Sunday, April 19, 2009

Persistence of Memory

Lately I have been going through some old videotapes that go back (so
far) as early as 2001 and while it was amusing to see French gasoline
prices displayed in Francs (FF), I am not sure that even after I burn
them to DVD when or if I will be watching them, even if only to edit
out 99% of the junk to get to the five minutes of interesting footage.
I have to wonder if the ability to record so much of your life has a
downside in that there is little time to watch events from your own
past as it competes with the opportunity to be watching of everyone

WIRED has a story this month about how the newer the gadget the less
'magical' it seems. They use the example of personal video cameras –
what once was large, expensive and magical (I'm on TV!) is now a
camcorder small enough to fit in an Altoids® tin and costs just a
couple hundred dollars. The irony would make Yogi Berra proud, they
have become so cheap and ubiquitous that I can't recall the last time
I saw one being used by anyone. The last one I know I saw was being
used by some kids trying to perfect a skateboard trick at the local
bank parking lot. I am not going to count the PBS crew of two at work
filming the lab or the team at the train station, complete with dual
playback monitors and a cart of audio gear.

Perhaps Facebook and Twitter have made the publishing of every mundane
though or action so easy and common that nothing is becoming of
interest any more. Are we already seeing a pullback from the online
life? Is there some upper limit to the number of tweets we can follow
before it all becomes just noise? If AT&T and Apple really are
planning iPhone data plans that don't cost $70/ month will we see more
blogging or is this the last gasp of a business model trying to stay


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