Monday, December 27, 2010


Thank goodness the holidays are over!  Everyone spent the 26th sleeping, eating leftovers, and playing with their new toys.
It is the toys I want to address. When I was a kid there were no video games, PCs, or even VCRs. (Yes I am that old). Most of what we got was bikes, board games, skates, music, and my favorite….a portable cassette player. It was stuff to get outside and play. Then came technology.
We parked it in front of the TV with cable and VCRs. Home video games were simple at first but once you got hooked, it was hours on your butt running Mario around. PCs came along to make life richer with knowledge and wider in the ass. Obesity is a problem in America with childhood obesity on the rise.
Now the games have turned a corner. No longer does one sit to play a game. Wii changed that. We have a Wii and it can be a workout playing any game as well as the exercise programs. It has brought the family together like board games and it gets you out of the chair. I personally, am the world’s greatest Rock Band drummer. Great cardio.
The Xbox Connect has brought interacting with the game to a new level. While I have not had the pleasure, my son has and he filled me in on how it works and how sore he was after playing all day. It “sees” you and anything else that comes into its field of vision. Very interesting.
My wife has a new toy on her phone. It is a talk to text feature for text messaging. She likes it for the most part except when she uses slang or mispronounces a word. She is from the south and has a bit of an accent when it comes to some words. Needless to say she has had to learn the correct pronunciation of a few words. I am from Ohio where most pronunciations are used for Webster’s dictionary so I find it funny. There is also text to talk and talk to text on most computers or you can get one on line.
There is a new app. for the phone called Word Lens that can “look” at a sign in one language and translate it to another instantly. Very cool.
After discussing all the cool interactivity, my son brings up Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother. (Conspiracy theory genes run in my family). He is not sure if he likes being “seen and heard” by all these toys. They are fun to play with but don’t leave them on when you are finished, someone may be watching. I can see how it all could lean that way. If I had something to hide or suffered from any form of paranoia the idea of being watched is conceivable.
My take is different. Maybe very different. Here goes….
I like that games have gotten us off our collective obese asses and maybe inspire us to become a more physically fit nation. The Xbox Connect is a step closer to fully interactive 3D holodecks where one can be fully immersed in any fantasy of your choice.
I think the text to talk and back will not only teach the proper use of whatever language you speak but enable you to quickly learn other languages and if there is no time to learn you can use your Universal Translator to read and tell you what the sign or menu says.
All of these toys can and will lead us to a more interactive world. With better and faster sharing of information, we will have a clearer understanding and appreciation of other people and cultures. With knowledge, education, and exposure to differences we will be less discriminating. Would it be nice if the world could work together as one? With the barriers of language and discrimination gone, we could be.
We are just one large rock rotating in space among billions of other rocks. Some like ours. I am less concerned with Big Brother as I am hoping someone else is watching and waiting to meet us.
I have to go now…….my Wii is “calling”.

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