As is usually the case with this type of thing, it started with an email that referenced Mike Monteiro's presentation entitled "How Designers Destroyed the World". (That kind of gets your attention, no?) This is X-rated, but Mike's a pretty passionate guy about this topic and what he has to say can be applied to more than graphic and/or web design. In fact, although seemingly billed as a web developers' conference, most of the topics seem pretty global to me.
Another interesting presentation was by Jason Scott (BTW, don't you just love "Steampunk"?) about how the "stuff" you put on the web today just might not be there tomorrow. While I'm a huge proponent of "the Cloud" darn if this hasn't given me a lot to think about.
Finally the third presentation I have to recommend is the one by science fiction author Bruce Sterling who brings a pretty, as he describes it, "dark euphoria" feeling about the future. He discusses where we might be headed with the exposure we have through all of the social media "out there".
I've been watching other presentations and just can't recommend them enough. I hope you have an opportunity to watch at least one or two of these.
So...what have I taken away from what I've seen.
Well, first of all, I've got to rethink a lot of what have come to believe about technology, the internet and its place in our lives.
I would remind you of the Frank Herbert quote I've already written about and which is always in the back of my mind. So in spite of these recent concerns, I'm still cognizant of the fact that I have to try; and, at least, stay abreast of the tech wave.
Jason has made me concerned about the data I'm posting to the web and the fact that someday, it could be gone. Certainly when I'm dead (and/or dying) I don't want to lose what I've created (and I've come to the conclusion recently that I want to create more). So posting photos to Flickr is not enough - storing documents on Google Drive is not enough. I've got to have local storage with a possible backup to the web. That means I've got to accelerate my decision to buy a disk array for home.
I know it seems pretty silly to have a disk array, particularly the size of the disk array I want to get. But the last time I went out taking pictures I ended up with 80 photos and two Gigabytes of data. Yeah, I shoot RAW; (for those of you who are not that familiar with digital photography RAW is a file format that captures as much data as possible) but I'm really glad I have that format when I start editing photos in Lightroom.
Mike really got me thinking about what I do and whether it is really important in the "grand scheme of things". One of the best comments he makes is, "And here's something that was making the rounds a while back. It's a jacket that inflates when you get a Facebook Like. Reinforcing the notion that warmth and comfort should be doled out on the basis of popularity. I honestly can't imagine doing less with the time you have on earth."
Finally Bruce got me thinking about Facebook and, more importantly, privacy and where that's headed in the future. While I will, most likely, delete my Facebook account, although I really don't interact with it all that much anyhow, I think about the time when our boys were little and we did away with our Television set (right after I read "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television"). While the time we had together as a family was richer, we really did cut the boys off from the current culture that their peers were experiencing. Not that it was a bad thing; but, for example, when the kids, at school, would say, "Wow, did you see that on television last night?", our kids had to say "No".
This is really going to simplify my life because with sites like Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, About.Me and other sites that keep popping up every day, who can keep up anymore? Sites like About.Me are trying to position themselves as a "gateway" to assimilate all these other sites, but I just don't see the point.
So move everything to a disk array and back up the array to the web. I've got a good pipe at home and most of the time I'm not there anyhow, so the internet connection is going unused. I'm going to create one website, or perhaps a Wordpress multi-site setup but it will be under MY control, on MY facility backed up the way I want it backed up.
That all said, I am still very excited about technology and the web. Some of the most exciting things are happening today and I am thrilled to be witness to it all.