Daily Archives: February 16, 2010

The little "joys" and "pains" of technology

I feel like I have been gone from my blog for some time. In actuality, only a week has gone by. Perhaps this is the beginning of me getting more consumed by the things of this online world…ok, enough of that! I digress.

Today I am amazed by what technology offers up to us with a very specific example.

I am currently collaborating with a colleague in Virginia and another colleague in Nevada. I’m amazed at how easily these collaborations have come together. I have a question about my dataset – BAM! There’s an email waiting in my inbox answering my question with any files attached that I may need.

It is crazy to me to think of collaboration as happening in any other way. Heck, I often collaborate with my advisor (who is a floor beneath me) and the researcher in the office next to me purely through email. Certainly, we have our moments of meeting face to face, but the majority of our work-related communication is purely online.

As an individual who was born into this online world generation…well, almost…I certainly remember the first time we got internet in my house. Oh the sweet days of dial up – click of a button *insert annoying modem dial sound here* and in just a bit you were “online.” Of course, those were the days you had to be fully committed to searching the web because you’d be waiting forever for a single web page to load. Oh how far we have come and I can barely think of a world where these possibilities did not exist.

But this increase in ability to collaborate and the lightning speed at which all communication flies seems to mean one thing to me — I have to do more. The amount of work being done, things getting published, collaborations happening are all increasing at an exponential rate, and I cannot help but think it has something to do with the speed at which everything is happening. Think about it – you can easily edit, copy, paste, and move text around in a word file; thus, no longer giving you an excuse as to why it’s taking you so long to write that manuscript or edit that book chapter. You can quickly and easily hand documents back and forth between colleagues which means the average time something stays away from my desk = 24 hours or less. But is it possible our technologies are outrunning our intellect?

It seems to me that I rarely have time to ponder a moment or think in depth about what I want to write or how I want an experiment to look. I am just overwhelmed by the masses of information available to me (published works) and my own inability to keep up with the work I should be doing given the ease and flexibility of writing and editing documents and sending them between colleagues.

So today, I write a simple post in both amazement and weariness.