Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Use the WWW to Travel Worldwide on Any Budget

I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time I heard, "I wish I could travel," or some derivative of that, followed by "but I don't have the money." 

In this day and age, there are so many resources available to you on the World Wide Web.  I'm here to help you discover those resources and realize that you can travel, even if you have a lack of green.

Here's what you can do: 

1. Book your flights using all of the resources available to you. 
  • First, use Bing Travel! Finding out about Bing's Price Predictor was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  The following was taken directly from Bing:
    "Bing Travel analyzes millions of round-trip flight itineraries daily and intelligently filters airfare data to reveal the best prices and deals. The Bing Travel Price Predictor can advise you whether fares are rising, holding steady, or dropping, and whether you should buy now or wait."
    (See Tip #4 for more on timing your travel.)
  • Next, if it's time to buy, make sure you compare at least 5 airlines, across 3 or more websites.  Simply going to, for example, may not always be your best bet just because you've been flying on Delta your whole life.  There are many fish in the sea!  Also, as I mentioned, make sure you search across various websites; you have a million to choose from.  Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia, you name it, they all may have different prices for the same exact flights.  Once you have the best flight picked out, go back to the airline's website directly and make sure they do not have a lower price.  
  • Lastly, do your research! One word of caution, since there are so many travel websites, there are bound to be rotten apples.  Make sure you go with a reputable company and if you haven't heard of them, do your research.  The same goes for airlines.

2. Find a place to sleep before you leave your own bed.
  • Hotels are as easy to find online as flights.  Many hotels can be booked in a package with travel sites like Orbitz or Expedia.  You will need to do the same thing you did before for flights.  Compare 5 hotels through at least 3 websites, and then circle back to the hotel's website as well.
  • Want to spend even less?  Try Airbnb.  Airbnb is a website and app that allows people to rent accommodations from other people.  This can be in the form of rooms, houses, villas, even boats, castles, you name it!  Airbnb is known to be much cheaper than a hotel and often much more enjoyable.  Airbnb says: 
"Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries." 
  • Try a hostel!  In the digital age, finding a hostel is nearly as easy as finding a hotel.,, and are a few of the many hostel travel websites out there.  Again, if you haven't gotten the hint yet, you'll have to do your research.  Compare as many hostels as you can across sites like these to find the best price and best value.
  • Want a chic luxury hostel?  Did you even know that those exist?  Because they do.  Check out the Posh Packer to search for boutique hotels/hostels under $100.  Posh Packer's Facebook page describes their business this way, 
"The Poshpacker is an exclusive network for design driven hotels and luxury hostels from around the world at < $100 USD per night, per person."
  •  Want to spend absolutely nothing?  Many of you will have a hard time accepting that people could offer anything to you for free in this day and age, let alone offer accommodations to you for free, but that is exactly what CouchSurfing is all about. I spent a good portion of my college life on courchsurfing and still continue to use it to this day.  Check out what CouchSurfing has to say about it self in their "About" section:
"We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect."
3. Learn from the locals!
  • Reach out to locals directly using sites like CouchSurfing to ask their advice about where you are headed in a personal e-mail-like message so you don't waste your time and money booking the wrong things. 
  • Use sites like Yelp or Urbanspoon to understand how the locals feel about certain businesses, restaurants, etc.
  • Read personal stories and reviews from travel forums on places like Tripadvisor.  

4. Remember that timing is everything.
  • Wednesday is the cheapest day to travel, according to Farecompare, and I've found that to be pretty accurate.
  • Be flexible!  Though Wednesday is often the cheapest day to travel, there are definitely exceptions to this (Friday and Sunday rarely are exceptions, unfortunately, and will cost you the most).  Many sites allow you to search within 3 days of the date of departure and returning flights, so check every day of the week!
  • Tuesday after 3PM is the best day to purchase tickets, again according to Farecompare.  I haven't necessarily tested this, I normally just obsessively check Bing Travel until the Price Predictor says "Buy" and my wallet agrees.
  • Sign up with Farecompare and allow it to track millions of flights for you!
  • Don't buy tickets more than 4 months in advance, but don't wait until two weeks before your trip either.  Buying between 2 and 3 months out will generally save you the most money.  Flights are known to steadily increase and rarely decrease, except for fluctuations that happen regularly throughout the day.
  • Avoid traveling around the winter holiday season and in the summer, if you can help it that is.  If you don't, you will get hit with what they call a "Peak Air Travel Surcharge" and who wants that?  You will find that many tourist destinations frequented by Americans are less crowded in February and March with less American tourists traveling during those months.  If that's not enough, it is the end of summer for the other side of the world, so there's always somewhere exciting and sunny to explore. 

