Our outboard brain

Discussions around the outboard brain were strong around 2007 when wired magazine and others picked up this notion of us now having an outboard brain and outsourcing some of our thinking to a device. The article Your outboard brain knows all was a lively discussion of this issue:

“My point is that the cyborg future is here. Almost without noticing it, we’ve outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us.”

It made me think. I love being able to look anything up when I do not know. In that sense I am more informed. My blogging has really contributed to my knowledge but I have just done exactly what the article is talking about. I surprised myself by finding a blog post about the outboard brain on another blog of mine. I had forgotten all about it. The issue is still relevant and David Bowden’s poetry examines the impact of technology on us. There is another poem The inner net which examines our so called connectivity and what the impact of that has been in human terms.

I have ready access to factual information because blogging makes me think and integrate that knowledge into my own database. I’d say technology has contributed well and effectively to my ever growing brain. To ensure this though I make sure I put myself at risk technologically by learning new software, a new OS, a new gadget. Nothing like databases to force a literary brain into chaos and ensure it HAS to learn!! Technology is for me a tool, not a substitute…and I thank this poem for helping me think this through.

Not giving up my desktop!

desktopWe take a lot for granted. We are surrounded by technology and we use it all the time. There are those who have made a lifestyle choice of not engaging with it, but most of us are reliant on our phones, tablets and computers. 5 weeks ago my life came together in such a way I was provided with the opportunity to forgo my desktop and live life on my iPad. I had 10 minutes a day to get banking and blogging done and that was it, basically. I thought it would be a good experiment for me to see what would happen because I love my technology. My observation now is I do not have the breadth and complexity of interaction and development if I confine myself to a tablet. My desktop provides a richer and more complex experience. Much of what I discovered is going to sound negative but the overall effect of the last 5 weeks was not negative. I have learnt a lot about how technology impacts and how tablets impact.

1. I have constantly had sore, tired eyes. Back lit screen of the iPad?
2. Tablet is very portable and I quickly engage with it.
3. I do not trust a tablet for banking and other sensitive sites.
4. Flipboard and Zite are my best friends and no, I do not want to migrate Zite to Flipboard.
5. Twitter has a different feel on iPad and is tackier. Much prefer Tweetdeck on my desktop.
6. I connect far less on the iPad.
7. Facebook is okay on the iPad but prefer my desktop feed and experience.
8. Games on the iPad have come a long way and they are good on the iPad.
9. My activities on a desktop are more complex , utilise my skills better and I manage it better.
10. Mail apps on the iPad are efficient and effective.

I have watched students on the iPad and they navigate them quickly and effectively. I don’t , partly because I have osteoarthritis and I just do not get the feedback though my fingers on a touch screen. People have watched me tap or swipe and don’t understand why nothing happens. I can’t always feel the glass properly and so I have a nice little stylus which plugs into the earphone socket so I don’t lose it. Ever grateful at school, even though I rarely use the photocopier, that they have had the sense to supply a stylus with the touch screen. I can see my students copy and paste, type, cut, retype, insert images at lightnigh speed. That is me on a desktop. In the end, it is important to use the technology which serves you best and whioch you adapt to well. So I can’t see my desktop becoming obsolete and it would impact on my life if I couldn’t access a desktop. I have noticed there has been a big push of the extemely popular HayDay sites for the developers to provide a computer version but they want to confine it to mobile technology. That cuts back access and experience options for some people. I don’t think we shall have matured as a technology society until all devices can run all software safely and well. Quite a challenge!

1,500 times a day?

What is the matter with people? Why would you want to pick up your smartphone more that 1500 times a day? Apparently that is what the average smartphone user does. Read the article. If this is you, you really need this smartphone ergonomics video which I got via The Ergonomic Times. Good luck.

Logizomechanophobia

Logizomechanophobia is the fear of computers and I have this compelling post on the 10 Evil Computers to thank for that information. I wonder how many you know but Hal for me will always be the benchmark in bent computers. I also remember reading The Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler and it was a book which gave me an opportunity to think about the profound impact technology was having on humanity and the “ratomorphic” view of the world. Looking at that array of computers made me think just how important they have become in terms of inspiration and creativity as well as functionality and mass production. Computers really do lead varied lives!

15 interesting facts about the Internet

We all seem to have a fascination with facts at the moment and a lot of it seems to centre on social media and internet usage. We are probably aware that change really is going on at the moment and so in our own way we are trying to track it. As people who like technology and the internet then we like to keep up with facts. As teachers we like to use facts and information to create perspective and to get students to understand that all this information means something. So, if you need some facts on the internet, these ones are a bit different and they are the sorts of things which would be meaningful to students and would get some good discussions going.

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