Apology to the participants in my last Newbie 4357

I accidentally deleted the last episode of the Newbie 4357 show on Operator 11 – crap!! I apologize to the people who participated in it – I was trying to delete the episode that had the sound problems.  Not a good night for Op11 directing!!

Please come and visit next week and we’ll have another great show – Fridays at 6:30pm.

What do all the Doodads Do?

Depending on how much your loved ones spent on you this Christmas, chances are you have a new electronic thingamajig that does some nifty trick.  I want to take a moment to ponder doodads – why are they so much fun, can/should one doodad do everything, and are we getting too dependent?

 First, a Gizmo Review:

Cellphone – be reachable by phone again; as well as receive text messages, oh yeah, and it’s a camera too, because your cellphone, unlike your digital camera, will automatically adhere to whatever you take with you all the time 

mp3/mp4 player – the Apple iPod or the Creative Zen, welcome to gigs of storage for music, photos, movies, and stuff, this is an entertainment center – think solitaire on steroids

flash drive – use this as backup for your computer or as an extra drive, and then take your files with you to another computer

Bluetooth – this headset syncs up compatible devices when it comes within range, so whichever computer you’re at knows who you are

 PDAs – no longer public displays of affection, this acronym has been co-opted for personal digital assistant – Blackberry, Treo, Palm Pilot are a few – send your e-mail, access the internet and combine functions of the above devices in one handy device

The funny thing about these doodads is that once you start using them, you start to wonder how you ever functioned without them.  So that brings up my next question – are we Inspector Gadget, with the preparedness of the Boy Scout saving the day with our gear – or are we the Borg, giving up autonomy for the sake of being in sync through our implants?  I would say it depends on why we use these devices.  I don’t worry about my work reaching me on my cellphone because I’m not on call when I’m not at work.  My boss however is on call, and he groans about having to answer e-mail on his handheld device when he’s out of the office.  I don’t like competing with someone’s iPod if I’m trying to speak to him/her, but then again I do like walking to work to a beat.  Then there’s the question of whether these doodads are user-friendly.  I’ve heard plenty of people complain about texting because of the pain of getting the right letters.  I tried Bluetooth and had to return it to the store because I didn’t get the whole press and hold the button thing.  I can see why you’d want to access your e-mail all of the time, but then do you really want to be accessible by e-mail all the time?

The whole tricorder-aspect of the portable device appeals to me.  I like the idea of having flexibility about how I communicate.  And as the flight attendants so wisely tell us, their switches do have an “off” position.

Is the Graphic Designer a Geek?

How geeky is a graphic designer?  Can’t code, probably doesn’t know half the acronyms your first year newbie does, and uses a lot of ‘short-cuts’ to generating web pages – Photoshop and Dreamweaver, to name the most likely tools in the toolbox.

Some would say a graphic designer does the ‘soft core’ web development – asks questions like how exactly should that image be placed in relation to the text, how can we achieve drop-shadow, or which font is most effective in which circumstance.  The fundamental question behind graphic design is does form follow function – is the purpose of the website being conveyed clearly by its visual elements?  As long as this is the question a graphic designer is asking, then yes it is a useful and vital task in web development.

So is a graphic designer a geek?  I would say a thorough to the point of obsessive competence in anything, especially something computer related, makes one a geek in that area.  Sure a graphic designer can be a geek – a very specific type of geek, whose expertise has great relevance to the work of the ‘hard core’ back-end coding geeks.