Interacting with technology

So, is anyone else actually planning on using this blog?

I spent Thursday and Friday thinking about how I interact with technology throughout the day. Most of what I do is facilitated by my iPad. 

I was hoping that I would realize something that I was doing unconsciously, or semi-consciously, but I’m a little stymied. However, maybe my own narrative will be useful in prompting others’ ideas?

I use technology in order to be more effective when I’m mobile.  Maybe everyone does, but for me, it’s especially important. I invested in the iPhone 3G a few years ago because I was the assistant editor of a literary criticism journal, and my choice was between sitting at a desk in front of a computer for a few hours a day, or being able to keep track of submissions and editorial issues from anywhere — the library, the grocery store, etc.

That’s still what makes being connected important to me — especially because I choose not to own a car, and to commute on foot or public transit as much as possible. I use OneBusAway to travel, and decide whether to take the bus or walk. I use the iPad Safari browser to check on the availability of gluten-free-friendly restaurants when I’m out, or to check the nearness of a full grocery store, because I know that one of those will have something that I can eat. Without either of these two apps, I’d have to do more advanced planning — i.e., spend more time sitting at a desk instead of getting things done.

I also use technology (again, the iPad, but specifically iAnnotate and the eReader apps), in order to access various books and documents that are important to my research. Previously, I had to print them out in order to annotate them effectively (Adobe Acrobat Professional’s options are less than stellar) — so I’m a lot less tired now than when I had to schlep books around. And in addition to marking up my own research documents, I can use the iPad to download, comment on, and return student papers from anywhere I’m at.

Of course, I use the iPad for generalized surfing, too; and for social interactions — but these are the uses that I highlight when people ask me why I have an iPad; and they’re the uses that most heavily influence my movements throughout the day. Unlike many people, I don’t use the social locator apps like Foursquare — compared to my local friends, I use technology more than they do — while it’s my long-distance friends who use apps that allow you to see where other people are in relation to you in the city.

In addition to thinking about how I interact with technology already, I thought about how I’d like to interact with technology. Really, I’d like to be able to have homing devices on library books — but failing that, I’d really like to be able to easily track what I’m doing throughout the day. It would be great if I could simply say, in 1-5 words, what I was doing at any given moment, and then, at the end of the day, end up with a list of how much time I’d spent on my various activities.

So: what about all of you?



About Paige Morgan

digital humanist, 18th and 19th Ph.D. student of English literature and economics
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