriter to do assignments that required typing out. A computer was not seen as a necessity just yet, at least not by my family.  This is why seeing the experiences of Katie Durbin, a five year old child at the time of the book’s conception, suffering from a condition which made her unable to walk in sunlight without getting severely burned (xeroderma pigmentosum or XP), is eye-opening. She is seen coping via an online network of friends on xps.org. Social media was already alive and well even before the advent of Facebook and Twiitter or their predecessors MySpace and Friendster. However, it wasn’t as prevalent. Still, the solace it provided for children like Katie, making them aware that they were not alone, proved indispensable. The first photo we see if Katie is one where she is shielded from the sun by her mother who swaddles her in cloth. It’s only on the next page that we see the charming child under the blanket, smiling and pointing at a computer monitor. Katie herself declares “The moon is my friend.” Thanks to the microchip, she’s able to make the acquaintance of more than just that singular heavenly body. Now, she’s in the company of children with bodies like hers through the internet. To my seven-year-old self, the thought of making friends with other children who might be on the other side of the planet would have been inconceivable. However, that is what happened. Back in 1997, a child younger than me was social networking while I tapped away at my typewriter.

Most of the book’s appeal is in seeing the advancements in 1997 from the point of view of one living in the new millennium. It’s like speaking to a grandparent and being surprised to discover that yes, they did already have colored television in the sixties. Now, it’s a bit more recent. We see that they already had social networking and voice activated software in 1997. IMAX films, something that only recently came to Philippine shores via the Mall of Asia, was already in use at New York City’s Sony IMAX theater where we see a slew of children wearing 3D glasses and pointing at the screen in awe. There are also pictures of a soldier in simulation programs that turn an entire room’s walls into screens with images projected onto them, immersing the combatant in a battle scenario. In Tokyo, Japan, we see a robot dubbed “WABOT-2” playing the electric organ. Even more astounding, this robot was built all the way back in 1984. We see a striking image of Buddhist monks in a computer shop and the caption claims “In addition to traditional methods, the monks, from the Maha Phrutharam Temple, use computers to learn about Buddha and his teachings.”

The way we perceive reality has changed. Time is fluid. We can be reached at any moment through our computers and our cellular phones via people we may have never even met in real life. If they had 15 billion microchips then, how many might he have now? No doubt we likely have more. Malone states that back in 1997, there were enough microprocessors for everyone on the planet to have two computers. How is it possible that, today, there are still many who have never touched a computer in their life? Even back then, the digital divide was a concern. After all, I can speak for myself and my typewriter with its lovely backspace key known as correction fluid. How do you think technology has developed so far in your lifetime? Do you anticipate or dread what’s to come? Have you ever come across an old book and marvelled at how far we’ve come since it was published?

Trekking on Tumblr

 

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Tumblr is proving to be quite a versatile form of social media. With its focus on sharing images, it affords users a chance to tell stories through pictures. From memes to images that evoke nostalgia from decades gone by, there’s practically nothing you won’t be able to find on Tumblr. Sometimes, images even gain a new dimension as users add captions to it, giving it an entirely new meaning. GIFs featuring moving images evoke an era gone by. It’s like the silent films of early cinema have come back into fashion in this digital age. Based on all these wonders, it’s not surprising that celebrities would be attracted to this platform. It’s a lot less mundane than Twitter.

One celebrity who has recently joined Tumblr is George Takei, an actor most famous for his role of Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series. He’s also well-known for promoting equality as a member of the LGBT community. The man’s a hero both onscreen and off-screen. With the recent buzz around the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek franchise reboot, his Tumblr is a nice little glimpse into a man who helped turn the sci-fi series into a cultural phenomenon. Besides, there’s a certain joy that comes with his quirky sense of humour along with the excitement that he may very well end up re-blogging one of your posts.

The first thing you’ll notice about George Takei’s Tumblr is his love of puns. He makes a point of posting many images with witty lines of his own. For instance, a picture of Barack Obama photo-shopped to look like a classical musician features the line “An instant classic.” He also posts a picture of an action figure Thor accompanied by “Here’s to a Lo-ki Friday, friends.” Two horses kissing in a meme marked “A stable relationship” gets Takei to quip “Just a little horsing around.” It’s his cleverness made short and sweet while accompanied by visuals. Once you click on his Tumblr, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself scrolling through for hours. It’s definitely a great way to pass the time while waiting to see the latest Star Trek.