The Amazing Smartphone

Once again, long time no post.

Just wanted to write about how amazing the smartphone is.  Sure, there are daily news stories about this app or that but I wanted to write down my thoughts about how amazing it actually is.

To me, it is not just a phone or computer, but my link to the entirety of human knowledge.  I find it so incredible that we should all be experiencing mass hysteria but as the programs became available over the course of a few years perhaps we now just all take it for granted?

I wanted to share with you two applications that taught me something this week.  I find it very cool that even though I vaguely knew about these things and perhaps even studied them briefly in school, it took the Iphone to really make me understand.

1.  Starwalk

For many, this is probably just a novelty app to peer up at the stars once in a while.  But for me, I find myself using it almost nightly before I go to bed and when I wake up.  Here are my realizations that may seem common knowledge but never really registered with me until now.

1.  The Sun, Moon and planets all move along the same line.  Yes, I know everyone knows this, but do they really??   Now, I live in Pacifica and can see the ocean from my house which provides an excellent point of reference.  I am physically located on the side of the planet held down by gravity.  The Earth is spinning from West to East so that the Sun is moving from East to West, as does the moon and all the planets.

At this point in the year I can see the constellation Orion in the South East Horizon and a star I recently identified “Betelgeuse” was recently in the news as it will become Earth’s “Second Sun” when it explodes into a supernova.  This was a bright star and had a reddish tint which is why it caught my attention in the first place.

I can currently see Jupiter around 10:00pm.

From the news, the stars not in our solar system are moving away from me due to “dark matter” and perhaps after a few million (billion?) years we will only be able to see the stars in our immediate neighborhood.

As I mentioned, we all learn these things in school, but for me it never really “registered” as to my physical location in regards to the cosmos.

When I look at the stars I’m looking at history.  Since they are so far away it takes many many light years for their light to reach my eyes.  Therefore, I’m looking into the past.

On a side note, I also wonder how many civilizations must be out there.  And since the size and scale of time and distance are so large many civilizations may have arisen the disappeared in the time it took the light from the stars to leave and reach me.  As the universe is so big there could be millions of civilizations but you would have to catch them at the right time as we’re talking thousands of light years.

It seems like a very difficult task now to find any aliens out there as the scale is enormous both in time and distance.  Makes me not hold out much hope for my “SETI at Home” program.

If you haven’t heard about this let me tell you, it has been around for only 15 Earth years and ET hasn’t been found yet…….   Infinite time, infinite space and we’ve only just begun our efforts for perhaps 100 earth years.  Seems like a drop in the ocean.

SETI looks for patters in radio frequencies by scanning a very small amount of space (which is an enormous amount of data), breaks up the packets and sends small bits to be examined by people’s computers who are in the program.  So when my SETI screen saver turns on it provides a nice display but more importantly is using my computer to examine the data and send it back to SETI.

2.  Herbs   (Ok not as grand as space but I still find fascinating)

I now have a garden and the thought occurred to me to start planting herbs for use in cooking.  I knew nothing about herbs before but as with many applications on the Iphone I find myself feeling a bit like Neo out of The Matrix movie.  He does not know Kung Fu, gets plugged into the computer and then in a few seconds says “Whoa, I know Kung Fu.”  Along the same lines, I know nothing about herbs, spend 20 minutes with my Herb app and then can say “Whoa, I know herbs!”    LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Now, if I think about none of these programs existed just 20 years ago and how extraordinary they are now, I cannot help but think of the possibilities 20 years from now.  I highly doubt there will be a cord (or wireless sensor) that can transmit information directly into our brains.  I would imagine that we still have to use the relatively inefficient method of gathering information by reading and trying to record them in our heads.  But perhaps instead of a phone, we could all just wear some sweet eyeglasses that produces lines of information on the subject in which we are facing.

So say I look up, the glasses determine precisely where my corneas are fixated and information appears on the subject.  I look at the stars, they are identified, I look at a herb and all information revealed, I look at a person I know who they are, their education level and their credit score….. LOL   🙂

In any case, I just find these smart phones extremely incredible.  Yet, I think we have all begun to take them for granted and do not properly appreciate how extraordinary they actually are.

One final example is the Ipad.  Soon they will have cameras and we will be able to “Skype” or have video communication with anyone, anywhere on the planet!!  If we think back just to 1980 and the TV show Star Trek we were told the video screen they used “on deck” might someday be available in real life.  And now it is!!!

So what do we do with it?  Well, I’ll let you know just as soon as I get done watching Real Desperate Housewives of Orange County………..

The machines are already smarter than us…. beware… skynet is watching.


By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/