Everything is awesome

Well, not quite. But seriously, when it comes to technology, I’m getting to the stage where it’s starting to amaze me.

Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting old, or maybe it’s a sign that technological advances are speeding up and getting more useful. Either way, more things are ‘just working’ and when I stop to think about it, I’m left with a combination of awe and quiet satisfaction.

Finally – it seems like technology is catching up with my expectations.

This hit me last weekend, when in quick succession a bunch of tech happenings made me think twice about how easy we have things. All of it in stark contrast to the usual narrative in the ‘tech press’ – “this new thing isn’t good enough, doesn’t allow me to do everything all at once and is too expensive. And it’s too small/too big/too heavy/too square”.

You know the kind of thing.

I’ve done a fair bit of it myself. But last weekend, I took time to consider how I’m using this technology and how, on balance, it’s helping me more than it’s hindering (or annoying) me.

For instance… My Pebble watch notified me several times about useful, but not critical things going on in my email. I could glance at them, but without a need to get my phone out or open my laptop.

I’ll repeat that – I was checking email on my watch. My watch. Amazing. My teenage self would be standing slack-jawed at the very notion of that.

Actually (and I’m ageing myself horrible here), my teenage self didn’t even have an email account to check until I was 18. Not for any other reason than it wasn’t that popular then. I got mine when I went to University and it was a novelty and source of entertainment for the entire first year.

Back to last weekend…

I also quietly smiled to myself when the podcast I was listening to on my iPhone synchronised perfectly in the cloud, allowing me to pick up where I left off via the browser on my iMac. Did I mention that it was a video podcast? So I was watching the equivalent of a TV show on my phone and then simply sat down at my desk and continued watching the same thing, without skipping a beat.

It was in no way challenging from a technology perspective – it just worked. All courtesy of Pocketcasts.

On Sunday, I quite fancied watching The Hobbit. I sat in front of my iMac, opened up Netflix on the browser and sat back as the film started on screen. Not a single skipped frame throughout the whole thing.

A film. On my computer. Streamed over the internet. Legally, quickly and easily. And cheaply, I might add.

What else? Oh, I printed a voucher. Which was on my iPad. I sent the file to my printer, over wifi, from another room. Sure, wifi printing isn’t the newest thing on the block. But come on: tapping a glass screen in one room and having a document come out of a machine in the other seconds later?

That’s approaching magical, compared to how home printers used to be. Neither of my last two home printers were actually plugged into a computer.

When I think about the first printer I had at home – twenty years ago now! – it makes me weep. It worked about 50% of the time, regularly spewed toner all over what it was printing, screwed up paper like it had anger management issues and cost a fortune to maintain.

The wifi printer on my desk in my office office cost £75. It scans flawlessly, prints from any wifi-enabled devices and I can even email files to it from wherever I am in the work.

I ask you, is that not amazing?

Yes. We can always look for gadgets that are faster, cheaper, lighter and more resplendent with functionality. But really – take a look at the tech you’re using right now. Isn’t it amazing?

Especially when compared to what you had just a couple of years ago. And what in the hell will life be like in just a few years from now?

That’s a post for another time, I think.

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