Monday, June 17, 2019

Technology and Toys

When the fax machine became an attraction in the commercial world years ago it heralded what was initially my doubtful but ultimately addictive dedication to popular technology. Either curiosity or a fear of being left behind prompted me to succumb to the absorption. Once bitten an insatiability overtook me. What followed was electronic typewriters, computers (word processing, email, the internet, on-line software) and smartphones. From the start I have updated devices regularly, often yearly and sometimes more frequently.  I have never been disappointed by developing technology.  Yesterday I bought my first smartwatch, another of my preferred Apple products, a Series 4 (GPS), 44 mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band.

I suspect the usual audience for this product are those who want to "stay even more active, healthy and connected".  At my age I won't pretend to be as athletic as that group but I do appreciate that the device has a built-in electrical heart sensor and emergency fall detection (which operates automatically if you have the courtesy to tell the watch that you're over 65 years of age). I have also discovered that my control of my Apple Music is more convenient than having to play music through the iPhone.  I am still connected to my iPhone by Bluetooth since I was too cheap to opt for the additional cost of independent data for the watch. I figure I carry my iPhone with me all the time anyway - whether going in the car or on my bicycle - so I can bear the deprivation of the further cost.

I feel vaguely superfluous having to carry a watch which essentially does everything the iPhone already does. On the other hand the watch is a clue about what is about to come - for example, control of household lights and appliances from one's wrist. On a more practical and immediate level for my personal requirements, the watch can be used to glance at incoming email and to make quick responses (using standard formatted responses such as "I'll get back to you as soon as possible" - the sort of thing that might be helpful when cycling).  Like the iPhone - but quicker - the watch informs me about the time, the weather, my calendar of events (for several days in a row) and any alerts associated with my car.  I could also populate my favourite 100 photos but considering the size of the display I've removed that from the dock.

The toy factor of the watch is not to be ignored.  There is some strength knowing that one is au courant though admittedly it may be more vanity than palpability. Recalling that I once thought nothing of buying a $95 bottle of single-malt whiskey then literally pissing it away, it is a small expense to indulge myself in this new entertainment. Arguably it preserves my connection with the world without a lot of travel time.

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