Sitting in the airport and reflecting on the events of Friday the 13th. The world has gone mad with hatred and intolerance. It is painful to see peace becoming an innocent victim. I pray for all the lost souls, in Paris (a city I dearly love) and places where this horror plays out everyday.
Technology is a schizophrenic uncle – sometimes astonishing and sometimes it just leaves you scratching your head, wondering what the …!
Last night, I was deeply touched by the “safe” feature from Facebook in response to the murderous terror attacks in Paris. In a few seconds I was able to find out that most of my friends who were in the city were safe. In the past, this would have involved frantic phone calls and trying to trace down people. I distinctly remember September 2001, when phone networks were overwhelmed and jammed everyone scrambled to find out what was happening. In the age of smartphones and always on Internet, Facebook has replaced the phone as a tool of touch and in some ways made it more efficient.
I was up most of the night watching France24, BBC and other networks around the world to find more news and perspectives – while scanning Twitter and other social platforms. I did sleep for a few hours but woke up and scrambled to get ready and head to the airport. And that’s when crazy technology reared its ugly head, thanks to Uber.
Earlier this morning, when ordering an Uber, the screen showed that car was about a minute away. Click, and that miner turned into 8 minutes away. Uber has become more and more disingenuous in what they display is time-to-curb and actual time the car arrives. But that’s only part of the problem. For some odd reason the app always puts the pin about a block away from my apartment. By now I must have ordered car from this location about a thousand times and yet the system hasn’t smartened up. This tells me the distance between Uber with human drivers and Uber with no drivers is very long! The drivers too complain about weird routes on Uber GPS and I suspect that is because Uber shifted away from Google Maps. Hopefully they will get better, now that they have signed a deal with TomTom.
While waiting for my plane, I read this well written post by Parker Molloy. She breaks down the “anatomy of Internet outrage in media” and I couldn’t agree with her more. We have seen the devolution of online media because we have to feed the “feed monster” as Talk Radio and later Talk Cable fed the empty airwaves.
I also enjoyed this piece by Justin Ellis over on Neimanlab. He is leaving to be a senior editor at ESPN Magazine. His exit letter is a series of funny #hottakes. Good news, I think he might be able to use his cultural analogies more often for the magazine.
Oh as a passing note, you don’t have to take out your iPad Pro at the airport — I asked.
San Francisco Airport, November 14, 2015