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GeekNights Monday - Babies and Accelerating Technology

Tonight on GeekNights, we talk about kids growing up today and how they seem to be adapting technology into their lives (both for good and for ill), simultaneously more and less competent with it than their parents, and how the "digital divide" may be sharper than we realize. In the news, Amazon now has a 3D printing store, and the newly discovered CrAssphage wins the award for most aptly named virus.

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  • This topic speaks to me, as my little girl just recently turned 3. The part about tech moving increasingly faster relative to generational shifts is very true. There is no manual for this shit, and it can be very hard to parse out the legitimate science from the woo. Parenting is the woo capital of the world when it comes to advice.

    Here are some random thoughts about my approach, and "kids these days" observations:
    • One thing we did attempt to follow was the generally accepted advice of "No TV until age 2." If people tell you it's because TV rots the brain, they are idiots. All the studies show is that watching TV puts the infant mind into a sort of stasis. They don't really get anything out of it, nor does it hurt them. On the contrary, they could be doing something that pushes them along with those minutes/hours. For us, this only lasted until 18 months when she had major heart surgery, and was supposed to be near immobile for 6 weeks. How else do you occupy a kid that age? By that point it seemed like she was ready for it anyway.
    • Her introduction to TV was not a passive show, but was Kirby on an NES. I wanted her to think of the TV as primarily something you interact with. Make this little blob move. Make it jump. She could barely do it, but she got it. Now she watches tons of shows, but I wanted that to be her starting point. Was this smart or dumb? I have no idea.
    • We have never had cable TV during her life. All she knows is that TV comes from the HTPC, and Netflix is the big red god in the sky. This means she has never seen a commercial. Crazy!
    • The touchscreen thing is absolutely true, and I had to work hard to train her out of the touchscreen assumption. This might have been easier for us than most because she is not allowed to touch our phones. I see so many parents walking around with shattered-screen iPhones, and sure enough, they are waiting in line somewhere while the infant drools on the touchscreen. Go figure. She does have a Leapfrog-brand kids tablet with some basic software, but that requires a stylus for the touchscreen to work, so it's helped her realize that all devices are a little bit different.
    • I realized early on that with all of the touchscreens, she might never see a keyboard and mouse. I got her a copy of Mario Paint of off eBay and set up a spare SNES on a little TV in her play area. She is obsessed with it and now knows how a mouse works.
    • Kids are so aware of instant photos and videos now. Embrace it. Buy them a kid-safe digital camera. She has some chunky plastic Fisher Price one and it's awesome to see a kid so young able to explore photography the way we do. Take a ton of pictures, then review them on the little LCD.
    I really don't know what I'm going to do when it comes to actual computer use. I'm just winging all of this, reading and researching where I can, but there is no perfect manual. All I can follow is the golden rule of not pushing too hard, but at the same time creating the proper environment. She's got my curiosity. All I've got to do is leave the keys to techno-wizardry just within reach. When she sneaks into the closet she's not supposed to go in and takes apart the old laptop in there, she'll get a stern talking but also a pat on the head.
  • Scott, foley is named after Mr. Foley.
  • Matt, I have so much respect for you considering all that stuff. Enlightening read.

    I'll listen to the show tonight.
  • "Really, 2D printing is something that..."

    As someone who works in a college computer lab, let me see how loud I can laugh.

    We charge $0.10 a page. Your student fees cover the first $25 dollars of printing. We've had to authorize people's accounts to go $100 beyond the $25 you get.

    Fuck. Education. Professors.
  • See? People don't own printers anymore, so they need to pay for printing.

    I recall a time where the idea of owning a computer and not a printer was ridiculous. They came together. New computer? New printer.
  • Rym said:

    See? People don't own printers anymore, so they need to pay for printing.

    I recall a time where the idea of owning a computer and not a printer was ridiculous. They came together. New computer? New printer.

    It's probably more that they own crummy, slow inkjets, and are being asked to run off literally more than a thousand pages by their professors.

    ($125/$0.10 = 1250 pages)
  • At RIT, my professors refused to accept printed copies of papers. Digital only.
  • At Warren Wilson, where environmental consciousness has begun to resemble a cult, most of the professors ask for hard copies. We have to click through an extra window telling us the carbon footprint of the print job.
  • Rym said:

    At RIT, my professors refused to accept printed copies of papers. Digital only.

    We have professors here that have been teaching since before I was in elementary school. We have professors that refuse to allow you to take notes on a laptop.
  • My macro course was hard copies only. I had an EE lab that required a hard and digital copy. Most things are digital only but far from all, even at RIT.
  • Foley is named after the inventor of the process, Jack Foley. This is foley in action.
  • Foley in action.

  • This is both hilarious and amazing to watch.
  • The Lightsaber sound was actually a microphone/cable(likely bad cable or mic) moved near a television set.
  • I stand corrected.
  • Foley in action.
  • Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
  • Not working in a medical environment - print maybe 2 documents a year.
    Working in a medical environment - printer would be pushing out pages 1 or more pages per 2 minutes.
  • My wife prefers printing hard copies of her design work to proofread as she finds it easier to read than a computer monitor. As for me, about the only things I print on a regular basis are airplane boarding passes (becoming less necessary as airlines start allowing you to have them on your smartphone) and envelopes for the occasional times I need to send something by snail mail.
  • edited September 2014
    "Bear shitting in the woods syndrome" is called "noticing". You're far more likely to notice things in the wild once you've already been introduced to them, even though they were always there.
    Post edited by Ruffas on
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