Blackberry – my technology line in the sand

I feel like Don Quixote from Man of La Mancha – tilting at windmills.  And I know, that sooner or later, the windmill will win (for those of you who never read the play – hint – it does not end so well for Don.)

But for now, I have drawn this technology line in the sand and have not procured the requisite Blackberry. My reasons for resisting this technology are numerous despite the clear and compelling benefits:

  • I am not that important that I need to be reached within 20 seconds. As it is, I check email with a frequency that is akin to an addiction anyway. If there is a real emergency, then my ever ready cell phone is my safety net.
  • It seems that a Blackberry seems to give permission for people to be rude, as in, “I am so important that instead of listening to you in this meeting, I will check to my Blackberry to see if someone more important than you have contacted me”.  I dunno – it seems the self grandiose nature of this is rather irksome.
  • You can not give good direction to a team using a Blackberry. The best you can use a Blackberry for is a; “yes”, “no”, “I don’t know” or I will get back to you later” type of answers – nothing more. It makes me crazy when I see junior managers trying to tap out a cohesive and meaningful set of directions using Blackberry. Please, please stop it. It does not work, but I see the seduction of it. With our trusted Blackberry you can answer quickly and you can mark that item off your “to do” list. It may be efficient for you – but I can guarantee you that your team probably has no idea what you wanted.
  • Finally, as it is, too much of my day is spent fielding people trying to reach me. I resist being that in contact with everyone for so much of my day. ‘Nuf said.

So there you have it. My list of why I won’t get a Blackberry. I say this with some irony, since some of the reasons I gave above were not dissimilar to the reasons I may have given about 10 years ago when I resisted getting a cell phone. Obviously, that line in the sand was crossed within months and I suspect this one will be too.

While I don’t know how long this line in the sand will hold (and I am unfortunately not optimistic), I intend to hold the line as valiantly as Don Quixote. A quote in the play comes to mind and seems pertinent; “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all – -to see life as it is and not as it should be.” I know Blackberry makes total sense … but I choose “madness”. At least for now.

Judy Shapiro

Contemplative Silence

September is a time that evokes contemplation.

It is a time of new beginnings; kids start school, college or their first jobs. September is the beginning of the critical 4th qtr business cycle. And in September the Jewish New Year process (all 8 weeks of it starting with Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippor 10 days later to the final capstone of the New Year’s process with the 8-day holiday Sukkoth) occupies a fair amount of one’s waking time.

All this change and transition drives contemplation. Hence my silence for the last few weeks. But with contemplation comes inspiration and new potential to drive progress.

So what have I been thinking about?

I have been thinking about connections and how people connect in today’s super-hyped connected, digitized, info  Judy Consumersaturated world. I have been thinking about how Judy Consumer within a mere few years has had to absorb an astonishing amount “new” connection possibilities … from friends finding her (many of whom she would have rather not found her), to strangers claiming to be her friends to insta-info with Twitter and so on.

How does she think about all this connectivity? Who does she trust to start a connection with? Which connections are helpful or dangerous? When should Judy Consumer be visible to the open, social world and when should she guard her privacy?

It seems that communications innovation engine is coming at Judy Consumer at an accelerated rate – kinda like a mini version of Kurzweil’s “knee of the curve” principle outlined in the book, The Singularity is Near. In communications technology, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The new, mobile applications or the new expanding lifecasting capability from the social networking folks open a whole new horizon of connection capability for Judy Consumer.

New beginnings – you bet. But “fasten your seat belts – it’s going to be a bumpy ride”…

Judy Shapiro

www.twitter.com/judyshapiro

You know you’ve made it to the big time – when you get Mac Attacked

I was somewhat prepared I suppose – Mac users have a reputation for being “passionate” – even a bit nut case-y. I was girding myself for a bit of a backlash when I wrote an article for Ad Age on how easy it is to be slippery with the truth in technology advertising because “heck Judy Consumer won’t know the difference anyway”. The article, for instance, questioned whether Mac’s emphasis on virus free operation was giving “Judy Consumer” a false sense of security.

