Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Which finger is your iFinger?

The urban dictionary defines the iFinger as "the finger(s) you purposely keep clean when you eat something messy so you could operate your touchscreen smartphone/tablet/GPS without making the screen look like your plate." Interesting. 
At a recent visit to a respectable fast food establishment which shall remain shameless, I was eating a burger and reading an email from the digital interface of my handheld device (to sound generic enough). Something about how I was holding my tasty entree, caught my attention. Wouldn't you know it, my pinky finger was sticking straight out. Now, if you saw me you would know I'm not effeminate, nor am I an Englishman, but my pinky was just wagging out there away from that burger just as tidy and anxious as ever. I picked up a french fry and the same thing happened, except this time I think I actually heard it whisper a scream, "USE ME!" and suddenly, I become aware of the fact that it was my iFinger.
 Here's an analogy for you: my immaculate pinky finger is to my idevice, as a holster is to a gun. Or for those taking the SAT's: My Immaculate Pinky Finger :: iDevice as Holster :: Gun. As a digital outlaw I dare not go anywhere without it.  If my iFinger is dirty, I'm a Jedi without a light-saber and am perfectly useless. Get it? I don't know who was the first person to ever use this word, but they did, then someone else used it and now its in some obscure internet dictionary that nerds like me get a chuckle from once in a while.
This is just one of many such terms coined by the dawn of the new wireless age. At the risk of loosing half my readers here is a small list of more techno-jargon you may or may not have heard: Podcasting, Tweeting, War-texting, data furnace, Web 2.0, cyber bullying, privacy Zuckering, superworm, botnets, etc. Check out more by clicking here. If you can figure out how to use them in a sentence you could win a dongle full of bitcoins.
 The world is changing faster than you can blink an eye or load kilobyte, and our language is changing with it. One day our kids might ask us, "What is a CD?" or "Why are you still on Myspace, you old geezer?" And we can reply the same way our parents responded when we asked them what a gramaphone was, "Quit back talking, you little twit!"
If you want to be the kind of person that makes a chimp look smart, stop reading. But if you want a little help keeping up with an ever changing world stay tuned. 
First question: Why? Why is technology evolving so fast? Second question: Ever heard of reading silently? Geez... Anyway, Moore's law is a term that describes this rapid increase in technological advances. Remember when digital camera's used to be 4.0 megapixels? Now they are around 15.0 megapixels and the mole on Aunt Ralph's nose can be zoomed in to epic proportions. A couple years ago computers came with 80 gigabytes of storage for your iTunes library of pop rock and emo albums and now the standard is 1000 GB, and they are calling it a terabyte. Look out Hanson Brothers, get ready for a comeback tour.
The industrial revolution started the proverbial snowball rolling with steamboats, trains and radios which terrified the Amish. Everyone else succumbed to the sudden onslaught of progress and adjusted nicely, except for Mr. Yoder. Cars, refrigerators, televisions, all had an assembly line of humans putting parts together, so technology only moved as fast as the slowest guy could put a vacuum tube on the commode of an airplane's rear end. The difference is, back then we were building things by hand. Now, scientists are building computers that can build faster computers and those computers are figuring out how to build faster computers. There are even some showoff scientists who are building small computers that are being programmed to build even smaller computers called nanocomputers, and it may lead to the cure for cancer. Have you noticed that uber-bright 17-year-old girl from California on the news anywhere? Apparently for a science project she decided to create a miniscule robot for a science class that is said to be able to destroy cancer cells. "What the...?" you may be asking the cosmos. Believe it, ladies. Imagine a tiny Chuck Norris marching through your blood vessels fragging nasty doodads that make you sick.
Let's see, at 17, I invented exactly nothing...Oh yeah there was that cardboard box I cut holes into and turned into a base for my Lego masterpiece. Boom! Take that Einstein girl.  I guess the world of computers and technology isn't moving too fast for her to keep up. As for the rest of us, there are ways around this seemingly insurmountable obstacle.
So how do we keep up? How do we stay poignant in conversations with our kids or the neighborhood computer hacker? I'll tell you what I do. I watch and read science fiction. I got hooked on Star Trek, memorized entire scenes from Back to the Future, and threw Star Wars parties. Even settling down with a good H.G. Wells novel or Isaac Asimov story kept me relevant. If you do this, you'll see something in one of those imaginative stories that will make you realize you are living in the future. iPads, rechargeable batteries, electric cars, and wireless tracking monitor bracelets, all foretold through science fiction. Once you have a few science fiction stories under your belt, walk into Best Buy and see what's there. Ask a blue shirt some questions if you have too. Soak it in. Pretty soon you will start gaining confidence because you will begin understanding the language of technology. So next time you're in a burger joint and you see some poor fellow eating a french fry with an extended pinky finger ask him if that finger there is his "iFinger". And then be ready to introduce him to a new technological term. It's fun.
Polar Bear Says, "When life gives you sci-fi lemons, ask for salt and tequila and sit your butt down."

P.S. if you want to know more about the things I've mentioned that are highlighted in blue all you have to do is click on it to read more. 


  1. Ok, I'm getting you loud and clear but please don't forget to enjoy the outdoors and simple and beautiful things in life either. Do we make time for both?

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