5. Click here for some other great travel apps!
  • My favorites from the link above are Wi-fi Finder, Better Translator Pro, and iMovie.
  • I would also recommend the Duolingo app prior to the trip, as it is the best app for learning a language that I've come across.
  • Save the websites or the apps for paying your bills online right onto the home screen of your smartphone.  Pay your bills from your phone if you happen to be traveling when the bills are due.  **Remember to put your phone on airplane mode before you leave the USA or you may be subject to roaming rates.

6. Lastly, avoid pricey flights and destinations.
  • Many cities around the world are known to be expensive, so avoid those if possible or you'll have to make some sacrifices in quality.  Forbes listed the top 10 most expensive cities for expats in this article.   
  • On the other hand, sometimes an expensive city can be inexpensive to travel to.  Moscow, for instance, is one of the world's most expensive cities in the article above, but according to this article, it happens to have one of the least expensive airports to fly into as well.  Another example is San Juan, which may cost you twice as much for accommodations compared to many other Latin American cities, however the flight from the east coast will cost you on average under $300 so the trip may end up being affordable.  There are many things to consider when choosing a travel destination!
  • The cheapest cities in the United States to visit can be found in this article by Kiplinger.
  • Certain flights are expensive no matter what time of day or year they are booked.  Here is a list of the most expensive flights in the world.
  • Avoid expensive airports if possible.  Sometimes this can be inconvenient, but the hassle of going a little further to or from the airport may save you a lot of money.  Check flights from neighboring airports at both your departure and arrival locations. The most expensive airports in the United States can be found in this article by the Wall Street Journal.  Obviously the general rule is that the further you go, the more you will pay to fly there.
  • How will you get to your destination from the airport?  If you're planning on taking a taxi, you may want to avoid the cities in this article from Farecompare. If you're planning on using public transportation, you might want to avoid these cities or plan on renting a car yourself.

If you read all of that, you might have realized that it takes a lot of work to travel on a budgetResearch is key, but if you're willing to do that, you'll find that traveling is possible and even affordable.  Good luck!

Thanks for reading.
Follow me on Twitter @AmandaMunsch

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Personal Use of Social Media in the Workplace: an Employer's Friend or Foe?

We live in a world that has villainized social media time and time again; it is a world that loves to repeatedly mention how much time is wasted on social media, both in our personal lives and in our professional lives.  An article by Cheryl Connor on Forbes this September reported:

Sixty four percent of employees visit non-work related websites each day.  In this category, the amount of time wasted per week on non-work related websites is as follows:  
Time Wasted                  Pct of Employees
<1 hour                                  39%
1-2 hours                               29%
2-5 hours                               21%
6-10 hours                             8%
10+ hours                               3%z
Contributing to these percentages are social media networks. The winners for the time-loss warp are Tumblr (57%), Facebook (52%), Twitter (17%), Instagram (11%) and SnapChat (4%).
Imagine an employee who works 2,080 hours per year (260 days). If she is in top the bracket of time wasters, she wastes 520 hours per year. That’s 25% of her total hours at work spent on unproductive activities. Clearly this costs your company capital. 

As an active social media enthusiast, call me biased, but I don't buy it.  Social Media has undoubtedly changed the working world and, as members of the working world, has subsequently changed us.  Change though, as history will attest, is not necessarily a bad thing.
Shel Holtz, writing for Monster, the employment giant writes:
Smart companies recognize that perpetually networked employees are symptomatic of a larger change taking place in business. These companies will figure out how to turn this new workplace reality to their advantage.
So let's talk about that.  

What are the most significant advantages of social media in the workplace?  
  1. Increase awareness with current global trends.  How can you service or sell to the world when you do not understand it or where it is going?  The world is plugged in to social media, you wouldn't hang up the phone on your customers, so why disengage with social media?
  2. Allows employees to network with potential business leads.  Social media is the 21st century address book; every connection made is a direct line for communication, whether it is for recruitment, sales, you name it.
  3. Promotes brand awareness.  Along the lines of the prior advantage, each employee promotes the company from their use of social media.  All employees are sales people, whether that is their title or not.  When they share their organization's activity in a positive light on social media, the rippling effect can be tremendous for business.  That being said, the adverse reaction can happen if employees are not educated about proper social media etiquette.   
  4. Provides a chance to refresh.  Mankind was not meant to sit behind a desk all day, yet that is where most of us are.  We were meant to be on alert, to understand our surroundings, to be constantly challenged.  Social media does not fix that, but it gives employees the opportunity to change their routine, refresh, and start the grind again.
  5. Increases internal communication.  Imagine you are Joe Shmoe; your company has restricted you from visiting social media sites yet the marketing department at your company uses social media to promote all of the company's initiatives.  All of a sudden your mother, Flow Shmoe, knows more about your company's initiatives than you do.  Companies should understand that social media can work for you, not against you.  Facebook "Groups" or Yammer, can be invaluable ways for collaborating and increase internal communication.

