David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan said: “Einstein didn’t invent the theory of relativity while he was multi tasking at the Swiss patent office.” It came after, when he really had time to focus and study.
Apparently, ballpoint pens don’t work in space because of the lack of gravity. It is said that NASA, troubled by this realization, spent many millions of dollars designing a ‘space pen’ that could function in the absence of gravity. The Russians used a pencil.
Whether or not this story is true, it raises interesting questions about how technology is used in modern society. Are we, like NASA, complicating life and wasting money on superfluous technology?
To what extent could we, like the Russians, find much ‘simpler’ solutions to the problems we face?
What role should technology play in living the simple life? In the 21st century, are there times when our lives could be improved by using less technology, not more? Or by using technology smarter?
My love/hate with technology is around communications. I love my computer/internet connection and have acquiesced to having a mobile phone, but the trick is not feeling like you have to be available 24 hours a day to people. They’re just tools, not the master you’re enslaved to.
To be sure, there is no ‘rule’ to follow, as such, that can tell us when technology is appropriate and when it is not. There is much, much more to say on the question of technology in future posts. But for now I will close this post with following comment:
The simple life is not just beautiful, it’s necessary. Technology can play an integral role to simplify our lives.
Life is about choices. Making the choice to live life in a simpler way is something that is becoming a necessity.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
…IT job security is often dependent on making things hard, slow, and complex. If the Exchange Server didn’t require two people to babysit it at all times, that would mean two friends out of work. Of course using hosted Gmail is a bad idea! It’s the same forces and mechanics that slowly turned unions from a force of progress (proper working conditions for all!) to a force of stagnation (only Jack can move the conference chairs, Joe is the only guy who can fix the microphone).
A changing landscape
The cloud does not threaten IT jobs, nor does it reduce the importance of IT departments. If anything, the short-term trend is an increase in importance as users realize that they need the help of IT to manage the complex server and application environments that are being created ad-hoc in their rush to move to the cloud.
As with most new technologies, cloud computing won’t promote a destruction of IT jobs, but rather a change in their nature. Just as developers have to adopt new mindsets to develop cloud-based applications and services, DBAs will have to adapt to cloud-based and big data oriented systems, and system administrators will move from the low-level infrastructure issues (which will be more and more the exclusive province of large providers) to managing complex environments, spanning multiple applications, cloud providers, virtual and physical servers, and even merging the internal data center with the public cloud.