September, chasing The Cloud away

September, chasing The Cloud away

Two of my favorite Danish bloggers, Classy & Tveskov (great band name btw), both missed writing longer stuff than 140 characters, and made an agreement to start writing blog posts (again).

I want to butt right in and join them. Mostly to put pressure on Tveskov to keep up his end of the deal.

It's the first day back at work after vacation. Three weeks and then some. All of them without looking at work email, Slack or social media (save for a "do you know where my sister-in-law can find a place to live" tweet). I used a laptop once, to find a place that rents out tables and chairs for parties.

It's healthy, I think, to pull the plug and curb the compulsion, but denouncing the tools wouldn't do any good either. It wasn't an epiphany being on vacation; it was just nice to spend time with family—especially my four-month old daughter.

I used NYTimes' excellent app "NYT Now" extensively for news, and, surprisingly, it covered the largest tech news I'm interested in well enough for me to not feel I missed the big picture of what's going on in the tech world. That Google made a new company seems to be the biggest thing.

Besides just pulling the plug, it's been incredibly good to visit family and see what tech they use, and how goddamn far out of reach of regular folks Silicon Valley still is. During my vacation, I've watched VHS tapes, spoken on a landline phone (to another guy on a landline phone, no kidding!) and my grandpa complained about his phone discharging too fast nowadays. At the time, it'd been turned on for four days. But he's right—it's an old Nokia that used to hold eight. Sometimes, you just wanna find something that works and keep it working.

There's nothing wrong with tech visionaries looking at what could be a regular household item in 10 or 20 years. Too often there's just a blindness to the fact that there's a whole world in which proper mobile coverage is still not ubiquitous or reliable, and that a $2000 computer grinding to a halt after three or four years is unacceptable.

Take the "internet of things" as another example (which Classy mentioned as well). It's still far out for people, who don't understand why the TV already stopped working only five years after they bought it, that they'd have to upgrade their smoke alarms, fridge or garage door to one with a WiFi-chip—they solved that problem already and don't want to think about it anymore.

At the same time, however, those people might think it's pretty clever they can turn off their alarm system from an app on their smartphone. (It was.)

If you work at the forefront of technological innovation, the way you think about the future, might be more out of touch than you know, if your present is already at a place where people 10 or 20 years older (or younger) won't be for years or even decades. Writing it out makes it sounds ridiculously simple, but taking photos of a five-year-old TV playing 20-year-old VHS tapes playing on a 10-year-old video machine with a one-year-old iPhone really made me feel in a weird place.

But it worked. We laughed at ourselves on the video tape, and I shared the photos with some of those who couldn't be there in our shared albums on iCloud Photo Sharing.

It made it feel like they were there too.