Long story short, I don't buy it Cheryl Connor from Forbes.  Time spent on social media is not necessarily time wasted.  The capital lost in wages spent on employees surfing the internet and social media, will come back full circle in the ways I've described above.

Maybe the question shouldn't be "how do we keep our employees from wasting time on social media?" but instead, "how can we help our employees engage with current trends and promote our brand effectively on the world wide web?"

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Christmas comes early in the form of the new Apple iPhone 5S, 5C, and the iOS 7

Yes, you probably have heard by now, and it is true! At long last, the much rumored iPhone 5C and 5S are finally going to hit the shelves.  The CNET Review gave us a good breakdown of the specs for each phone.


So, what can the new iPhones do that my out-dated 4S can't do? 

Let's start with the camera on the 5S.  Sure, my 4S also had a 8 megapixel camera and it has nothing on the 41 megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 or the 13 megapixel Samsung Galaxy S4, but there's more to it than megapixels.  The iPhone 5S will have a dual-element flash, able to automatically adjust its color based on available lighting.  The front facing camera will be at 1080p, up from 720p in the 5C and iPhone 5.

The 5C, the new iPhone for budget conscious consumers, will do one important thing my 4S couldn't do, and that is go easy on my wallet.  Starting at just $99 with a two year plan, the 5C is a bargain.  Still, that won't be likely to convert some Android loyalists, as many non-Apple smartphones are similar in base price.

The 5C also comes in pretty colors.  So there's that.

The 5S will have a fingerprint scanner, likely saving me from typing in a 4 digit password every time I want to look at my messages or make a call.  That will be one of the most exciting features for me, as I am just about as impatient as anyone else in the millennial generation.

My 4S will be left in the dust with the Proprietary A7 CPU (64-bit) processor of the 5S, which is up two models from the A5 for my 4S and up from the A6 for the 5C and 5S.  The 5S will be at least twice as fast as my 4S and is also twice as fast as the 5C and iPhone 5.

Still, for those of us that do not have upgrades until next year, CHRISTMAS IS STILL HERE It is coming in the form of the next new mobile operating system, the iOS 7, which will be available as a free download on Sept 18. Craig Federighi, head of software at Apple Inc., said "downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all new device."  Thank you, Apple!

As you may have noticed, I'm not really expounding upon what an Android can do that an iPhone can't.  I know there are a (small) list of features that Android phones have that iPhones simply do not have.  Still, the millions of us loyal to Apple believe that they have always provided a great product and cutting edge technology that we didn't know we needed until they created it for us.  In this competitive age of smartphone sales, Apple will have to continue to do just that to survive; Apple will have to look for things to provide the consumer with that their competitors do not have and their consumers didn't know they were living without.   

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

320 Gigapixels, a Panoramic Photo for the Record Books

It is one of the most amazing photos I have ever seen, a 320 gigapixel panoramic photo of London that allows the viewer to zoom miles and miles in any direction.  Talk about a long game of I-Spy! One could spend an infinite amount of time discovering the details of this amazing photo.  It makes you wonder, what are the limits of man-made technology?  Check out this amazing photo here and scroll around, zoom in, explore!  Or go to to take a stunning virtual trip around the globe. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ads Destroying the Web - is Facebook Premium the Answer? Or are we Reinventing the Wheel?

Twitter Co-founder, Biz Stone, thinks that Facebook should offer a premium version for Facebook of some sort, an ad-free version of Facebook if you will. Stone is one of three co-founders of Twitter, which is why the advice seems to be so interesting.  I may be a skeptic, but it seems unlikely that anyone in his position in this day and age offers free advice to the competition.  Still, I don't necessarily think it's a trick, I think he is just stating the obvious.  We are all annoyed at what Facebook has become, and to a large degree ads are to blame.  See what Stone suggests in this article.

