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 Wednesday, 19 May 2004

A friend and coworker of mine, Scott Hanselman, trapped me into lunch today as I was walking through the cafeteria. Well, okay, he didn't exactly trap me, he just waived me over and invited me to sit down, but “trapped” sounds better. His wife, Mo, was there as well. Earlier Scott had asked me if I would help him duplicate some DVDs from their recent trip to Africa. He made the a comment about how his DVD burner had crapped out and died on him, and then made some reference to how he had to watch DVDs on his tablet “during that period in my life when my computer wasn't working.”

Now, I have often heard people classify their lives into convenient or descriptive apportionments, like “when I was married to my third wife” or “back when the kids were still at home,” etc.

But Scott's comment started me thinking. Life in the digital age is - at least in my own experience and my observation of others - fairly consuming. Everything I do seems to have some kind of connection - either direct or not - to computers or other electronic devices and information. From the perspective of the hindsight-oriented crowd, it's a wonder the world functioned at all without all this technology. While I constantly find myself ready to hurl my Blackberry device off a cliff, I would not be able to function as effectively without it. Or at least it seems that way.

We've become a world of digitally-leashed animals, for better or for worse. Some have started to describe our lives in terms of “bandwidth” and available “cycles” when talking about how much time we have (or don't have), and for many of us, the idea of giving up our cell phones and email, while probably a welcome and wishful thought, in reality causes us to feel anxious. After all, how in the world could we possibly function?

Our interrupt-driven lifestyles may be the end of us. I wonder how long it will be before the average human lifespan in technologically-advanced countries actually starts to drop as a result of the stress of technology? Certainly technology has improved our collective quality of life to a degree, but at what point does the world start rotating backward? Lends a whole new definition to “mean time before failure,” doesn't it?

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Wednesday, 19 May 2004 17:10:41 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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