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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

Category: Tech Devotion
October 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Don’t spoil the smartwatch: A better direction for our most personal device

The watch my husband’s grandmother gave him has a blue face, a silver metal band, and very little time left. There’s a good chance, some people think, that Apple’s new “smartwatch” will help end the 500-year reign of the mechanical timepiece when it’s released next year, strapping to our wrists the 24/7 digital universe…

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Comments | More in Column, Gadgets, Health, Tech Devotion

February 15, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Hack your life: Pioneering Seattle event makes habit change a group effort

“We’re here to change habits, change lives,” James Norris told 100 people gathered on the first floor of Pioneer Square’s Impact Hub. “You guys are all part of a movement.” It was the kickoff to Spark Weekend Seattle, a first-of-its-kind, two-day event Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 that got my attention as soon as…

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Comments | More in Column, Events, Habits, Seattle, Tech Devotion

November 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Four digital divides: Where do you stand?

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Maybe you’ve heard of the “digital divide.”

It’s a term coined in the ’90s to refer to the mostly socioeconomic gap between people who can access information technologies and those who can’t. The concept gave thinkers and policymakers a grasp on a new problem: For more people to prosper, the digital divide would need to be closed.

I’ve been thinking about digital divides a lot lately, but rarely in this traditional sense. Tech has come a long way in 20 years, and it’s raised all kinds of sticky new issues. It’s made me think: If we take a fresh look at what divides us in our use of tech, we might get a better grip on whether we’re headed somewhere we want to be.

So here goes: I think there are four digital divides that matter. As we consider them, ask yourself: Where am i on these divides? And do they all demand to be resolved, or in some ways, protected?

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Comments | More in Code, Column, Conversation, Education, Identity, People, Privacy, Security, Tech Devotion

October 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

The Age of Context: When technologies understand us, will we understand them?

Author, blogger and tech enthusiast Robert Scoble answers questions about his book while sporting Google Glass over his glasses at a gathering of techies in South Lake Union Wednesday. (MONICA GUZMAN / SEATTLE TIMES)

Author, blogger and tech enthusiast Robert Scoble answers questions about his book while sporting Google Glass over his glasses at a gathering of techies in South Lake Union Wednesday. (MONICA GUZMAN / SEATTLE TIMES)

Clothing stores that know what you like. Self-driving cars that know where you’re going. Sensors that warn you’ll have a heart attack days before you have it. Bars that serve your favorite drink minutes before you sit down.

This isn’t fantasy. It’s the future.

It’s described in “The Age of Context,” the second book by tech enthusiast and former Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble and business journalist Shel Israel. The book is a parade of newborn technologies and an analysis of trends in mobile, social media, data, sensors and location technology that all lead to one compelling conclusion: The world we’re headed to is a world that knows us. One where commerce, transportation, health care, service and learning are transformed by technologies smart enough to not just meet our needs but anticipate them. It’s a world where we are safer, stronger and more powerful than we ever dreamed.

But there’s a cost: For the world to open up to you, you have to open up to the world. You have to share more and more of all those trackable, quantifiable behaviors we’ve come to call your personal data.

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Comments | More in Column, Disruption, Mobile, Seattle, Tech Devotion

August 31, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Want to learn the world’s most powerful language?

Hadi Partovi

Hadi Partovi

“Fill in the blank with the biggest thing you feel is true,” I asked Hadi Partovi, reading off my notebook in a small downtown conference room. “ ‘Learning how to code is as important as learning … ’”

Partovi put his head in his hands and thought for a long moment.

“I would say it’s as important as learning the basics of science,” he said. “Anything you learn in sixth grade, learning to code is as important as that.”

Partovi, a Seattle investor and entrepreneur who’s sold companies to Microsoft and MySpace, is easily the strongest, most passionate advocate anywhere for the importance of learning how to code. In eight months his nonprofit, Code.org, has ignited a push from its small Second Avenue office to see coding taught in every American school. In China, students must learn code to graduate.

Here, 90 percent of schools don’t teach it. And in most states, taking a coding class doesn’t even count toward graduation.

But to me the most compelling argument for learning how to code is not about schools or even jobs, mighty as those motivators are, and should be. It’s about these basics. On Earth, atoms make things up, and gravity makes things fall. On digital, instructions code behaviors that build systems that every day run more and more of our lives. How we talk. How we move. How we exchange goods and services and information.

Code isn’t how a world works. It’s how the world works.

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Comments | More in Code, Column, Education, Habits, People, Seattle, Tech Devotion

August 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Thinking about disconnecting? Here’s a short reading list

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…

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Comments | More in Habits, Reactions & Resources, Tech Devotion

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