Category: Technology

The hard drive and the brain

The first image is my hard drive. It stopped functioning.

The second image is my brain. It continues to function.

One important difference between what our computers do and what our brains do is that even though our hard drives stop functioning; our brains don’t.

Another difference is that hard drives are made in identical series.

Our brains are wonderfully and remarkably unique.

Yes, that’s right.

But this is just the beginning; it gets better.

Our brains shape who we are.

And it is who we are that leaves its mark on the world and on the people around us.

Not our hard drives.

It is who we are that creates our projects and dares to give them life, dares to fail, and dares to try again.

Not our hard drives.

It is tempting these days to fuse the two together—the brain and the hard drive—to make them into one, to celebrate their similarities, to desire that they function the same way.


You will miss knowing the very nature of your existence:

Your ability to engage in creative thinking, slow thinking, re-thinking.

Your ability to make a mistake, to take a risk, to fall and to stand up again.

Your ability to connect ideas, to perceive needs, to ask questions and listen quietly.

Your ability to grow, to laugh, cry, feel anger, to ask for help, and then learn.

Your ability to have an insight, to see the whole picture, to come to a realization.

Your ability to act, to take a leap of faith, to defy reason, to begin again, to change directions.

Your ability to succeed at doing what you believe in and draw strength from what you value.

What the world needs, more than ever, right now, is who you are—who you decide to be, what you decide to do, what you decide to communicate, and who you decide to communicate it to.

A computer and its hard drive can’t do that.

You and your brain can.


Author’s note: the image of the hard drive is from my Macintosh laptop. The image of the brain is from an MRI that I had done because I was very curious.

If you would like to see a few intimate moments of a brain—my brain—in movement, click here or watch the video below.

5 tips for responding to emails that will save your professional life

Emails are one of the most dynamic and unwittingly dangerous communication tools that exist. And they are here to stay.

As we jet through facebook, tweeter and google+ on to the emerging applications of the future, the email will take the ride buckled into the seat right beside ours, sipping a cocktail, sure of its destiny.

The use of this powerful tool calls for no license, training or mentorship. It is a technology open for all to use — freely and innocently. The email is seen as an efficient, flowing and communication-fomenting vehicle.

Until your first crash.

It is then that you realize the amount of damage this tool can cause in the blink of a human eye. And you also realize, much to your horror, that emails are less biodegradable than steel. They are permanent.

Once you push the send button, they cannot be taken back or amended. Ever. Just that simple thought makes me shudder.

As a content and communication strategist, I believe we all need a little guidance to avoid disasters — a few handy tips or rules that will help to keep our professional relationships healthy and robust.

Before I go on to the 5 tips, however, I first need to make a confession.

A few days ago, I broke my own key rules on responding to professional emails. I also broke the back-up rule that I had set up in case I wanted to break a key rule.

Of course, a small crash ensued.

Continue reading »

Zero tweets

The digital era is cool. It’s seductive and extremely convenient. It can make life easier, faster, and even more visible.

Except when it doesn’t.

Some things can actually become invisible. The lives of some people.

In our world of work, there is a very large group who are invisible to the digital gaze. Even in our own projects or enterprises, people who are doing some of the most important work might never show up at the top of a Google search after we enter their name and tap the return key.

The great majority of the people working on projects, often times very large projects, are busy with the work that must be done in order for the project to function. The general public rarely, if ever, sees their names in large illuminated lights. 

Continue reading »

Technology, real time and you

Something new is happening.

Never before have we, the general population, been able to step back and watch the spread of technology as it occurs.

The ability to view the extension of different technologies has usually come long after their introduction into mass culture.

The maps of the proliferation of the printing press, the telephone, automobile, television, air travel, moving pictures, and computers were usually made available well after these technologies were already being used by large numbers of people. Even now, many of us have never seen or thought about what those maps might look like, nor have we had the tools to chart the different ways these technologies changed elements of human activity and interaction.

This information has historically been kept within the small circles of academic, scientific or product researchers.

That can all be different now.

Today, because of the massive production of creative data, those of us who have access to the internet can watch the movement of technology unfold right before our very eyes.

Let me show you one example of what I mean, a spectacular digital map that was built to show the rapid unfolding of the communication technology “Android”.

It might first be helpful have a bit of background.

Android is an open source operating system for mobile devices currently owned by Google Inc.

The Android operating system is a stack or combination of technologies: an operating system, applications and middleware (middleware provides connectivity between individual software applications). The basic goal of this technology stack is to achieve fast, smooth and easy data transmission for people using mobile devices.

The Android mobile operating system is used for smartphones, netbooks and tablets. The first phone using this system was released in late 2008, producing a ripple of activity around the globe—the beginning, very probably, of a profound change in the tools humans use to communicate

And for the first time in history, you and I can watch this change occur.

The very short video that follows is a moving map, in fast time, of Android mobile devices being activated by people around the world from late 2008 to early 2011—a three-minute light show that condenses twenty-six months of the expansion of a new communication technology. First we get global view, then North America, then Europe, then Asia.

Take a look here or on the screen below.

Pretty spectacular, right?

Continue reading »