Becoming The Perfect Parasite

iphone

 

When it comes to consumer electronics, I have to say that I have traditionally been not on the leading edge, but the bleeding edge. Ya know, the classic definition of the pioneer is the one who has the arrows in the back.

I tend to wait….and wait while others are buying the latest gizmo.  Never bought a laserdisk player, for example.

Although I’ll have to say I picked a Sony Betamax as a VCR because I read that the technology was superior to the VHS (it was) but that came down to marketing and  letting others make the hardware.

Sorta like the Windows vs Apple rivalry.

I  used this LG flip phone for a good 10 years. Got a lot of laughs from people, particularly Millennials. But it worked and did what I wanted.

Finally decided to get a Smart Phone. Even then I decided not to get “the latest” but after some studying settled on a used Apple iPhone 5S. Since it is only the last generation I would have to say that I am catching up with the consumer wave.

I preferred the smaller screen – you can still put it in your pocket, even with an  ugly plastic protector shielding it from dropping. And some of the technology – a fingerprint sensor that eliminates having to constantly key in your PIN is to me amazing.

As an old somewhat burned out programmer I have marveled at that technology – the perfect blend of ergonomics made easy by raw computer power – which in the 5S is a 64 bit processor. Meaning, unlike a traditional 32 bit processor of the recent era , it works with 8 bytes at a time instead of 4 bytes.

I could write a whole piece on screw ups programmers have made in consumer electronics that result in products that are cumbersome and counter intuitive to use.

I think Apple did a masterful job with this Smartphone, both in the industrial design – brushed aluminum – no plastic other than the screen – mine in “Space Gray”  – and the user interface.

But I am catching up with current knowledge in a hurry. I burned through a Gigibyte in data just in a week web surfing  and had to put more money in to get more data.

Now like a drunk staggering down the street looking for a cheap drink, I seek out places that offer free WiFi.

I have become a perfect parasite seeking a willing WiFi host.

The dog, after we have walked to the dog park, has to stop with me while I hang outside the library and upload my data to the “iCloud” – and do a bit of web surfing.

One of the Lexicans is a long distance trucker, and he was mentioning a stop he had to make in Wyoming with near gale-force winds at a truck stop.

I mentioned that it would be the perfect time to call it a day, crawl back to the sleeper, connect with the WiFi, and do some web surfing before hitting the rack.

He said that most truck stops charge a hefty fee for WiFi.

Seems to me that would be a huge business opportunity – with truckers easily spending $1,000 – and more – to fill their tanks. Offer them free WiFi if they stop at your place with a minimum purchase.

Anyway I have found this “Smart Phone” —   really a hand held computer – would be called a supercomputer just a mere 30 years ago – that happens to also send digitized packets of 0s and 1s to emulate your voice – what an amazing contraption these are.

Have a friend on a cruise around Australia and he said if I wanted I could just text him any time I wanted. (knowing how hard he works I think leaving him to unwind is a better way to go) – but imagine – a costless means of communication with someone around the world near instantly – via satellite –

Or send pictures and even video (for a data usage unless you can find that WiFi location)

Who could have even imagined this 30 years ago?

Those of us of a certain age in the military remember the MARS system – you’d put yourself in a que – wait 2-4 hours and when your turn came you had 2-5 minutes to speak with a loved one halfway around the world.

What an amazing  difference a few decades make.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Becoming The Perfect Parasite

  1. virgil xenophon

    Yes, and remember the big “improvement” to MARS, the autovon system? Both, iirc, depending in large part on tropospheric back-scatter systems? Like rubbing sticks to make fire compared to today

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