I often find myself thinking about the future, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It is interesting that everyone has an idea of how the future looks, but we rarely ever consider the extreme changes that could occur between the present and the future. I understand that nobody wants to think about the bad, and that our wishes for the future are often only positive, but change is not always bad. The fact of the matter is things change, and we can never correctly predict tomorrow from the vantage point we stand on today. The human’s ability to plan and visualize for the future is rare, but flawed. Many animals can store up resources for later, and even remember where they left these resources but none have as intricate a thought process about the future as humans do. The flaw in our ability to plan comes with the fact that we don’t plan well for what we don’t expect, but if everything was expected, there would be no benefit to planning. It is important to plan, but the most important thing is to remember that things change. What was normal yesterday is now no longer in existence, so it seems like we may have to work on adaptation rather than on planning since we can not perceive the future. In order to properly plan for the future we have to learn to accept change and to expect the unexpected. I will continue to plan for and think about the future even though my plans and thoughts may be only a past dream when the future actually comes around.
Today marks the launch day for the new iPhone 6s, and along with it has come a new revision of iOS. iOS 9 has been out for a week, and today Apple decided to release fixes for the issues users have been having while using the software with update 9.0.1. The most interesting feature Apple has introduced for the new iOS is the ability to block content on the Safari browser. With the content blockers, users are able to block ads, media, and pictures while surfing the web. These content blockers lead to a faster, less cluttered, and less intrusive use of the browser. I have been using content blockers on my computer for years, so I am extremely welcoming of their addition to my mobile platform, however I fear the effect it can have on the Internet and ad revenue for companies that rely on it. I have to admit, web ads are extremely annoying, and mobile ads have become incredibly intrusive, but now that we can block them, companies will have to find new ways to make the money they will be losing. I don’t want to sound like I am the baron of bad news, but mobile content blockers could signal the end of the Internet as we know it. Many websites are no longer offering a mobile version, as they would rather push their free, yet ad supported app onto consumers. With these apps, companies can continue to get their precious ad revenue, while bringing their content directly to the consumer with constant and somewhat annoying notifications. I am not exactly a fan of loading my phone up with apps that I would only use twice a week, and I detest the idea of an app overload my phone with notifications, so if this is going to be the trend for mobile web, I will likely be spending much less time on the Internet in the near future.
Labor Day weekend is the unofficial last weekend of the summer. While summer actually ends on September 22nd, this weekend it is definitely the beginning of the end of summer fun. With college students already back to school, and everyone else soon to follow, everywhere you go seems much less like summer in spite of the still tepid temperatures. Many people use Labor Day weekend as a time to barbecue and spend time with family, I on the other hand like to just sit back, relax, and reflect on the summer fun that has come and gone. I know I have stated before that I don’t like extreme temperatures, hot or cold, so I really enjoy the transitional periods between New York’s most extreme seasons. As the city transforms from a tropical play land into a more mellow fall gallery, I love to remember the adventures of the summer past. This summer was quite eventful and definitely enjoyable, but somehow it always seems like it was not long enough. When I look back on the activities of summer, I realize that while they all lasted a perfect amount of time, the memory can never truly recreate the enjoyment of each moment. Memories are always great, but it is most important to make sure that each moment is given an adequate amount of time to be cherished. Summer is just about gone, hopefully everyone had an enjoyable time, and took the time to actually enjoy it since, much like summer, moments come and go, but the memory is never the same as enjoying a moment in the present.
Communication has come a very long way over the past few centuries. What was once considered unimaginable is now the norm, and connections that many dreamed of are now being harnessed in the hands of infants. When Alexander Graham Bell and the other early telecommunication inventors thought up the telephone, they just wanted an effective way of relaying a spoken message, and now their work is part of a massive infrastructure that they would have never fathomed. There was once a time when the most effective way of communicating aside from interpersonal, was via carrier pigeon, and now we are able to easily link with people across the world with video messages. I once worked in the telecommunications industry so I am well aware of how quickly we can go from one huge advancement to another, and communication seems to be getting wider and more advanced than ever at an incredibly fast rate. The best way for me to illustrate the great advancements we have seen in the past few years is through my own experience. My parents have been out of the country for a little while, and thanks to the great advancements in telecommunications worldwide, I have been able to speak with them clearly, and at will. Recent advancements in cellular and digital communications have made talking to somebody who is 5200 miles and an ocean away seem as simple as calling a next door neighbor. We have definitely gone a long way since the first telephone, and there seems to be no stopping the rate of growth communication technology is seeing. At this point in time it would be ridiculous for me to speculate on what the future holds for communication, but with the speed of technological advancements, I would not be surprised to see my wildest dreams outdone by an unbelievable reality in the near future.
A picture is the closest we can get to traveling back in time at this moment. I understand that we have advanced video capabilities in this day and age, but there is just something about a picture that sets it apart. Whenever you look into a photo, you are basically given full control of the context of a situation, that is why ten people could look at the same photo and view it completely differently. There is an old saying that states, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and I have seen the truth in that statement thousands of times. I was recently looking through some old photo albums, and while I was a child in many of these photos, I felt as though I was tossed back in time to those wonderful days. I saw a cool photo of my oft arguing older siblings, who were then toddlers, getting along wonderfully, and I was left to wonder what had changed in the 20 something years this photo was taken. The photo showed two well behaved children playing together but it didn’t show the incidents leading up to that joyous moment, perhaps they where fighting minutes before or after this photo was taken. The joy of photography is the fact that the viewer of the photo is not bothered with the context surrounding the picture. Pictures have stayed the most popular form of memory preservation because of the fact that they don’t tell the whole story, but still manage to encompass every emotion and word possible in presenting it. I am certain that if humans last another 200 years here on earth, photographs will be just as informative and useful then as they are today in recreating our view of the past and preserving our memories in the future.
This week’s postings will probably be shorter than usual, since I am currently working a summer camp, and aside from have strict time constraints, Internet coverage is a bit spotty. Earlier today as I was going about my duties in the camp I started thinking about the concept of paying attention. I realize how ironic it is that attention became the focus of my thoughts, rather than the task at hand. I see it as pretty interesting that we have a method of blocking out stimuli and focusing on a single thing while still being bombarded with various external commotion. Often times it is said that children have short attention spans, but I don’t think that is exactly the case, I just think children try to focus on too many things at once because almost everything is new to them, even adults can seem a bit challenged in the attention department when they have too many options. One of the most interesting things about attention is how you can be focused on one thing for one moment and then instantly change focus without any active mental process. The human brain is like a super advanced computer with less safeguards, we can calculate or plan almost anything, but still be quickly derailed by a loss of concentration. Paying attention is crucial to most of life’s great successes, but life’s most basic needs such as sleeping, breathing, and digesting, are all done without a single conscious thought, a fact I find both hilarious and amazing. Attention is something that can be controlled and should be worked on. I understand that there may be times when the mind wants to wander, but as I have learned throughout life, you can not get anywhere without putting the right amount of focus into the execution of plans. Paying attention is a conscious effort to control the processes of the mind, and once it is correctly mastered success is inevitable.