Invisible Technology

Over the years, I’ve had a fair amount of what some might call gadgets…things that I purchased to help make my life easier. Here at the house, I have what my wife calls "the drawer where devices go to die." There are a fair amount of things in there…my Vadem Clio. An old Newton 110. Several pocketpc devices. Two iPods. One iRiver Clix. Each were purchased and used because I believed they would make me smarter, more efficient, more entertained, and all ended up in the drawer because in the end they got in the way as much as they helped, or in other words, they were visible to me.

Over the years, I’ve run a bunch of miles. And as you might expect, technology has been a big part of many of those runs. Starting from a simple watch and no music, to a variety of watches and GPS systems and music devices. For runners, music can be a bit binary – you either run with music or you don’t. I’ve been binary too – for a long time I nearly always ran with music, for years an iPod in a bright blue case, up until the point I twisted my ankle and dropped the thing hard on concrete and it no longer functioned. Then I moved to Rhapsody, so I could experience new music via subscription, thus the iRiver Clix, which had some pretty grim issues with DRM and had to be reflashed all the time. Then by accident I discovered that my Rhapsody account worked with my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone. I picked up a pair of bluetooth headphones, and was in heaven – one device that I always had with me now played music…it wasn’t invisible, but it was pretty close.

Alas, technology moved on, and while I loved my (several) 6.5 phones, they didn’t do Rhapsody. I love my Zune, but it’s (mostly) in the car, and has no bluetooth. So for the past year or so, I’ve run sans music, mostly.

The other morning I got up before the sun, sighed, pulled on my running gear and headed out. I’ve learned that I need to have as few things as possible between me and my morning workout – at that hour, pretty much anything can hang me up and keep me at home. that’s why I like running – a minimal amount of gear, no dues, no place to go, no carbon to spend, shoes, shorts shoes, road. On a whim, I grabbed my Windows Phone 7 and my old bluetooth headset, because I’ve been grooving to the new Arcade Fire and wanted more.

For the moment, technology was invisible. The headset paired, the music was on the phone and I was on the road. At the midway point I took a picture of the sunrise and posted to facebook, then started the run back home.

For that morning, the technology I use was invisible. And thus, hugely useful and fun. More, please. Smile

2 Responses to “Invisible Technology”

  1. Isaac Says:

    _”that’s why I like running – a minimal amount of gear, no dues, no place to go, no carbon to spend, shoes, shorts shoes, road”_

    That’s why I like running, too.

    And even though I like transparent technology (it’s never invisible), I really find myself happiest with no wires or circuits. Just shoes and road.

  2. Steve Says:

    Ah, the Vadem Clio. The device that liberated me from carpal tunnel and taught me legible handwriting and how to organize my thoughts via outline mode. I haven’t thought of that device in a decade. Thanks!

    Yes, but ultimately, it was very visible. At industry specific conferences I could not take notes in handwriting recognition mode because of a limited onboard dictionary. Too much correcting and frankly, useless if i waited until I got home to edit. If I captured notes in picture mode, it was difficult to get it into a file format I could email to others. I had to do a screen capture on my workstation and email a BMP file to get good viewing resolution. But this was in the day of <0.5 MB email limits.

    It was a visionary device, with no follow up. After the frustration of multiple Palm PDAs that synced poorly and had a so so handwriting mode, an iPod Nano, also for running, was also my first invisible device.

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