What is the modern equivalent of being a stronger individual?
I think it’s the capability and will to command more user interfaces. Because
there’s always a utility value for a certain interface; you can get things
with less (physical) effort, for lower price, from a better pool of choice etc.
So extending your mind with new services is generally good for you.
But acquiring or adopting a user interface – ie. subscribing to a service, or
registering to a new web page – requires cognitive processing. And sometimes
it feels like there’s the “not yet another” -thought; you just aren’t sure whether
your brain can take one more interface, which has to be learned and kept up with.
Facebook is a great example. Without it, I wouldn’t know even half the social
gossip and in fact hard knowledge (news) of the world. I’d be quite in the dark,
to be honest. It’s just such a powerful invention. Now the latest addition I
discovered was an application called Zimride. I can search for trips, driven
by friends and unknowns, in my neighbourhood. When everything matches, we
can carpool. In exchange for petrol money, I will get an otherwise free trip.
The applications themselves are enabling or limiting our abilities. If there’s
a bug, say a web service doesn’t work well for certain set of browsers, then
it has an immediate impact on the whole user population. Thus it becomes
even more important that the operations run smoothly.
But a hindrance doesn’t have to be a bug; it may as well be the very design
of an application. I fill out my work time into a web app, that doesn’t let
me fill several days as a series; instead each and every day has to be
individually punched- meaning that I fill start time, end time, kilometers,
description, and the date itself. So instead of filling 20 similar work days
with one go (taking 30 seconds), I will be filling them piece by piece, taking
20 times as much.
development pace is a little bit unhealthy, and there is to an unlimited
extent the challenge to make services compatible also with each other. The true
power is in the possibility to combine knowledge and functionality
from an application to another. But this combination of web services is
just beginning; what may be coming will probably surprise us all.