Sometimes the best way to understand something is just to ask. My latest column was by far my nosiest. Every sentence was a question about your — yes, your — attitudes toward technology. It was inspired by “The Interrogative Mood,” a novel written entirely in questions that, though I can only read a few…More
Category: Reactions & Resources
Tonia Buell of the Washington State Department of Transportation told me last week that more than 500 Teslas were on Washington roads, an estimate I included in my Sunday column about electric vehicles’ popularity in Washington. Her figures were preliminary, still being collected by state trackers. On Monday, she let me know her estimate was…More
Maybe you’ve seen the video of the Seattle Metro bus riders who wrestle a gunman to the ground less than a second after he’s pointed a gun at the wrong man’s face.
That man — sitting at the right of the frame in glasses — is looking at his smartphone, ear buds in, when the video starts. The gun appears in front of him and whoa — in one swoop he juts back, reaches for the gun and gets up to shove the gunman back down the aisle.
A reader pointed out a fascinating detail: As he shoves the man back with one hand — and you can imagine this is about the point when the man wakes up to what he’s doing and that his life is at stake — he uses his other hand to put away his smartphone.More
Well this is a first. Elliott Bay Book Company has put up small signs around its store to remind people not to showroom — as many local stores are doing to stave off the threat of online retail — and it’s linked to my column on the controversial consumer habit to do it. Seattle…More
Tech never stops. As we near the end of 2013, I thought I’d give you an update on some of the stories and habits we talked about this year.
Are you “showrooming”?
“It makes you feel kind of used,” Patti Harriman of Ravenna Third Place Books told me in May about showrooming. That’s the term for a behavior that’s putting local businesses at risk — finding something you want at a store but ordering it from someone else online, usually for less money, and sometimes right there, right from your smartphone.
It presents a conundrum: Do you buy a product at the best price, hurting the store, or do you buy from the store, hurting your wallet?More
I got this email last week from George Hickey, who told me he’s a recently retired bus driver. Hickey read my column calling for a more honest conversation about texting and driving. Hickey’s message opened with a link to comedian Louis C.K.’s takedown of the practice on a recent episode of “Conan.” C.K. has a…More
As more and more people move their money in the cloud, could cash become the outcast’s currency?
It’s a tough question, not the kind of thing you can easily analyze. Reader Sandi Kurtz shared a conversation she’s had with her family on the topic in response to my column about the uncertain future of wallets. I’ve bolded some provocative segments, and added links where appropriate.
At 57, I’m in the cohort that still uses cash regularly, and feels a bit odd if I don’t have some with me. I have a couple of credit cards, as well as the ubiquitous debit card, but use checks to pay most of my monthly bills. Online shopping has increased the number of transactions I make with a credit card.
My kid is almost 20, in his second year of college. He and his cohort have been dealing with money in the form of gift cards since they were quite small (the default birthday gift — a gift card to a bookstore). Growing up, he got allowance from us in cash, but many of his friends’ families did it all through their bank accounts. He got a credit card to go away to school (he’s in the U.K., and we wanted to make sure he could get home in an emergency) but most of his transactions now are with his debit card.
How else could he have predicted with such eerie precision, in his 2001 Newsweek column Time To Do Everything But Think, how our devices would direct our minds? Somewhere up in the canopy of society, way above where normal folks live, there will soon be people who live in a state of perfect wirelessness. They’ll…More
In middle school in Bremerton, Will Little programmed a computer to play Fairview Junior High’s fight song just for fun. He didn’t use code much again until years later, when his wife was pregnant and he Googled the phrase “make money.”
Today, Little is a software engineer, an investor and a startup advisor, and the co-founder and CEO of CodeFellows, an organization so confident its coding bootcamps can help people find a $60,000-per-year job that it refunds their tuition if they don’t.
In this week’s column I looked at the case for coding, not for students or people looking for new jobs, but for everyone. Code makes up more and more of our world. To thrive in that world, we should understand its new, digital building blocks by knowing something about how to build with them ourselves.More
Disconnecting from the technology that’s burrowed deeper and deeper into our daily lives is for a few a habit, for some an intention, and for others a nice dream. After I wrote about my weeklong disconnection while on a family trip to Colorado, many of you responded with some interesting reading material. Thing is, disconnection…More