While I may have prepared, I figured I am not important that anyone would really notice. I was wrong. The Ad Age article did catch the attention of a Mac daily digital daily newsletter, which took exception to my article. Politely, I will restate their point which was they felt that my lack of technological knowledge did not allow me fully appreciate how bullet proof Macs really are.

Got it – they really really disagreed with my point. I respect that.

But then they launched a guerilla attack that was pretty well coordinated to lobb every conceivable personal attack. Many were very funny. Someone took a fair amount of time to create reusable content for others to hurl at me. I was described as an idiot”, worthy only of being in the kitchen, a dishonest reporter (pretty funny since I am not a professional writer), an archetype of silly women everywhere who don’t understand technology. They even pulled the old, tired, “you ignorant slut” why don’t you get some “recreational activities” and stay out of tech. In short, the onslaught was saying – I was worthless as a human being and had no right to even invoke the precious Mac name – much less challenge their sacred reputation.

In many ways, the attack reminded me of a guerilla organization. They come out of the weeds – do their dark deeds and then skulk back into their holes.  The editor deliberately took my article and edited it in such a way to suggest the focus of the article on why Macs can not claim their bullet proof status (that wasn’t the focus at all). They created a bunch of content so users could flood me with a barrage of personal insults that had no intelligence in it. They even accused me of being in the pocket of MS or the security company I quoted in the article.

And just like any guerilla terrorist organization, there is no honor in their fight. There is no desire to keep the conversation focused on the real issue — how real people must grapple with new challenges as we all become more dependent on the Internet.

Nope. The site wanted to whip up a frenzy to drive traffic. They did exactly what my article was complaining about – they played with the facts to satisfy their business needs. There was no straight talk in their harangue.

But I am consoled by the fact that I must have hit big time … otherwise they would not have bothered. I know others have been in this Mac Attack club including a recent article from Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt in his article; “Why are there no Mac viruses?”
http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/09/02/why-are-there-no-mac-viruses. But they seem to reserve their special ire for “ignorant women”…

I thought the days of persuasion by coercion were only reserved for close minded fundamentalists. I was wrong and on this point – I wholly admit my error.

Judy Shapiro

http://twitter.com/judyshapiro

How technology can serve the human race.

We all know how amazing technology can be to solve human problems and expand our horizons. The list of technology innovations just in the last 10 years are too numerous to list on one blog (but if I did – imagine the SEO value).

That’s why I love being in technology. I get to imagine how some new technology innovation can make my life better (I don’t say easier anymore though). Sometimes though, not only can technology help serve the human race – it can directly save lives.

This is one of those times.

Paltalk has partnered with the leading world organization to stop malaria from killing children, March on Washingtons. This organization coordinates activities from numerous resources to distribute real medicine and provide bednets.

Paltalk will be using its technology to support this important initiative.

First on September 15, in coordination with the opening of the UN General Assembly, Paltalk will host an all day video chat telethon (11:00 – 5:00PM Eastern Standard) to raise awareness about this deadly killer. During the event, Paltalk will have special guests to talk to people from all over the world about how this life threatening disease can be prevented. They will share ideas on how the disease can be stopped from spreading or what effective treatments can be. For the entire day, people will be able to talk and see each other as we together fight this disease. The Paltalk technology that allows lots of people from all over to see and hear each other is too awesome, especially when used in the service of humanity.

Then, Paltalk will use this campaign to donate $1 in hard cash for any new download of our free software. Our technology delivers what Skype delivers and more. We are better than the best IM software (like MSN) because you can do multi person voice and video chat. And we give people what webex does but you can do a 10 person video conference call for free all the time.

In short, Paltalk technology gives you great free services that normally cost a bundle for free – no catches.

Join me in this noble fight. Spread the word. Get anyone you know to download Paltalk.

The math is easy.

  • 1 download = $1 donated from Paltalk to fight malaria
  • Get 5 friends to download = $5 will be donated and that’s enough to buy 1 bednet to prevent the disease.
  • 1 life saved

Here are the details http://www.paltalk.com/fightmalaria.

It doesn’t get easier than that. Ain’t technology great :)

Judy Shapiro

http://twitter.com/judyshapiro

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