Mobile Technology 2.0

In the last six months or year (or two years) I've written a lot here, about technology open source software and related topics. In a way this was a new thing for me. I majored in Women's Studies and Psychology in college. I wrote about gender and queerness, and knitting for many years. My big thing (or one of them, at any rate) is science fiction literarture, where I'm interested in very historical/"soft" sub genres. While some SF writers feel ghettoized by the "hard"/"soft" boundary in the genre, I love the fact that there's (a very popular) field of science fiction that isn't based on firm understandings of existing science/technology and tightly formed elaboration thereon. I love being non-technical on some level. Despite my current technological musings, this is very much a past that I must contend with.

But I digress.

Before all of this hippy-drippy stuff, I wrote a lot about technology. Back in 1999/2000/2001 I was reasonably active in the discourse surrounding mobile technology. Indeed through this I discovered blogging itself. There are a couple of subtitles to this that I think are appropriate: first, the state of mobile technology about 10 years ago was much different than it is today. Much different. Laptops were significantly bigger and less portable, cellphones were much less "smart," and disconnected PDAs were the light of the times.

But sooner rather than later, I broke down, bought a nice fountain pen and just kept a notebook when I was away from my computer. It worked. Eventually I got a cellphone, but I always tended toward the "dumb"-phone type that were incredibly simple. They worked. The paper worked. When I went away to college I got a 12 inch iBook (as my only computer) and it was great. Small laptops with wireless and long battery life seem to be a great solution to the "mobile technology" problem, and as--at the time--it seemed like my life/work was trending around in a different direction, I stared writing about different things, which when you think about it is all for the best.

For the intervening years, I've been sort of cool toward a lot of gadgetry. Laptops are small enough and powerful enough and frankly cheap enough (considering) to account for a huge percentage of digital mobility, that the remaining need is actually pretty small. And it was my experience that mobile technology wasn't there, for the in between spaces yet. Recording bits of minutia in a usable way on a PDA was never quite as quick and seamless as doing it either on a computer or with paper.

Eventually I've gotten back into writing about technology, but by this time it was a different kind of technology: unix/linux stuff, cyborg stuff, tools for writing, usage methodologies, and organization stuff. The technology itself (for me) has taken a backseat to the ways we use technology.

But in the mean time the mobile technology has mostly caught up. At least somewhat. Cellphones became a lot smarter, the data transmission got cheaper (and unlimited), syncing tools through google and mobile me (if that's your style) make the experience much more coherent. In a lot of ways, the fact that cellphones and connected devices can--independently of host computers--interact with the internet has made them infinitely more useful. And the fact that, at least in my case, do this via protocols that we're already familiar with (REST API's or email) makes this even more attractive.

I also think, at least in some cases, that a lot of this "web 2.0 stuff" makes the most sense in the context of mobile devices. While I don't often think about twittering, or dicking around on facebook when I'm sitting somewhere with just my Blackberry, the applications that connect with these web 2.0 services on phones are really clever. Maybe it's that limited functionality apps make more sense on phones/PDAs than they do on desktop computers, but that could just be me. In the end, I'm still dubious of all this "web stuff," but I think it at least makes sense now.

So there.

Onward and Upward!

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