Category Archives: technology

iPads Everywhere!

O’Reilly Media hosted yet another invitation-only, mind-bending, inspiring, fun Foo Camp.

In years past, we’ve enjoyed these unconference sessions, laptops glowing, perched on laps, on tables.  Technology everywhere.  Notes being taken, emails and tweets constantly flowing.

This year, Sara Winge pointed out, “open laptops were rare in sessions.”   iPads were everywhere.  “They sit flat on laps and tables, like paper,” Caterina Fake mentioned that and the contrast to screens as barriers between people.

People appear to sit comfortably, posture and breathing less stressed while using the iPad.  Some have specifically commented to me that while they notice they have email apnea when using their laptops, they breathe easily when using their iPad.

In the slow news session moderated by Steven Levy, Jennifer 8 Lee, and Kevin Kelly, the iPad as a platform for news and magazines was one of the topics debated.

It was during that debate that I realized — Apple has done for reading what the iPod has done for music.  We tune out the world, that 24/7, always-on world, once we engage with our iPods.  The iPad is the iPod of reading.  The world around us disappears when we engage with it.

The iPad, so gorgeous, with such a natural interface, offers the same opportunity.   Particularly in the case of the brilliantly designed (by Schulze and Webb) Bonnier magazines.  The world around me disappeared when I dropped into this iPad magazine experience.

I don’t have an iPad (yet).  I’ve enjoyed noticing the impact it’s having at various high tech gatherings as well as on less techie friends, many of whom seem to be making this their primary platform.

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Filed under attention, email apnea, engaged, iPad, O'Reilly Media, technology

Conscious Computing

Personal technologies today are prosthetics for our minds.   Our opportunity is to create personal technologies that are prosthetics for our beings.  Conscious computing is post-productivity, post-communication era computing.  Personal technologies that enhance our lives.  Personal technologies that are prosthetics of our full human potential.

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Filed under attention, attention management, breathe, breathing, continuous partial attention, distraction, email apnea, health, O'Reilly Radar, O'Reilly Media, screen apnea, stress, technology

Kids, Video Games, Posture & Breathing

One of my favorite 8 year olds can’t get enough of his Wii.  I enjoy this child and hung out with him recently while he played his favorite video game.  He was hunched over on the sofa and I promise you, his breathing was undetectable.  With some coaxing, he moved to a wooden chair.  For the first 3 minutes, he sat up straight, then he smiled at me, said, “I like to slouch,” and continued his game slouched in the wooden chair.

Did I mention that this is how he spent his Saturday morning  just before going to an appointment with the doctor helping him with his ADHD issues?

Shallow breathing and temporary breath holding up regulates the sympathetic or fight or flight nervous system response.  I call this email apnea.  If your child has ADHD or impulse control issues and also hunches in front of a computer or video game or in front of the television, it might be time to consider an intervention that involves teaching a breathing technique that up regulates the parasympathetic or rest and digest response.

I recently spent some time playing with the HeartMath emWave Desktop software.  With short games, a player  manages his/her breathing pattern as part of game play.

At TEDMED 2009, Dr. Daniel Siegel mentioned research he’d conducted using breath training to manage ADHD.

Sometimes pharmaceuticals are the most effective option for treating a condition.   In many cases, for conditions involving impulse control, regulation of emotions, ADHD and other attention issues, it may be worth looking into options that help”re-set” the autonomic nervous system:  various breathing techniques, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, cranial-sacral, and certain forms of acupuncture.

Performance, particularly dance and music, often involve training in breathing techniques.  The same is true for certain sports.

The way we breathe is central in regulation of attention and emotion, cognition and memory, and social and emotional intelligence.

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Filed under attention, breathe, breathing, email apnea, exhale, health, overwhelmed, screen apnea, stress, technology, Uncategorized

It’s Not the WHAT, it’s the HOW…

Recently, Nicholas Carr wrote a piece:  The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains.

Can we really know that’s true?  It’s the web?  Is this a declaration of war on technology?  After all, it’s shattering focus and rewiring our brains, according to Carr.

My latest Huffington Post piece, Are We at War with Technology, considers the relationship between the WHAT (technology), the HOW (how we’re using it) and the human (us).

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Filed under attention, breathe, breathing, connection, continuous partial attention, email apnea, health, Huffington Post, information overload, innovation, overwhelmed, screen apnea, stress, technology

How has the Internet Changed the Way You Think?

The physical world is where I not only see, I also feel — a friend’s loving gaze in conversation; the movement of my arms and legs and the breeze on my face as I walk outside; and the company of friends for a game night and potluck dinner. The Internet supports my thinking and the physical world supports that, as well as, rich sensing and feeling experiences.

