The second half of December is a period of reflection for many people. Especially in the Western world, where the year ends in dark days, cold weather, and holidays spent visiting family and friends. These are important moments in a person’s life, when they’re well spent. Being in the world of technology, we need to ask ourselves the question whether or not technology contributes in a positive way to this reflective state of mind. Or is it merely driving us mad?
Living in pretty rural area, I have only one realistic option for high-speed internet. Well, not for the last 24 hours when it was down again for the fourth time this year. First reaction is obviously one of utter frustration. Then you realize that being disconnected from the world may actually contribute to our well-being. The world of IT needs to do better than just that. Not being there shouldn’t be the positive side.
So which technological innovation has improved the quality of reflective life during the holiday season? It’s hard to come up with one, but my brilliant colleague, Jasper Geurts, actually managed to do so: the lights on a Christmas tree. The circuit used to be serial, meaning that one failing bulb would cause the whole strand to malfunction and the tree to go dark. But now, the circuit is parallel, so no such thing can happen anymore. Progress!
Or is it? Now, you need to actually turn the darn thing off with a switch or the plug (usually in a hard-to-reach place behind the tree!), where you used to be able to just twist a light that was right in front of you.
As 2019 winds down, it’s really time to enjoy some togetherness with family and friends and read a book. Next year, we’ll be back improving software, making the world a better place.