Keeping up with the Unkeepupable

As I write this on my desktop computer, my iPhone is standing upright beside me streaming the September 2015 Apple Special Event. This is a recipe for distraction, but time in the Bonham household is very limited as of late due to keeping up with our two girls (one a very busy toddler and the other a wriggling pre-toddler), and I have no idea when I’d get around to watching the keynote otherwise.

The keynote is fascinating in that one lifestyle disrupting technology after another is being announced, including the following (so far):

  • A watch operating system (Apple Watch) powerful enough for doctors to monitor pregnant patients at their houses. Just imagine a pregnant woman at home talking into her wrist to her doctor as she is wondering if it’s time to make a beeline for the hospital.
  • A tablet (iPad Pro) more powerful and versatile than most laptops in use today. Just imagine a business man on the plane beside you holding up a plate the size of a small coffee table to annotate a Microsoft Word document with a snazzy new Apple Pencil while you’re just hoping that your ears don’t stop up from the sudden altitude changes.
  • Did I mention the Apple Pencil? Yes, Apple has just announced a digital pencil. Just imagine the pained expression of someone who has just accidentally dropped a $100 pencil down a sidewalk grate.
  • A new television box (the new Apple TV) that will change how people entertain themselves every night. Just imagine people shouting questions to Siri asking  questions like “Is this actor married?” while you’re trying to focus on the plot.
Apple TV
There is an app for that, everywhere

This is one event in one day, yet the way we interact with technology is about to change drastically, yet again. It is too much for any mortal to keep up with, yet it seems we have only a few choices in response to the onslaught of technology and information we are being bombarded with. These choices are as follows:

  • Choice 1: Drown – Rapidly embrace all the new technology and information choices with little discernment, letting them erode our relationships and attention spans as we fritter away time we can never reclaim.
  • Choice 2: Stick Our Heads in the Sand – Ignore the changes for as long as possible until we realize our grandmothers know more about Facebook than we do, and the jobs we’re applying for require us to use and understand many forms of social media.
  • Choice 3: Go Off-the-grid – Bypass society and technology altogether. This is the route of homeless people or “The Jesus Guy”, a traveling preacher who wears no shoes, carries no money, and only eats and drinks when others feed him or give him water. Check out the amazing documentary if you get the chance.
The Jesus Guy
A man who is probably not watching the Apple Special Event

In my personal history I have dabbled in the “Drown” and the “Head in the Sand” approaches, with mixed results. I have never lived off the grid, but we should not mock those who have managed this impressive feat too quickly. Still, I believe there is perhaps another choice, and it is one we are trying to employ as a family.

Choice 4: Use Technology as a Tool, but Put Relationships First – Yes, this choice is a mouthful, but at its core it recognizes that technology CAN present useful tools for facilitating connections and simplifying complicated tasks, but if left unchecked, technology can also become our master and WE can all too quickly become the tools.

I’ve worked in software for around fifteen years, primarily as a designer who has sought to make technology easier for humans to use. As technological change accelerates, we are all faced with a choice about whether we will make technology our tool and put relationships first, or we will become tools and lose everything that matters in the process. This site will document things our family has found helpful to create space and preserve energy to pursue things that matter most to our lives, even as we stumble and make mistakes in the process.

Thanks for reading, and I hope we are able to provide hope for anyone who is struggling to keep up with the unkeepupable and help you find the way out of technological bondage towards productive life.

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