Teasing the Threads of Truth (From the Eternal Consumption Engine)

I am very disorganized.  I think it is part of my nature, though I am trying to change that, or at least form new habits that overwrite that behavior.  So when it came time to compose this post (which I have made a personal goal to do at least weekly), I decided to try to put together a few ideas that have been kicking around for a while in an attempt to arrange them in some semblance of mental coherency.

The first thing that came to mind was this picture:

Steve Wozniak reveals contents of his backpack, has a lot of stuff

While this collection may be a bit excessive (and more tech than most of us can afford at any given time), it really shows the various ways in which we use electronic devices.  Technology impacts our lives whether we're aware of it or not.  The choice we have then is to decide if we are going to let it overwhelm us, or if we are going to attempt to understand it well enough to make it work for us.  Granted, we don't have to know how the computer chip in our car makes it more fuel efficient; we have mechanics who are quite happy to charge us exorbitant sums of our hard-earned dollars to do that for us.  But while our lives seem to get faster and faster and information (and its exchange) occurs more rapidly, we can use it to help us become more organized.

There's that nasty word_thought again: organization.  Clutter doesn't just pervade my life - it has become my friend.  That's not to say I'm a slob.  I'm actually quite a germaphobe about things like sanitizing my hands after going into a store or when preparing food at home.  But I recently moved into a smaller place and it has forced me to come face to face with how much clutter I actually have and how I need to do something about it.  So far the only thing that has changed is that I now step over my piles instead of around them.  o_O

My piles

So what am I going to do about it?  My first thought was to get a secretary, but that costs money, something not in great abundance right now.  Posting on this blog is actually helping me somewhat in that regard.  It gives me an outlet for some of the random thoughts that don't have a specific place in my current novel or that I can't yet see fitting into a future novel.  But that doesn't stop me from moving my assorted stacks around, shuffling them from one side of the room to the other when I need to get at something.  Again, don't get me wrong - I'm not one of those people you see on Hoarders or read about in the news who have 900 cats in a 1,000 square foot home.

One thing I've done which has revolutionized my life is buy one of these:

The Samsung Galaxy Note
Now I've never been much of an Apple or iPhone fan, and have used Android smartphones almost since their inception, so the leap wasn't as huge as it might be for some.  However, this little (or large, depending on your POV) device is what spurred me to leave Verizon, a company whom I had been with for years and likely would have stayed with for years to come, and switch to AT&T even though I was only 1 year into a 2-year contract.

Crazy, perhaps.

But I am so happy with this phone and it has helped me keep much more organized *gasp* in my daily activities.  Of course, organization is relative with me.  One could argue that now I just have more places for my clutter.  Instead of physical pieces of paper with notes jotted all over them I now have S-Notes in my phone that are in constant disarray.  But at least it is one step closer to getting rid of my piles.  And they don't call it a 'phablet' for nothing.  In my opinion, it is the perfect combination of a phone and a tablet.  Smartphones have become so similar in what they can do that I never dreamed I would leave a cell provider for a DEVICE; normally I would choose a carrier (or stay with one) because of the SERVICE(S) they offered.

This slender doohickey is not for everyone.  For those concerned about the size and all that, I'm not going to go into all the details because there are plenty of reviews available on the interwebs.  But the Note does a large variety of things and does most of them quite well.  Or rather, it gives you the power to perform those tasks in a wonderfully open environment that is there for you to explore should you choose.  Which ties into where I see technology going (and why I started this ramble in the first place).  I think the devices we use in our lives, whether that be a PC, Laptop, Tablet, Phone, Xbox, or PlayStation, have gotten to such a mass-producible state that the next couple generations of tech are no longer going to be distinguished by WHAT a device does but instead by HOW MANY THINGS one single device can do.

I've had the Galaxy Note for a few months now and have not looked back once.  Even though ICS has been available for a good month or more (for us American users), I finally just downloaded it tonight.  My procrastination wasn't from lack of excitement for the update, but more due to the fact that it required me to hook the phone up to my computer with a physical cable, a task that seemed equivalent to walking up forty flights of stairs in a world where almost every piece of tech I own is wireless.  I'm sure that says something about what technology has done to us, though I'm not sure it's good.  Now I just have to cross that off my to-do list, except I'm not sure which to-do list I wrote it on, as those are either on the phone itself or somewhere among (yep, you guessed it!) one of my piles (IRONY IMITATES LIFE).

As much as I tend to geek out about it, the phone is not perfect.  The S-Pen is not as precise as Samsung would have you believe when it comes to drawing.  However, I have been able to doodle in ways I haven't before, especially on the fly or when waiting in line, someplace I'd normally never have access to the tools for that kind of creative outlet.  I've also had the courage to sketch out ideas for the cover of my book on the phone, and I'll be the first to admit my drawing skills are completely and utterly inadequate.  Ok, I suck at drawing.  

Random Phone Doodle

The pen works quite well when it comes to recognizing your handwriting, and even seems to pick up cursive better than longhand at times.  I left my stylus (sorry, Samsung) I mean, my S-Pen at home the other day and had to thumb-type out a text message.  Felt like I was back in the stone-age.  When you think about how much faster most people can type as opposed to write with their hand, the S-Pen might seem like a step backwards.  However, when compared to pecking at letters on a screen with one or two digits, it's much quicker.  And much smoother than writing on an actual sheet of paper.  So while I'm impressed with it's abilities as a phone, texting device, e-reader, etc., I think we'll see other more efficient methods of input as technology advances.  And I'm not sure voice recognition is the best answer either (unless it does eventually go sub-vocal).

Anyway, this was not intended to be a review of a phone.  Rather, I wanted to use the Galaxy Note as one of the prime examples of how one piece of technology can perform a vast array of tasks for a modest cost.  Those truly hardcore about digital drawing will find better alternatives out there, though at a much higher entry fee.  And I could never use the Note to write an article as long as this.  But like I said earlier, the device streamlines the various activities that I do in a day into one single place that is with me all the time.  Since technology is such a part of my life, I figure I might as well make it work for me as much as I can.

And hopefully one day I'll find a phone that will zap all of my piles into microcosmic dust and I won't have to worry about getting organized.

*   *   *  

I don't claim to be an expert on technology, though I am a voracious consumer of it.  So I would welcome your thoughts and ideas on the subject.  Where do you see technology headed?  Are there any pieces of tech you're excited to see?  Anything out right now that you geek out about or that helps your life?  Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

  1. I'm addicted to my iPhone. Simply because it's small and full of apps, like Twitter, Kindle reader, Wordpress, Facebook, Awesome Note, Skype, and so on. And it allows me to always be within reach of a good thing to do while there's no good thing to do, like reading books while I wait in line, or tweeting while I ride the bus.

    I don't draw on my iPhone (the occasional cartoons on my blog are made entirely on my PC) and I certainly don't write on it longhand. I carry a physical notebook with me at all times for larger notes, and I type much faster than I write (even if I use only my index finger).

    What I'm trying to say is that I don't specifically need the phone to organize things since I'm kinda well organized as it is, but to take stuff with me anywhere I go and to have quick access to books & the internet. That's the most awesome thing technology does for me. Until they finally invent microchips we can implant into our brains, that is. ;)

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