Tag Archives: technology

The Bulbul’s message

We are at my mom’s, enjoying our summer vacation. We have just had a sumptuous lunch. The children and their cousins are playing a board game in one of the bedrooms.

All the adults are seated or stretched out in the living room, as the day curtains billow in the cool breeze. Each time the curtains billow, one can see the green leaves of the trees outside, glistening in the bright, afternoon sun.

Most of us are trying not to sleep after that heavy lunch. We chat on and off, the pauses and silences are comfortable ones – those that belong to family, to love and to familiarity.

A sudden sweet bird song cuts through this family web.  There is a pause, and the bird song plays again.

My sister says, ” Someone’s got a message.”

Hands and bodies reach out to their phones, like the arms of an octopus.

Most people in the room say that the ring tone is not theirs. The bird sound continues.

We quickly discover that there is a ‘real’ Bulbul bird sitting on our balcony, singing away merrily. We gently move the curtains to watch this beautiful bird.
             

                   Picture courtesy – Wikipedia

How musical it sounds! How could we even mistake it for a ringtone?

We laugh uneasily. The Bulbul gave us an important message today. 

Maybe we should take more time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, those that are not in any way connected to technology or smartphones.

e-Stranged!

The phone alarm rings. One of those mechanical sounds that are meant to goad you into action. I turn lazily, and open my eyes gradually to adjust to the bright light of day.

The first thing I do is check my phone for messages, emails and the other notifications that I have enabled.

I wake up with a jolt. There are no red circled numbers near my message or Whatsapp icons, not even near the email icon.

Something must be wrong, I check the WiFi icon, the curved tree is in full bloom. Then why have I not got any messages? I am almost tempted to shake my phone, but reboot instead.  Even after the phone comes alive again, there are no messages.  Nothing has changed!

      Courtesy – http://www.dreamstime.com

I ask my husband to send me a test message. It arrives immediately. I am still suspicious, how could I have not received even a single message or email? That’s like a ‘first’.

The statistical probability  of this event baffles me..! I check the Internet, everything is ok.

I accept. I give in. The impossible has happened. It is possible…I smile, I go on with my day.  But believe me I feel strange!

Have you had any such experiences? Would love to know.

Slow on the uptake

I am out for lunch with my friends. We are a noisy bunch, as we tuck-in to yummy food and girly gossip.

Just before we say our byes, one of my friends and I visit the powder room. I wash my hands and look for paper towels. Can’t find any; but there is a dryer. So I place my palms under the dryer, waiting for warm air to gush out.

Hmmm…no warm air. Upon closer inspection, through the translucent glass of the so-called dryer, I see a roll of paper towels.

“Ah! A paper towel dispenser”, I say.

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       Courtesy -www.shutterstock.com

My friend then tells me that it is sensor-operated, and that she had tried waving her hands before the sensor to activate it, but in vain.

There is a symbol that shows a palm, and below it is a small button. I press the button, and one paper towel comes out.

We laugh.

Then we discuss why the sensor doesn’t seem to be working. My friend shows me how she waved her palms at the machine. I wave my palms frantically.

We laugh and proceed to take our bags. There is a gentle whirring sound. We turn around to find that the machine has sensed all those waving palms, albeit slowly.

The machine is spewing out paper towels, one after the other, almost like a saree. We are in sudden shock.

We are close to the machine, and afraid that it will start spewing more if it senses our movement.

Like a pair of guilty children,  we back out with minimum movement.

We come out, catch each others’ eye and burst into fits of laughter.

Data vision

I am stretched out on the recliner and want to listen to some music. I connect my phone through the bluetooth to my sound bar.  Soon, melodious music surrounds me.

I can feel it, every fine nuance. I start thinking about the quality of speakers we have these days, and wireless technology. 

A strange thought strikes me. What if I could actually see the data travelling in space to the speaker. What would it look like.

I laugh aloud, because if we had ‘data vision’, we would probably be shocked by the zillions of zeros and ones, bits and bytes swamping us.

image

    Courtesy – http://www.dailygenius.com

Since all messages and texts and music get to where they should, maybe the scene would look organized rather than  chaotic.

What if we could see this data, and just stood and shook all these bits and bytes. What would happen to them?

Music or photos, jokes or videos – they are but millions of tiny fellows marching towards a particular destination, with a clear focus and purpose.

These data bits have to be wonderful team players, since they have to reach their destination together, sometimes in a nice sequence.

