Thursday, 16 May 2013

Smart Tech


by James Kyle

I came across this article on wearable tech and it made me think about how technology is rapidly changing the way we lead our lives. Some think not all for the better as per the youtube clip below. (With my thanks to Liz Krane on Google+ for sharing this)




However I know personally that there are many ways that I have found to make good use of the new technology. I still remember being amazed - just over a dozen years ago - to see someone walking round a corner of a Dublin street apparently talking to themselves. They were of course using a combination of blue tooth and the newly emerging power of the mobile phone to talk to someone as they were walking about town. Nowadays you find it hard to recall just how did you manage to meet up with someone without the last minute texts and calls to adjust the timing or to confirm that yes, you are there, but at the other tube exit.

I was recently astounded to find that the technology has matured to the extent that I can SAY to my phone "translate to Spanish, I want a glass of wine please" and the phone will dutifully translate this phrase and say out loud the Spanish equivalent. Google translate and the like are transforming our ability to reach out and communicate with others around the world. Google+ too is bringing us more into a shared world with people with different cultures and interests around the world. And when it comes to texting, with software like swiftkey flow, it is now possible to write whole phrases without lifting a finger. Wonderful! - even I can now text without re-educating my thumbs to a whole new way of interacting with my world.

As I go to bed, using a combination of Sleep Now! Utter! and Tasker, I tell my phone how long to wait before the calming sound of waves lapping a beach kicks in to soothe me to sleep just after Sleep Now! plays a clip of a downloaded BBCi mp3, picking up from where it left off the night before.

And I can go to sleep with a clear mind as I know that my shopping list is up to date on Out of Milk so the items I need to recall tomorrow are already accounted for. To do what you need to do, know what you need to do. In this context, many of you many have heard of David Allen's GTD. I actually met David in LA just before I went to the University of Santa Monica. He is an inspiring speaker and central to his message of leading a more effective life is focusing on the right things at the right time and the importance of organisational tools to assist you with this. And if you do get stressed, you could always take time to have a look at the Stress Management Techniques in the Mind Tools app!

And for those that like lists: The 64 Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2013 (With my thanks to Steve Davis on Google+ for sharing this one).

And finally of course don't forget the fun that apps can bring into your life. And what about exploring beyond the universe of astral enraged feathered creatures. For example, what do you get when you combine a fun app with exercise and our zany pre-occuaption with undead coming back to devour us - Zombies, Run! of course. Now that is transformational technology - going to the gym suddenly becomes fun!

So, what about you? How has technology changed your life?