It is not just Facebook, however, that has an exhaustive amount of ads cluttering their service and taking away from the consumer experience.  CNET just reported that "the American Customer Satisfaction Index's E-business report gave search engines, social networks, and news sites a collective satisfaction grade of 71.3 out of 100."  CNET attributes the satisfaction decline to the clutter of advertisements distracting from the core purposes of these services.  In other words, we just want to live in a world where a search engine is a tool to find what we are searching for and Facebook is just a place to connect with people.  We want to seek out products and services, not have them thrown into our peripheral vision at all times, begging to distract us from what we are doing.

So, would any of us actually buy Facebook premium?  I'm sure some would to a degree, even if it was just a small percent of Facebook's overall users.  As Stone mentioned, even a small percentage of Facebook users paying a low amount each month would add up to a very large fortune with Facebook having over a billion monthly users.

Personally, I would stick with the free version even if a premium version was offered at just a couple dollars a month.  I'm quite content getting the same thing, no ads on Facebook or anywhere for that matter, out of an open-source ad blocking extension called Adblock.

Below are two of the same Google searches, before and after I downloaded Adblock.  It took about 30 seconds to install and starting working right away.

I'm new to Adblock but I love it! Keep in mind, not only are my Google searches now ad-free, all of my social media sites are also now ad-free!  This has changed my life.

I thought I'd pass along the suggestion on to anyone who hadn't heard of it or who gets extremely frustrated with all the ads everywhere.  You are not alone.

Merry Christmas to all of us!  Adblock has been around since I graduated high school in 2006, but better late than never!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Hashtag - Useful or Annoying? The How-to on Hashtagging for Businesses

Yesterday, I spent the day in a hashtag war with my boss, who thought it would be fun to send all of his e-mails/texts to me with # in front of just about everything he wrote, in order to prove to the world once and for all that he is indeed hip and social media savvy.  He took a particular interest in the hashtag, like many do, because of how incredibly widely used it is on social media these days.  Of course I, in good fun, had no choice but to participate in these antics, to the point that, by the end of the day, I did not even realize I was doing it anymore.  Thank goodness today is a new day, and we both forgot that we were waging hashtag war yesterday.  Still, I couldn't help but think that this is how it starts; we start to use hashtags to emphasize something, then something else and something else, and it evolves into forgetting that we are even doing it.  When EVERYTHING is emphasized, all of a sudden NOTHING is.


Today, ironically!, I came across an article that explains the origin of the hashtag and its original purposes:

The article made me start to think even more about the hashtag and its use.  Of course the social media applications themselves are using hashtags.   Twitter has been most well known for their hashtag use and part of their claim to fame is in popularizing it.  Facebook is also starting to see more hashtag usage as well, and several other social media sites are getting on board with the trend.  Vine, owned by Twitter, obviously uses the hashtag, and Facebook's Instagram is also using hashtags as well.  Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and many more are also following suit.

So, with all of the large social networks using hashtags, yet there is such a wide use of these tags for #sometimes #no #apparent #reason at all, how are we to make sense of the hashtag and its purposes?  Better yet, how can we use the hashtag for business purposes?  Here are a couple of pointers to make hashtags work for you and your business:

1. Be consistent!  If you are a social media manager for a business and would like your audience to trend your topic, make sure you use it consistently.  Do not go from #yourbusinessname to #yourbusinessnickname to #somevariationofyourname.  Decide what your hashtag will be and use it all the time until it catches on.

2. Pick a short hashtag! For example, if you are Point Park University and you would like to make your posts trend, you may want to consider #pointpark rather than #pointparkuniversity.  Think about what the users/audience will want as well as your own desire to brand yourself.  For example, you may think it is super important to get that "university" word in there for branding, but the fact is, you'll be hashtagging all by your lonesome.  Your audience will rebel and pick the short version of your name, and you will be missing the opportunity to promote your brand.

3. Be flexible!  Even if you have picked a short hashtag and been consistent with how you have used it, there might just frankly be people calling you something entirely different.  You might think that you are #pointpark, for example, and in fact everyone thinks you are #ppu.  If that is the case, you might have to be flexible and switch your strategy; go with what works and don't beat a dead horse with a hashtag that is not catching on.  In the words of Regina George, "stop trying to make 'fetch' happen! It's not going to happen!"

