The Center of the Digitial Lifestyle

by brian d foy

I have been reading a lot of computer magazines lately, some recent but most a couple of months old, and they are all talking about digital music, and most of them, even the Windows oriented rags, talk about the iPod, whether good or bad. All of them are pushing the notion that digital music is the center of the digital lifestyle.

The magazines are probably just pandering to advertisers when they push the digital music angle. I remember, maybe correctly, that the president of Lands End once gave an interview where, when ask about which technology was the most important to their online venture, he did nto choose a web server, a programming langauge, or a particular type of computer, but bar codes. I imagine something as invisible is more at the center of my digital lifestyle.

TCP/IP - packet switching technology is the thing the internet runs on. I cannot talk to the iTunes Music Store without it.

DNS - Jon Postel showed us how to destroy the entire internet by messing up DNS. Without it we would need a yellow pages for the internet, and with IPv6 that would be a lot of numbers to remember, and Akamai would have a tougher time working the magic they work to make web sites seem fast all over the world.

802.11{abg} - Eventually I need some way to communicate with the internet, and although I hide my Apple Airport behind the TV, my work comes to a stop when it loses its broadband connection.

Email - I could do without digital music, but I am addicted to email.

CDs - all of a sudden they do not exist?

Digital TV / DVDs - I end up watching a lot more TV or Netflix movies than I listen to music, but magazines do not show those the love.

I chose rather geeky things, but without those things we would not be talking about digital music at all. I am sure that if most of you looked around, you would discover a lot of stuff you use everyday and do not even remember it is there until it stops working.

What is the center of your digital lifestyle?


2004-01-26 12:12:55
I remember someone saying the most important convenience in the modern kitchen is indoor running water.

It's always the simple things we forget about, until the break.

2004-01-29 05:21:03
email addiction
Email addiction is no overstatement. The hardware our exchange server runs on recently died. I had many of my accounts pointed to that server for convenience, so I was suddenly without email for a day or two. Then, when it came back, they didn't turn on IMAP right away, so I had to use the outlook client. I don't normally use that client for email and being without my normal email program was traumatic.

I was amazed at how much this outage affected me. So much of my daily productivity depends on email, and it was cut off. I really felt some withdrawal--and the relief when things were restored was amazing.