Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week 4: Changes in the Way We Think

Without a doubt the internet has altered the way I read and think. After reading, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" I realized that so many of the traits of heavy internet users matched me. I tend to have multiple programs running and always find a way to distract myself. I believe Apple is only making things worse in terms of potential distractions. Amazon released the first Kindle a few years ago, it was a great device because of its shortcomings. With a gray-scale screen, limited internet functionality, and high price tag, many saw the Kindle as an underpowered/overpriced device. The Kindle actually prevents the distractions that the iPad thrives on, multitasking applications. These so called "Apps", are just an excuse to practice poor concentration and focus.
"Let me see here, I'll just open this iBook app and read some of this book. Why not put on some Pandora tunes in the background (exits to home-screen). Wait what's this, I have four new messages in Facebook!"

The added functionality of internet connected apps to the eBook reader has invited in a large new user-base, the multitasking ADD-oriented type of people. But wait, not so fast, Apple has a track record of great usability and simplicity. Not so long ago Apple despised companies like Sony that loved to overload devices with too many functions. It's like those all-in-one flashlight, TV, siren, and radio devices that people actually bought. The device wasn't very good at any of the functions, but just the thought of being able to go from spotlighting a deer to watching TV on one device made some people drool.

Since most of us are heading in the direction of that ADD-oriented mindset, we will need to use drugs like Modafil to keep us alert through all this so called "multitasking" chaos. Nicholas Carr said it best:

"The Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski."


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  2. Even the Kindle can browse the internet, though. Multi-purpose capabilities are almost expected in devices these days. It's convenient sometimes, but I think we need more devices that do one thing, and do it well. It's getting harder to argue that they're better at what they do, but I think they're usually better designed, and aid focus. There's nothing like the serenity and utility of a tool that knows its purpose.