I switch back to reality. The music envelopes me again. Hidden bits and bytes working their own special magic.

My Social Skill Set

Whether I like it or not, social media has become an integral part of who I am. In addition to all the ID cards I have, I now take great effort to maintain my online ‘social identity’.  Maintaining a social connect is not as easy as it seems. It calls for a skill set that would put top-notch resumes to shame!

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Picture courtesy – http://www.dailygenius.com

So what are the skills?

It calls for a certain type of skill to read, like and comment on forwards and articles. It calls for a strong memory to remember which jokes have already been received and which jokes are to be forwarded, and to whom?

It calls for round-the-clock alertness. It calls for enormous amounts of self-control to stop refreshing messages. It calls for a calm mind to stop reacting each time you hear a ping.

It calls for the ability to take quizzes about your personality, your IQ and your vision. It tests your skills as a farmer, as a ninja, as a catapult expert, as a word builder, as a selfie-taker, and many more.

Social network forwards play on your emotions. You suddenly find yourself reading about missing children, and raising money for surgeries. How do you verify the authenticity of these posts?

While you worry about these little kids, there is one article that claims coffee can burn all your fat. As you scroll down in happiness sipping your coffee, you read another article which says coffee will make you put on weight. Phew!

Some articles make you guilty, some make you laugh. You read about the holidays people are taking, the movies people are watching, and add your own to this space.

Even if you go on a social media detox program, it will lure you back – back into a world where everything is virtually real.

‘Writing’ – Lessons from Mom

As I write another blog, and press publish, a small frisson of happiness washes over me.

Each word has fit-in snugly with the others, in perfect sentences, conveying what I want to say to my readers.

I wonder at the ease of it all. Once the thought process is in place, and the words have been structured, it is just one click to reach out to blogosphere, where people who share similar interests can search and read what I’ve written. 

Instant feedback, instant gratification.

Every ‘like’ causes a positive spark of energy in me, egging me on to write more.

Such are the huge benefits that the Internet, and technology have given us.

This is in sharp contrast to those days when all this was not available.

Recently, I was talking to my mom about my blog. She took a while to understand how it worked, and then her eyes lit up; lit up with the joy that only a writer knows.

She said, “Within minutes of publishing your blog, your readers respond? Amazing!”

She then recounted how she used to write articles in a yellow notepad – about social issues, women’s empowerment, short stories etc., and then read them herself, sometimes sharing them with my Dad.

To get them published, she had to write them out on white sheets and send them by post with a self-addressed envelope; and then wait for close to six months to know if her article had got published.

She added, “I was used to the long waits, mostly disappointing ones, but the real happiness came after I wrote every article – after a busy day in a joint family. And as I wrote, the day’s tensions drained away from me, through the pen, into words and stories that breathed new energy back into me.”

Yes, this is what writing should mean. The writer should enjoy both the process of writing and the journey.

Letter’s on Auto Loop

Back in the day, when fax machines were used extensively by corporates, a funny incident happened at my workplace. I remembered this earlier today, when I heard a ringtone that sounded like a fax machine’s answering tone.

In those days my job involved a lot of communication with customers and, consequently, I had to send out numerous faxes.

Since many departments shared a fax machine, we had a runner, who would collect the documents from various units and then fax them to the respective numbers.

Our old runner had taken up a new job elsewhere, and we had a new runner, who was still learning the ropes.

He was an enthusiastic young lad with a sparkle in his eye and smile on his face.

It was a ‘business as usual’ kind of day at work, probably a day or two since the new runner had joined work. I called him to send off a fax. The process we usually followed was that once the fax was sent, the runner would come back with the document and confirmation slip, which would then be filed.

He was gone for a long time, but I had a lot of work to complete so couldn’t go and see what was taking him so long.

Just a few minutes later, I received a call from the customer to whom the fax was sent.

She was frantic and said, “I have received 20 copies of the same document. Looks like your fax machine is on auto loop or something. Can you check please?”

I ran to the communications room to find the runner still by the fax machine.

I asked him if there was a problem with the machine.

He looked puzzled and said, “I have been trying to send the letter, but it keeps coming out on the other side, I’ve tried more than 20 times.”

I burst out laughing. When I asked him, he said he was using a fax machine for the first time, and another runner had told him how to feed the document into the machine, but had not told him that the document would come out at the other end after being scanned and sent.

I explained the working to him and we shared a good laugh.