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We ignore the people who love us, in order to carry on conversations of dubious relevance | by Ed Yourdon
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We ignore the people who love us, in order to carry on conversations of dubious relevance

This couple was sitting at one of the outside tables at a Le Pain Quotidien restaurant, located on Broadway between 91st and 92nd Street. I had the impression that the young man had been staring at the woman for several minutes while she pecked away at the keyboard of her Blackberry device...

 

Note: this photo was published in a June 2009 BooRah blog about Le Pain Quotidien. It was also publised in an Aug 5, 2009 blog titled "Keep Talking, I’m Listening – NOT."

 

Moving into 2010, the photo was published in a Mar 3, 2010 blog titled "A Romantic Moment: Something to Savor or Broadcast?" And it was published in an Apr 13, 2010 Romanian blog titled "Cat rezisti fara telefon." It was also published in a Jun 8, 2010 blog titled "Hedging Your Bets." And it was published in an undated (late Sep 2010) blog titled "Lots Of Phone Cases For You." It was also published in a Dec 9, 2010 blog titled "Presently Somewhere Else."

 

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Mar 22, 2011 blog titled "My Life Without A Cell Phone: An Amazing Tale Of Survival," as well as a Mar 21, 2011 blog titled "An ‘electric’ way to reduce lower back pain – Israel 21C." And it was published in an undated (early Jun 2011) Russian blog titled "Как Разжечь в Нем Интерес на Первом Свидании." It was also published in a Jul 1, 2011 "The Vine" blog, with the same caption and detailed notes as this Flickr page. And it was published in an Aug 11, 2011 blog titled "15 normas de etiqueta digital para novatos (y no tan novatos)." It was also published in an Aug 22, 2011 blog titled "7 Powerful Tips To Becoming a Better Listener," the text of which was republished in a Sep 1, 2011 blog titled "Can I Have Your Attention?" And it was published in an undated (early Sep 2011) "Mag for Women" blog titled "10 Funny Excuses To Get Out Of A Bad Date."

 

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 2,2012 blog titled "Stebo ging off-line...." And it was published in an Apr 4, 2012 blog titled "Upper Back Pain – Numerous Causes Uncovered." It was also published in a May 10, 2012 blog titled "Logistical problems still hinder the contribution method that has proved successful for charitable giving." And it was published in a May 23, 2012 blog titled "ACTUALIZADO: NÚMEROS DE SMS PREMIUM CANCELADOS (2012)." It was also published in a Jun 11, 2012 Forbes blog titled "Help! My Husband Doesn't Support My Business Idea." And it was published in a Jun 13, 2012 blog titled "Ignoramos a las personas sue amamos," as well as an Aug 31, 2012 blog titled "Another Nightmare On Elm Street."

 

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Feb 22, 2013 blog titled "Spending Attention." It was also published in a Jun 15, 2013 blog titled "You Will Spend Over $17,000 on Dating in Your Lifetime." And it was published in an Aug 26, 2013 blog titled glidea.com/blog/48, as well as an Oct 10, 2013 blog titled "A Scientific Guide to the Perfect First Date." It was also published in an Oct 19, 2013 blog titled "Six Things Guys Should Never Say to a Woman." And it was published in a Nov 4, 2013 Atlantic magazine blog titled "How Not to Be a Jerk With Your Stupid Smartphone," as well as a Nov 21, 21013 blog titled "We Have Trouble Communicating."

 

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Looking back on some old photos from 40-50 years ago, I was struck by how visible the differences were between the culture of then, versus the culture of now. In some cases, it was evident from the things people wore, or carried, or did, back then which they no longer do today. But sometimes it was the opposite: things that didn't exist back in the 1960s and 1970s have become a pervasive part of today's culture.

 

A good example is the cellphone: 20 years ago, it simply didn't exist. Even ten years ago, it was a relatively uncommon sight, and usually only on major streets of big cities. Today, of course, cell phones are everywhere, and everyone is using them in a variety of culture contexts.

 

However, I don't think this is a permanent phenomenon; after all, if you think back to the early 1980s, you probably would have seen a lot of people carrying Sony Walkmans, or "boom-box" portable radios -- all of which have disappeared...

 

If Moore's Law (which basically says that computers double in power every 18 months) holds up for another decade, then we'll have computerized gadgets approximately 100 times smaller, faster, cheaper, and better -- which means far better integration of music, camera, messaging, and phone, but also the possibility of the devices being so tiny that they're embedded into our eyeglasses, our earrings, or a tattoo on our forehead.

 

So the point of this album is to provide a frame of reference -- so that we can (hopefully) look back 10-20 years from now, and say, "Wasn't it really weird that we behaved in such bizarre ways while we interacted with those primitive devices?"

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Taken on May 25, 2009