Thoughts on what once was…


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My lonely HP calculator.

I had a TI many years ago that I bought at JC Penny. It was before the advent of Best Buy and stores devoted to technology. I could decipher high level mathematics calculations with the device. I now have an HP version of that calculator, although the power difference between the two is terrifying. The reality is I don’t use the calculator that often.

I’ve talked before about my quest to replace the circular slide rule that died when I was 19 or 20 years old. A pocket sized device that provided information, ability to calculate complex solutions and to be useful/helpful. Frankly I could replace that slide rule with any one of a dozen devices I’ve carried over the years (and do a lot more than ever imagined).

OF course the magic of the slide rule was that it came from my father. If I still had it today, I would still carry it for that reason alone.

This brings me to the overall concept I am thinking about. The value of an object.

Any one object is only worth the space bridged in getting it into your hands. If I buy the object it has a value (what I was willing to pay for it). If someone gives you something the value is different. The reality is if it is a gift it is so much harder to calculate what it is worth. There are complete misses of course when you look at an object purchased for you and wonder why someone would buy that for you.

For me the circular slide rule represents a connection to a part of my father (the scientist) that extends beyond the simple act of handing me that slide rule. Technology has been my life for more than 25 years now. The reality of technology is that it fails. That circular slide rule never failed.

.doc

5 tools, one job and a Thursday afternoon (windows phone 7)


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Sometime in the mid 1970’s my father attended an NSTA conference somewhere in the US. He brought me back a circular slide rule, that was my go to device for nearly 5 years. I have sought a replacement for that device for more than 30 years. I still haven’t found it (it had an insert with a star chart, periodic table of the elements on the back and a slide rule on the front. The insert had all sorts of interesting additions and it acted as both a ruler and a protractor. Somewhere or sometime after I moved out of my parents house I lost it.

Yes I know there are devices that do so much more than that device did. I also realize that as a human I was the input, energy and battery solution for that device which in reality was more of a tool than a device. But it is that device that created my love of gadgets. It seems funny now that a tool has drive my desire to have a single device that gets me what I need.

Which brings up the device that most intrigues me right now. Windows phone 7 which launches here in the US in about 12 days. Shortly after the launch of Kinect (which is the other technology I am watching right now). It seems to me that technology is catching up with the vision we all had more than 30 years ago (personal productivity tools) from the phone to the game system. I have a laptop (netbook) that is small enough to carry with me pretty much everywhere and it allows me (affords me) the luxury of long battery life, tablet computer and touch screen device. But the phone remains the device that most will drive change.

I watched the iPhone folks scurry to their devices (and heard them complain about horrible phone service) talking about everything you could do on an iPhone (or for that matter the newer entity the Android phone. I wanted to tell each and every one of them about my circular slide rule and what that meant, but they wouldn’t listen. They had the shiny new rock that would change the world. They had poor service and dropped calls, but they changed the world. Ask AT&T about the Iphone (and now Ipad) impact on their network. It increased the traffic (data) on their cellular network a lot!

Windows mobile 6.5 was a step in the right direction. It gave me a lot of the things I was looking for.

Windows phone 7 will be the game changer. Out of the box I will be able to connect to my Zune Pass and use the phone for streaming music. I will be able to use the phone to play on Xbox live and will have access to all the games on a real gaming platform (Xbox). I will be able to being the process of integrating my life with my internet life (see my blog here, for thoughts on syncing everything). It (the Windows Phone 7) gets me close to one device that will keep me synced between where I am and the virtual me that lives on the internet.

5 killer Windows phone 7 features

  • Mix and match calendars (works and Hotmail) so you can always have family and work events side by side
  • Facebook integration
  • Voicemail visible on launch screen if you have one
  • emails visible on launch screen if you have some
  • tiles

I have the launch countdown timer on my desktop (I haven’t had that since the countdown timer for Windows XP). The world is about to change, and I am excited to be in the mix!

.doc