It’s no accident we’re a culture increasingly obsessed with the Food Network and Farmer’s Markets — they engage our senses and bring us together with others.

How has the Internet changed my thinking? The more I’ve loved and known it, the clearer the contrast, the more intense the tension between a physical life and a virtual life. The Internet stole my body, now a lifeless form hunched in front of a glowing screen. My senses dulled as my greedy mind became one with the global brain we call the Internet.

Read the whole post here on O’Reilly Radar or a slightly different version, here, on the Huffington Post.

Read John Brockman’s 2010 World Question Center.  Thought leaders and scientists respond to the question:  How has the internet changed the way you think?

Comment here — write your own response.   Happy New Year!

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Filed under attention, distraction, engaged, health, O'Reilly Radar, technology

Screens R Us: When to Take a Break

Someone always stops me in the hall at a conference or asks anxiously after a talk:  How much time should I spend in front of a screen? At what point should I pull back and take a break?  Should I stop every 30 or 45 minutes?

My response is always the same:  How do you feel?  Your body is wiser than your mind in these matters.

The challenge is, most of us, especially the brainy future thinking high tech types, tend to favor the inclinations of the mind.  The mind, for many of us, is often tyrannical towards the body.  “Just stay up 3 more hours.   One more all-nighter.   A Red Bull or two and I’ll meet this deadline!  No walk until this paper is done…”

Our always-on lifestyle has favored thinking and doing.  As we move toward a lifestyle that seeks quality of life, we’ll find ourselves valuing sensing and feeling.   We see the first signs of this in the various food related movements that are gaining popularity:  slow foods, Farmer’s Markets, and preferences for artisanal and  local organic foods.

The operative questions are: How do I feel?  What would feel better?    These questions can help create a flexible, flowing workstyle that will enable the wisdom of both body and mind to come through in everything we do.

This piece also appeared on the Huffington Post.

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Filed under attention management, email apnea, health, Huffington Post, reflection, screen apnea, stress, technology, Uncategorized

Why Managing Vulnerability and Reputation is More Important than Ever Before

In ZG Mapping, one of the patterns that emerges suggests that as technology becomes closer and closer to us, we are less able to manage privacy at each advancing layer.  Today, through social networks, sensors, geo-location software, personal DNA testing, quantified self technologies and more, highly personal, private and intimate information about us and our relationships is more readily available than ever before.

Can we really expect to manage privacy?  Not so much.  It makes more sense to turn our efforts toward managing vulnerability and reputation.  What might that look like?  I welcome your comments.

ZG Maps track the deterioration of privacy and the increased exposure to our most intimate selves using examples for each era.  The years noted follow the ZG Maps twenty year eras.

The Public Layer:  Mainframe Computers (1945-1965)

Mainframes were operated by experts for the benefit of a select few in higher level management.  Most employees were data workers with limited access to information, dreaming of a day when information would be more available.    Example: The public was vaguely aware that Eisenhower had an affair.  Details and press were limited.

The Personal Layer:  the Personal Computer (1965-1985)

Personal computers brought information much closer to us.   The power of information, words and images, for storage and  manipulation was now on the desktop.  Example: President and Nancy Reagan used Joan Quigley as their personal astrologer.  The press reported on certain instances where Ms. Quigley’s calculations determined the timing of delicate meetings and diplomatic travel.

The Private Layer:  Mobile Devices (1985-2005)

With mobile devices, technology moved into our private space.  At the same time, increasingly private information about public figures and about ourselves became more available to others.  Example:  The press covered every detail of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, including their creative uses for cigars.

The Intimate Layer: Quantified Self Technologies – personal DNA testing, etc. (2005-2025)

Technologies like Navigenics and 23andme.com make personal DNA testing available to anyone interested and willing to pay.  Technologies like Zeo track our sleep patterns.  FitBit, Nike+ and DirectLife track our activity.  Geo-location technologies and sensors, track our every move.  If you’re not aware of the emergent area of quantified self technologies, check MeetUp for meetings in your area.    Example:  We can share genomic data on 23andme and adopted children can use these new technologies to find their birth parents.

Another, irresistible example given the headlines today:  We can read about every one of Tiger Woods’ lovers, read and listen to the text and voicemails exchanged, and learn a little about Tiger’s proclivities in bed.

In an era where we share our Zeo sleep data, use FourSquare to let our social network know our every move and Facebook and Twitter to share what we’re doing, what we’re thinking, who we’re connected to along with our favorite photos — what is privacy?

What can we benefit most from protecting?  My hunch is, it’s vulnerability and reputation.  What new tools and technologies support us to do this effectively?

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Filed under privacy, reputation, technology, vulnerability, ZG Mapping, ZG Maps