Our addiction to technology

Our addiction to technology

And the question is, can we fix it? In the industry there is a person called Erika Atold, now in reality Erika doesn't exist, the person that is called Erika is a composite drawn from correlated data from interviews, Erika is the mean average of all of that data. The information says Erika is a 32-year-old mother, she's a legal secretary who works in Seattle and she embraced the Internet revolution compulsively, she owns seven digital devices, she is a desktop, a laptop, two tablets, two phones and a watch. She spends on average 140 hours a week online, she toggles obsessively between Skype, FaceTime and checking her 200 daily e-mails, she also does about 30,000 texts per month, on all the devices she has 920 downloaded apps and 100 bookmarked websites. The last thing about Erika we know is that in 2015 she overdosed on technology and almost had a nervous breakdown.

Most people who reported similar currents is to Erika said that at the end they were disorientated and detached from the real world and that they lost any sense of what was truly important in their life, it was just crazy, sick and very sad. Now Erika's story is at the extreme end of the spectrum but it is hardly unusual in the United States today, indeed we are a nation of digiholics and the sad part is that the chaos and confusion that is now permeating our lives thanks to out technology addiction is not only debilitating and disrupting to our professional lives it is now starting to destroy our personal well-being.

It was staggering to the researchers to find that the average adult under the age of 45 has four digital devices as a minimum and they spend 90% more time consuming digital media on their current smart phone than they did two years ago. The researchers said there are signs of crisis nearly everywhere, did you know that nearly 60% of computer users check e-mail in the bathroom, 15% of people have read their e-mails in church and 85% say they wouldn't go on vacation if they could take their laptop. Each person checks an average of 40 websites every day and we opened 85% of work e-mails within 2 min. on top of that we switch programs nearly 37 times an hour on average.

We are definitely, according to the researchers, interacting with technology in unhealthy ways, they say there is evidence that the frantic digital overload is destabilizing our lives, it is adversely affecting our decision-making, innovation and productivity in the workplace. One study conducted by Microsoft track the e-mail habits of its staff. They found for example that once a person's work had been interrupted by an e-mail notification that worker generally took on average 24 min. to get back to the original task they were doing when the e-mail arrived. There is another study at their which was conducted by the Harvard business school that actually said ringing phones and e-mail alerts lowers a workers IQ by 10 points.

Curb prosthetic-leg cheating

Curb prosthetic-leg cheating

It is doubtful there's a single person on the planet who's never heard of Oscar Pistorius, but most of them would have only heard of him for him being tried for murder. Long before that he took court action for the right to run alongside nondisabled athletes at the Olympic Games. His name that is generally used by the media is the Blade Runner, he has that name because he has no lower legs, he wears prosthetic blades but now a lot of scientists are starting to say that the wearing of such technologically advanced equipment is going to make it almost impossible for an athlete not wearing such devices to keep up, it hasn't happened yet but they are saying it is inevitable.

Surprisingly Oscar Pistorius was a sprinter and even though he competed successfully at the Olympics he failed to medal which is currently where most of the technology is at. The scientists expect and are already seeing that this kind of technology will mostly be used in distance or endurance events because simply put having even half a leg that can never get tired or sore or injured is a massive advantage so if you like Oscar Pistorius and had two of them then your advantage is doubled. It has come as a huge surprise to a lot of disabled athletes using these types of devices that the engineers who actually design them are the first group of people who are suggesting that some new guidelines be set up to keep prosthetic leg users in particular honest.

Bruce Dyer heads up research at Bournemouth University's design and engineering department, he is a prize-winning prosthetics designer and has been running a study to determine a way to analyze the use of lower limb running prosthesis in competitions for disabled athletes. He knew it would be easy but said “it's an almost impossible problem to deal with, but we can't ignore it either”, because the field of prosthetics is advancing incredibly fast as each new technology arrives, he said it's very difficult just to quantify what is even available let alone regulated it. It has only been about 25 years since prosthetic design has evolved to be anything more than comfortable for the wearer.

To start his study Dyer looked at the performance data from the men's 100 m sprint event at the Paralympic games between 1976 and 2012, he used this data as a way of establishing how far prosthetic technology had come in that time. When comparing the data available it actually shows there have been consistent improvements in performance across that timeline. The next phase of the research involved trying to come up with a consensus on how prosthetics should be used by disabled runners. To do that he recruited an expert panel that included people who are designing, fitting and servicing the equipment athletes are using, they were even just spectators on this panel but there were also members of the governing bodies, academics and of course some disabled athletes themselves, the first question they were asked was what they actually thought about prosthetics in competition. The end result of all of this study was that the guidelines would have to allow the athlete to have what they called restored functionality instead of enhanced functionality.

