Skip to main content

Hurricane Sandy and Tech as Part of Our Lives

As most of the world is aware, last week was pretty rough for the East Coast of the United States. Hurricane Sandy left a trail of destruction through one of the most populous regions of our country, and even today, people have yet to fully recover from this incredible event.

I have some personal connections to this event, since my boss, and many of my co-workers are stationed in our NYC offices. Over the past week, a lot of meetings have started with questions like, "Are you doing OK? Do you have power yet?" The business of building a software product continued, but at the back of everyone's mind were questions about the safety of those we worked with.

For many of us, technology has become an embedded part of our lives. On any given day, I "chat" with people in two or three different timezones, hundreds of miles apart from me. Both in my personal life, and in my professional work. The internet, and our gadgets and apps, make this a simple proposition. Someone sits down at their computer or smartphone, logs in to an app, and boom, I can chat with them. Suddenly, last week, all that stopped for many people. There was a sense of joy in hearing my bosses voice on a call, despite knowing that I wouldn't see him online in many days. Audio communication suddenly seemed like the height of hubris, as one by one, our co-workers and friends checked in as they could.

As the week went on, things started to return to normal, and people started to get their internet connections back. Things seemed to fall back in to their normal routine. People showed up on my IM clients, more and more emails were sent and received. But I think a lot of us came through this event, with a better understanding of the role that our "always on" tech plays in our lives, and how it would feel if it suddenly all went away...

Popular posts from this blog

Push it... push it real good...

The other day I got a chance to play with the new Apple force touch trackpad. This is a new design that Apple has put on their laptops for non-mechanized clicking on trackpad. When you press on the trackpad it senses the force that you're pressing with, and when you reach a certain level, you feel a 'click'. If you keep pressing, you feel a second 'click'. The unique thing is that these 'clicks' aren't physical in nature. The trackpad never moves at all, but the click that you feel is from haptic feedback. In essence, when you press with enough force, the trackpad clicks back at you. You feel the sensation of clicking, but it's simply the trackpad responding to your pressure.

I got to play with this for a while, since the Apple Store rep was talking with us about soccer, and after a short bit I was getting the hang of it. I feel that it would take quite a bit longer though to really feel comfortable with this new paradigm. I'm someone who has a …

Hack! Slash! Burn! Crush!!

The big tech news story of the weekend was the hacked account of Mat Honan. As documented in his posting on Wired.com, in the space of a few hours his digital life was in shambles. And as much as we always talk about strong passwords, etc., this was not a case of password failure. It was a case that shows just how our desire for on-demand, cloud based services that are convenient can come back to haunt us.

I highly suggest you go read all 4 pages of the article, but the quick summary is that a hacker wanted control of Mr. Honan's Twitter account. In order to get it, they started with basic social scouting, and proceeded to use all of the built-in tools of Google, Amazon and Apple to gain access to his accounts without ever needing to crack a single password. At Google they discovered what his Apple ID e-mail address was when they did a simple "Forgot my password" query. Then at Amazon, they called up customer service and game'd the system to get access to the last 4 …

The beat goes on

Yesterday Apple revealed their long awaited entry into the streaming music field. They were able to do this quickly because of the acquisition of Beats last year, and the systems and intellectual property that came with that purchase. Considering that the music reveal was pretty much the only big news out of a pretty benign developer keynote, I'll take a few moments to talk about what I think about it.

Apple was perhaps the defining company in the music revolution of the past 20 years. With the introduction of the iPod that revolutionized portable music, to the creation of the iTunes store and the eventual death of DRM, Apple has been at the forefront of digital music. This leadership comes with high expectations to continue to lead, and so many people have long questioned Apple not getting into the streaming music business quicker.

For the past few years new companies have come forth to lead the change in the streaming music evolution. From Pandora and its ability to create uniqu…