4. Know your audience! You are going to need to know your audience so that you can actually relate to them and keep them reading what you write.  Social media is about building connections, not just selling, so make sure your posts are a conversation rather than a sales pitch.  Hashtag fun stuff, be funny, and if you can't do any of those things, ask someone else to be your social media manager.  #sorry

Last but not least, here is a special piece of advice - Tagboard.  We experimented with it for our small event at Point Park University, the SAEM High School Summer Workshop.  We asked the students to use the hashtag #saempgh to mention the event on social media.  Now, everything they said (or we said with #saempgh) is compiled there on a "board." We can easily connect with our users just by going to Tagboard and pulling up our tag.  Instead of simply trying to connect with everyone through impersonal mass posts, we are now able to see what people say about us, click on their posts, and respond to them directly.  It is a new world and we have to find new ways to engage our audience.

#thanksforreading #staytuned

Monday, July 15, 2013

17 Reasons Smartwatches WILL (possibly) Work

Recently I discussed how afraid I am for the world to experience "wearable technology" in the form of smart watches, such as the rumored iWatch, the Google smart watch, or the Sony SmartWatch.  Still, with that said, ultimately I concluded that I may fall victim to the new trend if the technology advances this market as much as sources claim.  Even more importantly, if this is really to become a $50 billion market, as Business Insider suggested, I'm pretty sure quite a few others will find themselves wearing a smart watch as well. Of all the things I have read about this rumored technology, the only thing I REALLY didn't believe was this article:

The author attempts to explain why this technology won't catch on.  While I am not 100% convinced that it will either, the reasons this author gave seem completely off base.  Excuse me while I interrupt this article from Gizmodo with my own 17 reasons why smart watches just might in fact work.  Be warned: my bias/allegiance to Apple might* reveal itself.

17 Reasons Smartwatches Won't Work (Yet) by Brian Barrett - And Amanda Munsch's 17 rebuttals...

The cascade of smartwatch rumors—be they iWatch, Surface, or other—increases daily. By this point, smartwatches of every shape and stripe seem inevitable. But there are so, so many reasons why they shouldn't happen. Not any time soon, at least.  
(HMM is 6 months not any time soon?) 

To get a sense of the sheer volume of smartwatches on the horizon, you can look no further than Quartz's exhaustive rumor roundup. It's an extensive lineup of companies, each and every one of whom may want to seriously reconsider where they're headed. Here are just a few reasons why.

1. The wrist is valuable accessory space. Watches aren't just watches anymore, if they ever were. They're fashion statements in a way that today's gadgets—ooo, a black rectangle!—aren't. One-look-fits-all isn't going to cut it, and color variations don't count (looking your way Apple).
1. Fashion is prone to evolution, just like technology.

2. Too many sizes. In fact, one size doesn't fit all, either! Men and women wear different-sized watches. Beyond that, watch size is another aesthetic choice that people who wear things on their wrists care very much about. How many SKUs are these companies prepared to manufacture?
2. Have you ever heard of an adjustable strap?  Also, size preference is something that can be obtained by choosing a different company's product, just as people choose different mobile phones.

3. Which makes for terrible UI problems. Adding a micro-sized display to your platform's lineup is problematic enough on its own for apps. Allowing for displays with multiple degrees of tiny is guaranteed chaos. Scaling horrors, ahoy!
3. We search the ENTIRE web on our iPhones, read our mail, create our calendar, blog, check Facebook, create Instagram photos/videos, and you don't think we can check our e-mail or read a text from an iWatch?

4. But mostly one giant size. The obvious answer to that would be to stick with just one display size, which iWatch and Samsung and Microsoft rumors currently peg at 1.5-inches. That is a very big thing to lug around all day.
4. The obvious: big watches are in...

5. Battery life will be horrid. The sad thing is, it still won't be big enough to fit in all of the internals it needs alongside a battery that's worth a damn. While there's no way a smartwatch will be as battery-intensive as your phone, you're still going to have to plug the damn thing in every few days.
5. Solar power or Casio/Gshock Bluetooth Low Energy

6. Imagine input on that tiny display. Making your smartwatch do what you want is going to be a royal pain, unless you've got needlepoint fingers, or until voice command technology advances so far beyond where it's at today we might as well be talking about getting a few more feet of lift out of our hoverboards.
6. Removable face plate!

7. They're going to be ugly. Big might be a necessity for a smartwatch, but it's also garish in an accessory. Even the nicest-looking iWatch renders are sort of gross. And existing e-ink products aren't much better. 
7. Technology is sexy.

8. Speaking of which, this already exists.  A gorgeous, functional, cellular-powered gizmo-watch made by erstwhile hardware god Sony could have been huge. Huge! Instead, it's a gadget cold …It's pretty awful.