Seniors are making strides

Seniors are making strides

A few years ago grandparents would reluctantly agree to try Facebook because that was what the grandkids wanted them to do, nowadays it's all changed, the same grandparents want to know all about the latest tablet and smart phone technology and they are taking more more classes to learn all about more advanced technology. If you ask most teachers at specialized computer learning centers they will probably tell you that 10 years ago they maybe had one senior in the class but today you're the half the class are retired from the workforce. Most of these students are way past the computer basics classes they took 10 years ago, the biggest problem the education institutes have is that they have not progressed with these people, they still offer that same computer basics class and not much more for this age group.

The biggest problem for the educational institutions is that this group of people are pretty determined and they have serious spending power so if the local learning Center doesn't provide them with what they want they tend to go out and organize their own classes usually in a facility that they attend regularly anyway, like a senior citizen center, and then they get taught what they want to learn. This group, that were virtually tech illiterates 10 years ago are now mostly highly advanced, all considered to be highly advanced by most teachers. Currently most of the seniors in the United States are taking either beginner or advanced classes in Windows 10. What they seem to want to learn is whether they should upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10.

Unlike a few years ago when these people didn't know what was going on they now know their own computer backwards and before they do upgrade they want to know exactly what the benefits and what the downsides are and then they will make what is a very well informed decision, not before. This group is also believed to be the biggest uptaker of the software designed to prevent Microsoft from automatically upgrading their current operating system to the new Windows 10.

They are also very tech savvy when it comes to smartphones with most of them having a very modern and fully updated iPhone or Samsung galaxy, they are extremely tech savvy at using these devices, in most cases more than the teenagers these phones were designed for. There is a reported case of an 82-year-old woman who went into a phone store in Philadelphia and was advised by the assistant to buy a certain phone, she stunned the assistant by saying that phones camera has a too slow shutter speed for what I want, from the report the assistant understood what she was saying but had no idea themselves what the actual shutter speed of the phones camera was. It probably did achieve one thing, no one in that shop will ever treat a senior with contempt again, plus of course she had a wad of cash to buy any phone she wanted which is always a help.

Smartphones are boring, so what happens now

Smartphones are boring, so what happens now

Probably the smart phone that's available right now that is a glimpse into the future is the LG G6, this phone has a number of new tricks:

The LG G6 packs a 5.7" display in an attractive sleek phone that comfortably fits in one hand. Unlike other phones with a similar screen size, the large 5.7” display fits in your hand, giving you a big screen experience without the inconvenience of a big phone.

The LG G6 is sculpted from aluminum and glass and is available in platinum and black. The 18:9 FullVision display with rounded corners and narrow bezels conclude the harmonious design.

The LG G6's FullVision display puts more screen in your phone for all your browsing, viewing, and gaming needs.

The LG G6 lets you capture life's most memorable moments like never before. Enhancements in image quality and performance make taking expansive panoramas, group shots and selfies easier than ever.

Wide Angle Front Camera

The LG G6 makes taking great selfies effortless with an enhanced front camera that automatically snaps a picture when a face is in frame—no buttons required.

Capture life's breathtaking views with Dual 13MP rear cameras. The 125° wide-angle lens allows you to capture photos and videos with a wider perspective - for more friends or more inclusive scenic shots.

Take the LG G6 with you just about anywhere. With an IP68 rating, it's sealed against dust and water resistant up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

The LG G6 has the Google Assistant built in

These days it seems there is almost a new phone launch every few weeks and to be ruthless most of them are about as exciting as watching your toenails grow. The manufacturers always say this new phone has vast improvements but nearly always you get a slightly better camera and maybe a slightly brighter screen and if you're really lucky it comes in a color you have never heard of. No one wants to sound ungrateful and we all know that smart phones over the last decade or so have become incredibly powerful and very accessible, and that is a serious technological feat, but the reality is they have become almost as predictable as a fast and furious movie.

What LG's G10 is, it is more prototype then finished product, is a blueprint for the future of smart phones. Most of the future improvements in smart phones will come from the software but there are some hardware features over on the horizon that will push the phones even further. The first innovation is going to be modular design, this will mean that you can mix and match your parts as you need them, you break your screen, slide it out and slide the new one in. You want a better camera, pull the old one out and put a new one in, that is modular design in action. The bottom half of the G10 is a module, it can be detached and replaced with other modules but nearly all the reviews say most of these modules are just gimmicks at this stage, except one, they have a $70 camera grip with the zoom control included plus an extra battery, this module really works well.

Google seems about to take the module designed smart phone to a whole new era, Google has a thing called project Ara, this whole project is about designing a modular smart phone that Google was hoping would completely change the smart phone market. The project has hit many snags but Google still funds it and the first prototypes are due for testing before the end of this year. Most of the smart phone designers are now looking at dual camera smart phones, Apple has one in the works, LG of course has one, Samsung has one but the best one is reputedly the Huawei S10 which reputedly has lenses that work in tandem for improved quality and some cool tricks. Apple has also recently purchased a start up company that was designing software to allow multiple lens photography using the smart phone.

Google will have the last word probably because they have another project called Project Tango which will allow you to take a 3-D photograph, including a 3-D selfie.