I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Technology day dreams

I played around with an iPod touch a few weeks ago. It was an unsatisfying experience. I navigated to a few of my favorite webpages, or tried to, and was constantly thwarted by my inability to hit the letters I wanted on the tiny onscreen keyboard, even in landscape mode.

I feel as if most of the fanciest, flashiest technology these days is being targeted toward 10 year old girls, based on the size of keyboards. I'm a fairly large individual. Even my pinky overlapped more than one key at a time on the iPod. And, I'm an aging individual. I wear bifocals, and even with them, it's a strain to work on the tiny screens of cellphones.

On the other hand, cellphones today have all the power they need to be a perfect computer for me. My desktop computer is 9 years old, with 128megs of ram and a 40 gig hard drive. Today's cellphones are pretty similar in power. In theory, they should be able to run a word processor the equivalent of Word 97 just fine. Yet, all my tiny device searches have, to date, left me yearning.

What I really want is a cellphone laptop I can carry around in my pocket. Something a bit larger than the current average cellphone, so it could have a bigger screen and a bigger keyboard. But, when I get home, I could set the cellphone onto a charger on my desk and have it wirelessly link to a full size keyboard and a full size computer monitor, plus my laser printer. It would hook to my wireless network for internet. But, when it was time to leave the house, it would still fit neatly into a pocket.

I've never lost a cell phone, but I have managed to leave my house without it by mistake once or twice. So, how's this for an invention? A little vibrator in my watch that would trigger for about five seconds anytime I walked more than 100 feet away from my cell phone. So, if I was in a hurry to leave the house in the morning, and forgot my phone, I'd get a little buzz reminder as I reached my car. Or, where I work, there are a couple of cell phones left behind by customers each week. A little watch buzzer, or maybe something on a key chain, could prevent these leave-behinds.

Just a few random tech dreams on a lazy Sunday morning....


Mr. Cavin said...

One: you know you can enlarge the interface on an iPhone (or -Touch), right? It's the only thing that makes it tolerable.

Two: good ideas. Sadly, as far as I can tell, the trend is moving in the opposite direction. What else would inspire Apple to manufacture a gizmo with the worst of both worlds: too big and disconnected to be used as a telephone, but too small for a really good keyboard. All the smarts of a forty gig (solid state!) hard drive, but limited to telephone-style 3G internet and bubbleheaded Mac apps instead of full browsers and real, useful programs. It's like they can make smart, sizable computers now, but they're trying very hard to do the opposite.

Three: your watch buzzer idea is awesome. You should get rich making it. It should also come with a beep mechanism one can stick right on the phone and ping whenever one suspects the handset is within earshot but still can't be found.

Today's word verification: misses

James Maxey said...

I had a word verification the other day of "retarr." I worried I would have to apologize to Sarah Palin if I typed it wrong.

I know you can make the webpages bigger on the I-phone/pod, but I don't know if you can make the keyboard bigger. Nor do I know if you can use a bluetooth keyboard with it (though you can with a Palm).

The I-pad definitely underwhelmed me from what I've seen of it. I've seen the tablet configuration hyped as the new wave of computing since, oh, 1995. Apple has already been down this path once... anyone rember the Newton? Of course, I never thought the iPod would take off the way it did, so who am I to judge?

I should get rich from my watch buzzer idea. If only I had the brains, drive, education, etc, to make it real...