Becoming The Perfect Parasite



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.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor, Uncategorized

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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