Thinking Out Loud

December 29, 2014

Thinking Out Loud About the Internet

Filed under: technology — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:21 am


When I first started doing this back in 2008, I found it frustrating how supposedly faith focused writers would regularly report on the technology itself that allowed them to blog. Every new device, personal organizer or photo processing program was fair game.

Here, I tended to proudly avoid reference to tech. We were all about the Bible, Church and Jesus. Yeah, us! We’re so spiritual. But today I want to give space to what is always an underlying thesis of mine, namely that for all it has done to revolutionize the culture, we are still living in the infancy days of the technology; what we are experiencing is similar to turning a crank to start a car. While increasingly regulation is taking over, these are still the wild-wild-west days of the internet in terms of sophistication, our time-saving devices and programs still cause us more frustration than performing according to expectations.

In particular,

Search – While a massive empire has been built by one company which rhymes with poogle and other companies of its ilk, search results are still not at all intuitive. Refining within searches is difficult, and many links go to dormant or outdated sites. I believe we’re on the cusp of someone coming up with an entirely new search algorithm. The status quo simply won’t do.

Hardware – In an era where we trash printers rather than fix them, it’s hard for anyone to take the hardware industry seriously. Actually, a book about the printer industry would make a far more interesting read than the computer industry in general, since printer obsolescence is a microcosm of the industry as a whole.

Compatibility – We live at a time which makes the VHS/Beta situation look like a minor tension by comparison. While we were promised all manner of backward and forward compatibility, we usually end up wringing our hands over programs that simply don’t work with other programs.

Security – If nothing else, the events of the last year have left people feeling that their personal data, financial information, and even family pictures are simply not safe.

Intelligence – When computers think for themselves, it is often counter-productive. Users spend more hours trying to turn off features that some programmer thought were helpful. Anyone who has tried to format a document where a line begins with a lower case letter, or anyone who suffered through auto-correct knows that computers are more often hindering than helping.

So in broad terms, what frustrates you about the state of the technology we find ourselves using?



  1. I frequently refer to autocorrect as auto-incorrect, but we’re shooting fish in a barrel. Entire websites exist of nothing but autocorrect failures.

    Of all the things on your list it’s the intelligence that gets my blood boiling. At my last job there were days I missed the old days when copy machines just made copies. I want to say the copier in the teacher workroom was made by Cannon-Minolta. Sometimes the decisions it made to change paper size or rotate the orientation made me wish I could turn off it’s “brain.”

    Comment by Clark Bunch — December 30, 2014 @ 9:37 am

    • Copiers. Ugh! I think the ‘brain on / brain off’ switch would catch on. Switch it over to ‘dumb’ mode.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — December 30, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

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