8. Sony is a bad example.  Pick another one.

9. And this.

17 Reasons Smartwatches Won't Work (Yet)

9. I would wear these!

10. Even Apple sort of had one. The iPod nano was the closest we've gotten to a real-deal iWatch in terms of size and functionality, especially when paired with a clever watchband. It was so popular that Apple ditched the hardware after a single generation.
10. The iPod nano was nothing like an iWatch.  It couldn't even compete against Apple's iPod.  Try again.

11. In fact, we've been doing this since the 80s. And they've all been bad. Could someone come in and reinvent the category, like Apple did with smartphones? Sure! But it'll have to be a once-in-a-generation reimagining. Maybe someone manages it, maybe not. The only guarantee is that nearly every smartwatch will be terrible for a very long time.
11. What?  Now you're absurd.  Apple reimagined far more than just smartphones.  The iPod changed how we listen to music and now the iPad has changed the way we view the internet, manage our financial portfolio, keep our family photo album on hand, update our calendar for the world to see, and so much more...

12. How much will these things cost? Oh man, are you really ready to drop $150 on yet another gadget that already does things your preexisting gadgets can? That's how much the Sony SmartWatch runs you. Even if an Apple iWatch manages to match that, it's a whole lot of change. 
12. A G-Shock Watch averages over $110... And this watch would potentially be worn by a market with extra $$$.  $150 sounds like a steal!

13. And how often will you have to get a new one? Product refresh cycles are variable, but it's safe to say that your average handheld gadget—phones, tablets, etc.—don't last you much longer than three years at most, if only because of the (non-replaceable) battery. So look forward to having to get a new watch at least that often.
13. I agree, I hate that.  But it doesn't keep any of us from getting a new phone every chance we get!

14. It's another data eater. Not to mention that a smartwatch that only runs on Wi-Fi would be effectively useless; when you're in your house or a coffee shop or another Wi-Fi accessible location, you're using other devices. So get ready to tack yet another gadget onto your data plan, unless it's pure Bluetooth (there's that battery life again) or some sort of Airplay-like ad hoc wireless hookup with your phone.
14. When has that ever stopped us from checking Facebook or Twitter? Never.

15. The smartwatch identity crisis. Is a smartwatch a souped-up activity tracker or a dumbed down iPhone? If it's the former, are we really sure that people want activity trackers on a large scale? If it's the latter, won't that be redundant? If it's a combination of both, do you go with a leather band or a rubber strap? Why are we doing this, again?
15. Redundant, maybe.  That didn't stop us from the iPad though we all have iPhones and laptops.

16. Honestly, it's the gadget version of 3DTV. All of this smartwatch build-up sounds incredibly familiar if you've been around a while. It sounds almost identical to the drumbeats that lead up to 3DTV, another product for which there was no clear demand, but companies didn't have any better ideas, so why not? Smartwatches are that.
16. Umm... nope.  These products are completely different, as are their target markets.  

17. Dick Tracy would've used a smartphone. Ever get the feeling that we're all still chasing that dumb Dick Tracy watch-phone? Forget it. If Dick Tracy were alive today he'd be using an iPhone, because it does all of the things that watch-phone did, but better. If you're going to resurrect a Dick Tracy accessory, make it the fedora.
17. No comment.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Will Wearable Technology Turn Us Into Robots?

Technology continues to advance daily and the world is changing.  Some people fight it, others embrace it cautiously, and still others, like me, are addicted to it.  We can't get enough of it.  Turning it off is not an option and, in fact, it makes us anxious to do so.  Just last week on the 4th of July for example, I went to a farm with family to relax and enjoy the weekend.  It was fantastic and I loved everything about it, except for one thing that was lurking the entire time, kicking at my insides and nudging me every time there was a lull in conversation, I had bad signal!

Before you judge me, let me explain that eventually I let go of my anxiety and had a great time.  When I acknowledged my poor signal was adversely effecting my mood, I was able to let it go.  But, I won't lie, I have feared for a long time that there is a day coming when we all cling to technology so much so that we aren't able to connect with reality.   Now however, I see that even my worst fears weren't aimed high enough for what is to come.  It is not people that will cling to technology, but technology that will cling to people.

They are calling it "wearable technology" and it is said to open a $50 billion market.  The ability to put your phone in your pocket - to be out of sight, out of mind - will soon be a thing of the past.  Should we run from it?  Personally, I don't see the point, the world keeps moving whether we close our eyes or keep them open.  So me, I will embrace the new technology like always and hope that I don't turn into a robot.  Those with more means than I, well they'll be the ones with the Apple and Google stock.