Ten Fixes To Common Digital Annoyances

2 Oct

The past kinda sucked and this is an amazing time to be alive. I agree. Access to information is almost unlimited, we have unparalleled entertainment choices and technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that a newer, better device is never more than a few weeks away from being released.

However, things are far from perfect. There are small but annoying glitches in the current version of our digital life that need to be debugged. Luckily I am willing to guide us towards Digital Society Version 2.0.

These are little things I can’t believe nobody has addressed yet. Innovators can  feel free to take these ideas and run with them. I’ll take the usual 10% of any revenue generated.

  1. Charging Stations– How is it possible, given that half of all adults now have mobile devices, that we don’t have charging stations in all public areas and work places? These should be the public phone boxes of our age. Swipe your credit card and for a modest fee put your device in a secure box with a large selection of common charging cables. Plug in, go have a chai latte and come back to refreshed device.
  2. Passwords– This is a mess. I don’t know how many passwords I have. Thirty? Forty? Way too many for me to remember a distinct password for every site. I usually embed them in my browser so I’m lost when I use a different computer or lose them all in a crash. We need a new system. I suggest biometrics such as fingerprint reader or retinal scanning. Both can be easily retrofitted with a USB reader and you don’t usually forget your fingerprint.
  3. No More Debit or Credit Cards– While we’re using biometrics let’s eliminate all the cards on our wallets. Half the time I’m not sure if I’m using debit or credit and use the wrong card. A single interface with a fingerprint or retinal scan to verify my identity and then a button to choose debit or credit. If I’m collecting points that happens automatically. No wallet to lose or forget. Sweet 🙂
  4. Projectors– It’s horrible when you see someone struggling to set-up a projector to show a power point. It’s like watching a slow motion car crash. Has this ever gone smoothly for anyone? Ever? Every projector and device is different and there are different keyboard shortcuts, etc., etc. The answer is obvious. Embed projectors in devices. Projectors are small enough to integrate them. You should just push a button and have your screen projected.
  5. Please Turn Off Your Phones”– I love my phone but there are some places it isn’t appropriate to use it. The “please turn off your phone” message has become the “No Smoking” sign of our time. People shrug at it and just keep doing what they want. We need a smart engineer to invent a local cell signal blocker. Install them in movie theatres, school auditoriums, libraries, conference halls, hospitals, bathrooms and any public space where the quality of our lives is threatened by someone’s phone playing that ringtone they made of that Usher song they liked when they first set-up the phone. Warn people once,  turn on the blocker and enjoy an uninterrupted experience.
  6. Integrate My Messages- I have e-mails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, DM’s, IM’s and on and on. Can’t I just have them all come into one place in one format? I should be able to check my device and see all my messages in one place instead of having to check ten different apps. I should also be able to search them all from one location so I don’t have to remember whether the message with the shopping list is in my e-mail, text, twitter…
  7. Internet as a Right- It won’t be long before we see access to good quality internet connection as a basic human right. As more and more services migrate from analog to digital citizens won’t be able to effectively participate in society without it. Why would we wait to make the jump? Let’s designate connectivity as a basic right and have it treated as such. Place superpowered wifi- routers on cell phone towers and charge everyone a flat fee to pay for it. No more individual routers with separate passwords. No need to login when you go somewhere new or find a hot spot. No switching back and forth between 3G and wi-fi. Just a good, strong, consistent signal wherever you go.
  8. Contact Information– It feels primitive that when someone I don’t know calls me I have to physically enter their contact info. Basic contact info. should be transferred into your contacts with every call along with a profile pic of the senders choosing. This info is easily available on the internet, so whose privacy are we protecting?
  9. Digital Documents– Lets agree from now on that you can send me a digital document, I can digitally sign it and return it and that’s legally binding. Enough with the faxing documents back and forth. It’s 2012 already!
  10. Embedded Technology- I’m not sure this is necessarily a good thing, but I think it would be cool and I predict it WILL happen. At some time in the future we’ll have people who have ear pieces and cell phones embedded in their bodies. A call will come in, they’ll touch a spot behind their ear and start talking. A new profession combining the skills of a plastic surgeon and cell phone sales will emerge (an “iSurgeon” perhaps??). The best thing about this is you’d never lose your phone. Take that William Gibson.

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