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Screenosphere: Do you remember your very first screen?

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

And so we begin the first installment of Screenosphere, a regular look at all things related to the screens that rule our lives. So what exactly does that mean?  Take a peek around you and you’ll notice a bevy of bevels.  A litany of lights.  A gaggle of gamma.  Content is everywhere!

Our world has become so inundated with data screens wherever we go that escaping them has become near to impossible. Whether you find them under the Gorilla Glass on our smartphones, or displaying data on monitors that hover above our heads, the modern digital display screen is ubiquitous.

Moreso than that, a good digital screen can go a long way in helping the disabled navigate the world around them. 

So do we ever really think about them?  For purpose, placement or pleasure?  I do.  You should too.  There are literally tons of screens that surround us at all times and go a long way to keeping us both sane and insane.

Let’s start with the insane...the most ridiculous screen in existence and the one that grinds on me the most right now is the very first screen that I encountered as a returning student to George Brown College in Toronto.

You’ve seen this abomination before, usually waiting at the grocery store deli counter.  Still doesn’t 'ring a bell'?  How about while waiting for a drivers license or health card or somewhere equally abysmal.  A simple red numbered LED that pings us with an annoying and halting tone when it’s our turn for the chicken feed - ahem - our turn to be served. Usually the ping is accompanied by a tiny scrap of paper with your number on it.  

I was thinking about this terrible screen - what we'll call the 'Now Serving' screen - greeting students at the registrar desk when you arrive for your first interaction with Student Services at George Brown College.  You’d think with the billions being spent on social media, someone would come up with an inventive way to re-imagine this experience.  As for the paper with our service number on it, at least give us a game of Sudoku to play while waiting for our digits to be called.  

But seriously, it is difficult to imagine that the entire end-user experience of countless counter lineups is still this terrible flashing red beacon.  Ouch, my eyes!  Worse still, there remains not a single person alive on planet Earth who has been joyously served by screens like this.  Sheesh, a real first-world problem if there ever was one.

Another example of an insane screen? Google Glass.  Not familiar? These are the eyeglasses that actually project directly to your eyeball from a lens just inches away from your face.  If you aren’t sick of the looks that people give you when chatting with SIRI on your iPhone, you’ll be sure to love shouting ‘OK Glass’ into the air to command this transhumanist toy.  Keep this one off your list of gifts for the Amish in your life.

Realistically, Google Glass does stand a chance at helping some differently-abled individuals to explore the world, but the prohibitive pricing will keep most on social assistance away from this glorified toy.

As for sane and positive screen experiences, think back to your first.  For some it’ll be a television monitor, but for many Millennials, it might even be a computer screen or early Personal Digital Assistant.  Remember the awe with which we had for these devices at such a young age?  Little did we know back then that we’d be hooked from such a young age to the digital life.

I remember my first screen and it was a good one.  I’ll be dating myself here but the first screen I can recall is an old SONY ‘big screen’ which was quite literally that.  A giant concave surface with a rollout mirror on a fold-out bench to project the television broadcasts.  Our family prized this TV for nearly 25 years.   I prized it because I could hook up an old Nintendo to it and blast video games five times larger than what my friends were used to.  Luckily for everyone, giant LCD screens are nearly everywhere now so everyone can enjoy a sixty inch PlayStation experience.

But it's not just game-playing these screens are revolutionalizing, its the navigation of our world.  Being disabled isn't fun, but the provision of GPS, digital maps and helpful information screens is making the world an easier place to live in.

Until next time...Tweet @TorontoDigital with your earliest screen experiences...

Tweetacular Twitbits: I’m a firm believer that everyone should have a cool Twitter experience and that begins with a great username.  Okay bunny rabbits, with that in mind, here are some Twitter accounts still available for your pleasure...@PlayToronto @FunnyToronto @FunkToronto @TorontoGothic @FansToronto @FantasyToronto @CanadaFantasy @ComicsCanada @ComicsToronto @comics_toronto @CosplayToronto @TorontoCosplay @SciFiToronto @TorontoSciFi …Any thoughts on Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in the recent biographical film?  Hardly Oscar-worthy but definitely enjoyable for us full frontal nerds...Got something digital you want to see covered here? Peter Harris can be reached @TorontoDigital for your comments or hearty criticisms.

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