Everyware: Always Crashing in the Same Car

by Adam Greenfield

8 Reader Comments

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  1. _Low_ is a fine training for the ears, fading only in comparison to the mind training afforded by meditation. Thanks for publishing this ALA. Greenfield’s talk at SXSW was a high point of the conference for me. His sense of the space of computing is vast, active, living, intelligent and systematic. It’s nice to see an interest in architecture brought to information design. Plus his taste in both music and nomadologists is refined…
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  2. The technology tidal wave that occured at the end of the 1990s swept me into it along with many of my peers. Pretty soon I found myself overloaded with technology and smothered by information. I believe I’ve reached a breaking point. I was in my home looking at my iPod, PSP, Desktop, Laptop, PS2, TVs, Cell Phone, and other gadgets to distract my brain. I felt overwhelmed by distraction. I was bored yet uninterested in doing anything with any of these gadgets. I went outside and sat down on my porch and listened to the wind blow through the trees. And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. This technology and information overload were killing me. I was *too* connected. All of this connection did nothing but distract me and make me less efficient than I had been before. I feel fortunate to have had this epiphany. I understand now that technology has its place, news and information are important, but knowing when you need it and when you don’t is the trick.
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  3. This article seems to be a warning about the possible misuse of ubiquitous applications, accidental and otherwise, and encourages us to find an appropriate place for such applications in our lives. That seems prudent. I was a little surprised by this part of the article, which span two paragraphs near the end. “I think that given enough time and accurate enough information, people eventually do make wise decisions. The trouble is that in the present situation, time and useful insight are both in short supply.” What are we to do given the possibility that some people won’t make wise decisions given a lack of time or insight? Do we intervene? Does the government legislate what’s OK? I am more scared of that than I am of people missing out on wonderous non-technological moments… I am in favor of legislation that protects people from government or corporate use of ubiquitous applications without advance knowledge and consent. On the other hand, I’d be firmly against the government restricting access to ubiquitous applications because they don’t think it’s good for me.
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  4. “The real struggle will be in finding an appropriate place for ubiquitous computing in our lives — reserving it for those applications where it will be able to do us the most good, while ensuring that our more intimate choices and moments remain autonomous and unmediated.” I see computing as a solitary activity, while the happiest moments in my life are those spent with others. I agree with Chris. You can be too connected.
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  5. As long as it’s working for you.
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  6. What becomes of a people who replace the means with the end?  Meaninglessness? The fifties saw a surgence of the mentality that viewed all technological advancements as life-changing; but we all know that the fifties were fraught with hidden turmoil, despite the white-washed facade.  The washing machine made it easier to wash clothes, but it certainly didn’t change the fact that no one likes laundry.  The television let us watch other people’s lives, but it did not live ours for us.  June Cleaver kept everyone entertained while the dinner burned in the oven. Email certainly makes it easier to communicate, instant messaging even easier… yet I’ve found myself failing to connect because I’m now too busy with other things.  I suppose what I’m saying with all this rambling is that while technology gives us more pathways to choose, they are not the pathways themselves.  There is life greater than the vehicle.
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  7. I think the mental guidance found in Barry Schwartz’s ‘Paradox of Choice’ relates well to the idea of ubiquitous technologies. Are things headed for the good or for the bad? He answers “yes”. ;)
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  8. I´m not sure that there is a right to decide, because by every single piece of technique you are buying or living with the ubiquitous computing is increasing more and more.
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