Sunday, January 24, 2010

Call ...

When I was a kid, Star trek fascinated me. NASA was a lame excuse for a space program and I wanted a computer I could talk to, a tricorder, a communicator and wanted to go explore strange new worlds. In the forty years since Trek first aired in September of 1966 humanity and technology has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Today I realized I got way more of what I wanted back then than even I had realized. All because my favorite 14 year old looked at me and said "No Sam, I'm sorry, but you can't just tell you phone to call someone. They don't work that way." I realized as she started to say that I could in fact do just that. So when she finished I said "You mean if I look at my phone and say: 'Call {hername}' it's not going to do it?" She laughed and said "No, sorry they don't work that way." At which point her phone started ringing. "Hold on, someone ... HEY! How did you do that?" as the caller ID said it was me.

Voice dialing? Easy peasy! Have it talk to me and give me directions to anything I want to goto? Sure, I can say find nearest Ruby Tuesdays and it will not only find it but will give me turn by turn directions to get there either on foot, in the car, or by mass transit. Pull up information from the web for locations of hidden geocaches and then let me home in on the location with a radar display that tracks my location with respect to the cache and shows me if I'm getting closer to it? Simple. Handle email, voice mail, text messages and phone calls to anyone anywhere? Yup, there's and app for that. Manage my money, track my expenses, and so much more? Yup, it'll do that too.

Smaller than an original Trek communicator with way more features, unlimited access to the music, videos, information and more? All voice controlled? Yeah. And it's all in one device. I'd say that's pretty cool. But being able to startle my favorite 14 year old by showing her that science fiction isn't so much fiction anymore, well that was priceless!



6 comments:

Teresa said...

And has all that techue stuff improved life in the grand scheme of things? They may have invented a better hammer but we're spending even more time hitting nails than pehaps we really want to.

Lori D said...

I don't know why, but I avoid the voice dialing feature like the plague. I guess I am stuck on actually dailing the numbers.

Samantha said...

@Teresa, you're right of course. Frankly I'm seeing more and more to dislike about the driving force of technological change: Capitalism as practiced here in the good old US of Avarice.

@Lori, oddly enough, this was really one of the very rare times I've used the voice dial feature myself. Mainly because I knew it would amuse. Every phone I've had for the last five years has had Voice Dialing but it's just something I never really use. In part because the early phones that had it needed to be trained before they'd work, and then the error rate was too high for my taste.

This phone has been the exception. No training required. Kinda nice. The few times I've used it was in the car while driving, and then mainly because of the automatic voice navigation feature. One things the iPhone doesn't have an app for that the Droid based phones do. Find Nearest {name} Bank and then it gives me turn by turn navigation prompts in clear easy to understand English. I don't have to look at it or futz with it in anyway. Now that I use. But voice dialing still, not so much. I too find something - normal about dialing, or touching the contact entry in the phone book and dialing that way.

alan said...

I remember sitting in an AC/Delco mechanics class 30 years ago; the Citation was just coming out and had an on board processor that did 7 things. The instructor told us that by next year it would do 240 things and that in 3 years there would be no more need for a distributor. I could not for the life of me understand how they could make the distributor go away!

My wife's Dad grew up working draft horses in the farm fields of Vermont; he lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon. My own straddle of the centuries has been pretty amazing 'til now and I can only imagine what I might see before my time here is up, if I'm lucky!

Commercial spaceflight? Next year...

Mars? Maybe...

Would that "human" things progressed as quickly as technical ones!

alan

Samantha said...

Ah Alan, the good old days so to speak of distributor caps! I remember the days when there were no computers in cars or much of anything else. Then too, I remember being just about ten when the adults were talking about one word to describe the coming century. They all talked about "apathy" defining the 20th. Regrettably it seems to have been self fulfilling.

Which explains the first depression, and this one as well. Sometimes I honestly wish I didn't remember the things that I do. Because it really hammers home the saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Technology and greed marches on while sit back and allow the greed and technology to make their lives harder. People bitch and moan about Politics, but don't actually try to do anything about it, and send a stronger message to the jokers that we need real change.

But hey, what do I know. I'm just waiting for god to call me home.

dr.morbius said...

Yeah. Science fiction has conquered the world. The geeks have inherited, and all that...

I knew that we were living in a Star Trek world when I first saw a laser lithography rapid prototyper at work. It was astonishing.