Sunday, February 27, 2011

Buttons? That's so 2010.

I'm having lunch with my friend Cindy to see her pictures from her recent trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, two more places I may never get to in this lifetime. (Cindy's down there on the right, among the followers of this blog.)

We're viewing the images on her new iPad, which is an excellent way of displaying digital images (which is to say virtually all images these days: since the demise of film, paper as the final destination for a photograph has gone from being the principal choice to a mere option).

But we can't find the button that moves us from one picture to the next. We try the slideshow feature, but the images change too fast, so we're constantly stopping it and restarting it. Tapping on the glass brings up a frieze of tiny thumbnails at the bottom of the screen that lets us select individual pictures, but they're too small to use effectively. We're convinced there must be a "next image" arrow button lurking somewhere, but it eludes us, and we don't have the manual with us.

After about ten minutes of this, I notice that a small hair has landed on the screen. I discretely swipe it out of the way with my forefinger. And that's when I accidentally discover Apple's neat, intuitive way of progressing through the pictures, one at a time -- just a swipe. (It's not like I don't already have an iTouch.)

There's a very good ad for a new car model that I saw during this evening's Oscar broadcast, addressing the point that even though there's nothing ground-breaking about the technology, the car takes it to a new level. It shows a world where people stopped inventing after the first idea, including internet cafes with typewriters attached to brick-like cell phones and a guy carrying a record turntable through the streets and wearing huge headphones. (And there are zeppelins over the buildings, which I think is pretty cool.)

I'm clearly living in that world. But at least I've started putting the right year on my checks.

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