Some times, when you’re grocery shopping, you try something new simply because they are out of the familiar.
Like it or not.
So since the shelves at Safeway were laid bare of most Dannon Light and Fit Greek yogurt flavors, I grabbed a hodgepodge of interesting options – like so many things lately (1,000s of cat good varieties! Etc.) – you could probably live most of your life without trying the same thing twice.
One I tried today wasn’t even a yogurt at all, but something different — elli Quark, “a spoonable fresh cheese with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt but with a richer, less sour taste.” It’s pretty good!
But stumbling upon it reminded me of a couple things. (Well, three things – one is Quark XPress, a desktop publishing program of 20 years ago. But I digress, as usual.)
One is Trello – an interesting, visual project or process manager – life organizer – that our company is trying out. Like so many such systems, it looks promising – and simple, and powerful and flexible — and free. Nice! But not perfect – what is? Still, there’s a lot of potential to help organize both work and personal life – if one invests the time in learning it. Some times I think you have to learn all the bells and whistles to use something like this, when I should know better – that to ease in gracefully has its strengths.
But again, I’d never heard of it until one of our group’s other TV stations started using it.
And that reminded me of how we have these new, amazing powerful tools at our disposal – I’m reminded of that often – and yet we far too often still can’t seem to find the things we’re looking for.
Way back before Google and its ilk took firm root, but after the world began to go online, I said that online world seemed like “the world’s greatest library — with all the books on the floor.” More and more great things were out there, but how to find what you’re looking for? Now, of course, search is not only incredibly handy, but becoming ubiquitous – if you know what to ask and if the search engine really does know everything going on and can find that needle in the proverbial haystack. Two very, very, very big ifs. At times, though, it seems like all those books are back on the floor, and Google (or Bing or…?) feel as limiting in their own ways as the old Dewey Decimal System – again, it’s all there, but finding it is the challenge.
On a related note, I have decided to take a half-written book, “The Now Edition,” and probably create a Website instead – as a reporter, I value immediate distribution and feedback on my ideas, and the interaction that goes along with it. This one is full of interesting elements in my humble opinion (subtitle gives a clue: “The Social Future of Writing, Reading, Content and Conversation.”)
I’m writing this set of ideas and visions because the tool I wish existed doesn’t – it’s not a blog, but a dream of a platform to share, collaborate upon and discuss long-form content on a topic of interest or passion, one that’s as easy to use as a word processor and easy to lay out and … well, I’ll get into it more there. I imagine subscribing to topic communities, with a lot of content that fuses/mashes up the long-standing today-news of journalism and the history of other forms of literature.
I mean, why should I get an electronic version of a 3-year-old book, or a magazine that isn’t wedded to its Website/app for a seamless reading experience? I don’t want to buy a book, I want to subscribe to it – or better yet, to a community built around that book-like content. They could be a collaborative process, or just to interact with the author(s), who can wed the latest news on Topic A with the rich history on that topic that they have written about. A true e-book, not a replica of a dead-trees book from 2, 4 or more years ago.
But again, I wonder, does such a platform/program already exist out there, and perhaps my many various searches just haven’t turned it up? I have indeed found many bits and pieces, but nothing that really connects the dots as I envision. Perhaps if I write up my vision in enough detail, I’ll learn someone else is thinking like me – or it will inspire others to go in that direction.
So all that musing brings me to one of the newer buzzword trends, the Internet of Things – where everything will be wired and aware and connected, not only making everything “smart,” but also creating an even huger (not a word, I know;-) sea of data and answers and info that one must wade through to find the answer or thing you’re looking for.
Add in the needed security elements – a scary 60 Minutes piece tonight about how a hacker could take over the controls of your car! — and we could have lots more scary things to worry about than whether the Google Self-Driving Car will know to parallel park or take that left turn at Albuquerque (as Bugs Bunny does;-)
But just maybe, the supermarket shelves will get smart enough that they won’t run out of what you’re looking for. Not that I mind trying new things like elli Quark, but we all like to be creatures of habit about some things, like our morning yogurt, right?