Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Differences between Email and Post offices

There are a few differences between email and post offices, some more obvious than others. For example, the delivery of email is near instantaneous while physical mail via the post office can take days or longer depending on how far the destination is. Another difference is you don’t need to buy stamps in order to send email. You’re also limited to sending digital items via email, while you’re limited to physical goods (which may also contain digital in them like USBs) through post offices. Also, the manpower required to run a post office may surpass the manpower required to maintain the servers and routers involved in the email system. That said, emails can be sent anytime while post offices will open and close at certain times of the day.  

Furthermore, there is an assumption that post offices are for older people. Probably by association with technology being difficult for older people to adopt. During my most recent visit to the post office, I found this assumption to be somewhat true.

I had been away from the house when the UPS came by my house with a package that required my signature. Thus, I was required to go to the post office to retrieve my package. Once I had arrived, I took my place in line. Not everyone in line was old, but some were, and the oldest gentleman made his presence the most felt. In response to the speed of the line, I could hear him behind me exclaim “What’s taking so long? Don’t these people have jobs?” Although I would like to think he was referring to the post office workers, he seemed to be facing everyone else, so perhaps not.

Of course there are also similarities which exist between email and post offices. Just like how mail must go through multiple post offices before it reaches its destination, email must go through multiple points before reaching its destination. Also, Post office mail and Email usually requires knowledge of written language during some part of the delivery, reception, or reading of the mail. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thoughts on Erik Hanberg's lecture

Erik Hanberg covered many though-provoking topics during his lecture to the class on 10/9/17. 

For example, Erik Hanberg discussed at length the appeal and methods of generating passive income. Although now admitting the idea to be dangerously attractive for younger individuals, this mindset helped motivate Hanberg to leave his position at the Horatio to start a new business where he would have limited involvement. I had actually contemplated and read articles about passive income as an option in the near future. What most intrigued me were owning property and, coincidentally, writing books. It was discouraging, but also expected when he explained the unlikelihood of books to produce even moderate financial success. While it would be nice if anyone who wanted to could be a successful writer that is sadly not how reality works. That said, I was impressed when Hanberg explained how his sci-fi were seeing moderate success. As a fan of the genre, I may pick one up a copy one day.

Another interesting topic presented by Hanberg was the idea of the gold rush as an analogy for innovation. The first ten to find gold/take advantage of a new idea, become very wealthy, and those that follow after them experience relatively lower levels of success. I used to be excited about thinking of “new ideas”. Success stories of famous inventors encourages such thought. As I have come to learn, however, there are many people formulating “new ideas” all the time. Thankfully, the web and internet has helped prevent me from wasting a lot of time that I could have potentially spent pursuing old ideas. People’s ideas will be on websites, forums, and other mediums of exchange that can be accessed in very little time, so in progress, failed, and successful inventions are easily discovered in this way.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What I expect...

Today, technology is an integral part of daily life for many, but everyone knows it was not always so. By the end of this class, I expect to walk away with a greater understanding of the history of the internet, web, computer, and how they came to together to create what we call the Information Age/Digital Age. For example, who were their fathers, what obstacles existed, and how did society respond?

I also expect to hear of predictions regarding the progress of technology. Progress has been said to be incredibly fast, so just how outlandish can estimations appear today but are in fact possible within our lifetimes? Flying cars, residence on other planets, holographic interfaces, true virtual reality—better computers could be the answer to making the typical science fiction items nonfiction.

Other topics I hope we’ll touch on in class include human augmentation, and artificial intelligence. Regarding these issues, ethics are a major concern in their possible implementation. Despite these obstacles, I am curious as to how likely or how soon these elements may come into society and in what form. A future of androids walking among normal people, and individuals overcoming the limits of human potential are exciting (if not a little frightening) possibilities.

I understand not answer all of my questions, nor will answers about possible futures be perfectly accurate. As someone who has been born during the rise of computer technology, however, I think it’s important to possess a broader understanding of the things that we rely on every day, and how to appreciate the progress that has been made and will continue to be made in technology to further enhance the quality of life for society.