Chester Gould Would Be Proud

Dick Tracy, eat your heart out!

Chester Gould created the hard-hitting, fast-shooting police detective who used forensic science, high tech gimmicks, and his wits to track down the bad guys Sunday after Sunday. There have been many (not terribly successful) incarnations of Tracy’s famous two-way wrist radio and his later two-way wrist TV.

Cell phones, particularly the push-to-talk varieties, may have outshone that clunky cartoon version but Skype is the real Amen, boys, hitch up two-way wrist TV.

Amsterdam has about 20 times
the average Internet speed of North Puffin.

Hold that thought.

I really didn’t want to Skype. See, I didn’t much want to put on clothes just to answer the phone. I never understood why women in my mother’s generation checked their hair in the hall mirror before picking up the receiver.

The patio stone deliberately has no built in web cam, so I bought a video cam when I needed to pack up the seven tons of astro gear Rufus left in my little house in South Puffin. I got a deal, see, on a pair of [famous brand] clip on bugs that sit atop my monitor. The two of them, in OEM packaging cost a little less than one good one from anyone else. And the quality wasn’t too too bad once I figured out how to turn the darned things on.

No, I don’t use them both at once for 3-D. I have one each in North and South Puffin.

The more we Skype, the more I’m liking this Skyping thing. I’ve been hanging out a bit.

Skype is addictive. On Saturday, I watched Liza Arden eat a Bagel-Shaped-Object as we puttered and hung out and Skyped the morning away.

Skype is addictive. The mobile app works on both Android and iPhones. Unfortunately, the fine print shows it restricts U.S. users to Wi-Fi only calls. Naturally, a developer hacked the app within days of its release to work over 3G. Still pretty clunky there.

Skype is addictive. Seventh graders in Calgary, Alberta, participated in the year-long “Cigar Box Project.” The kids learned Canadian history by using technology to blend historical images and artifacts into their own creations. And they Skyped with National Museum curator Sheldon Posen.

Skype is addictive. Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust in Reading, England, is working on giving the people the option of using Skype to speak to their relatives in hospital rather than visiting them each day. The next best thing to being there and, so far, bacteria haven’t figured out how to travel over fiber-optic cables.

We’re sorry. Your Internet Connection Speed
is too slow to support decent video.

Ms. Arden and I have experienced that pop-up recently as her cable provider switched her from her previously rocketing reach to dial-up speeds. She put in a trouble ticket but our North American infrastructure lags the European fiber-optic networks with their gigabit speeds. The company Level 3 now has ultra-low-latency routes with circuit speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second on some city-to-city cables.

Facebook has announced the launch of
video calling in partnership with Skype.
Can Google Plus be far behind?

Skype is addictive but does Skype — now the face of Facebook — toll the end of social networking? Whether we FOOF or FOOG, the “normal” use of those pages is slightly delayed conversations between a potentially big number of peeps (how many FB friends do you have?). The social part works because we can time slice a little piece out of our other activities to stay in touch.

Video conferencing is real time in a way a traditional phone call never has been.

I’ve written before that time is a finite resource. Balancing expectations remains the hardest part of our juggling lives.

“I do enjoy seeing what we’re doing, but find it tethers me too too much,” Rufus said. “It (can be) a good, clear connection, but I prefer being able to move around and do other stuff while we yatter, so hanging out doesn’t eat into my ability to get other things done.”

The next great addition to our communications arsenal may be a (wait for it) cordless phone. Actually it will be a cordless remote for the computer-with-the-Skype-connection that makes at least the talking and listening from afar easier. Or Skype on the tablet. Or on a two-way wrist TV.

And a faster Internet connection.

FOOF /v intransitive/: Faffing Off On Facebook
FOOG (formerly “GOOF”) /v intransitive/: Doing the same on Google Plus
Gigabit /n/ Really really fast. For now.

8 thoughts on “Chester Gould Would Be Proud

  1. I just want to add to your glossary.
    “Peep, as used by most of Dick’s peeps, is a person who follows you, either by regularly reading and commenting on your blog or within other social network structures, or by reporting to you in a small team at the office.

    “Peep as used by Dick is simply shorthand for ‘people’.”

    Enjoyable, especially since you added a glossary for those of your reading public who are not your peeps.

    No, wait. I had one more comment. I find it very awkward when I use bungee cords to attach my Moto XOOM tablet to my wrist. Do you have any suggestions?

  2. Your nom-de-Skype is whatever you use to log into Skype with. Once ‘pon a time, I used gekko59. I think I still have that Skype account, but I don’t use it. Created a new account using something more like my real name when I thought to use Skype to telecommute to work and wanted to get rid of my VOiP line. Wouldn’t do to appear as “gekko” to the bosses up in Chicagoland.

    But I’m not a fan of talking on phones or chat. And video, only with certain select few people. Not a phone person, me. Nope. Not.

  3. I’m thinking the Chicagoland bosses knew gekko anyway.

    I have to agree, though, about using the phone — video or audio-only — just for calls that are my choice. Thank goodness for Mr. Darwin, since I may have made the cut.

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