I sit here writing this on a MacBook Pro, a laptop computer. But how long will it be before I'll be able to truly, genuinely do the same on a smartphone or a tablet? As we cover these devices day in, day out, it's easy to get swept up in the latest nerdy thing, the hottest new piece of hardware, apps or the next event we'll be taken to that will start the cycle all over again. It's easy to ignore just how much these devices actually enrich our lives.

I found myself in a discussion with my not-so-tech-savvy mother recently, describing in simple terms how the LG G3 in my hand has as much, maybe more "power" than the couple-years-old Windows laptop she uses at home. How it's no longer just a phone, but a communication tool, but a genuine personal computing device – she likes to ask how work is going and the conversation started to run away with itself.

She pretended to be interested as I carried on, but I went away thinking about what we'd been talking about. While my work still involves sitting in front of a computer, so many other parts of my life are now organized, controlled, decided upon by the phone in my pocket or the tablet in my bag. Like my – as yet to begin – racing "career."

With much assistance from some good people more knowledgable than I, Aug. 3 will see me finally fulfill a lifelong dream and take part in a real, actual, proper motor race. It's not the British GP, the Indy 500 or Daytona 24 hours, but it feels just as important to me. And virtually the entire project has been organized and recorded using whatever smartphone was in my pocket at the time. Without the need for a laptop I've been able to source and pay for a car, record various stages of stripping down, buy various parts and keep in total contact with the chap who's ultimately going to be putting it all together.

Looking at the broader picture, there are so many devices that are no longer necessary in a number of situations, all thanks to the smartphone. Camera, computer, music player, satellite navigation system, in some cases even replacing the need to use an actual credit card. All on one device that fits in a pocket.

It's something I take for granted. And I'm sure I'm not alone on that front. Mobile technology has advanced to such a point in the past few years that we're less reliant than ever on a variety of devices and more and more reliant on our smartphones. If I discover I need a part for my race car – which has certainly happened these past couple of weeks and will continue to do so – sourcing them is now such an easy process. It's hard to think we used to have to do things such as speak to a human being on the telephone, or worse still, in person, to do the same thing. I can carry all the timetables with me in my pocket, and anywhere I go I can take 5 and check out some past circuit videos on YouTube.

Our daily lives are much easier now that we can be connected wherever we go. While we're all busy getting bogged down in specs, price, operating system even, we should take a step back and look at the bigger picture from time-to-time. The things I talked about above would be trivial to someone else, but to me it made a real difference. The mobility made a real difference. It doesn't matter what your preference is, you're getting something that's going to enrich your lives and enable you to do things that we could only dream of a decade ago. And that's just terrific.


Reader comments

Remembering that all these cool devices actually enrich our lives


Those little jack stands can hold quite a bit of weight. Especially considering that most likely is a front wheel drive car and 80% of the weight is in front of the car

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2 of those jack stands held my 65 mustang in the air for three months, minus the engine while I boarded out the engine block and put in the new pistons, rings, cylinder walls and cam shaft. All it takes is engineering and math to design a tiny stand to support heavy weights.

Archimedes-- "Give me a fulcrum and a lever and I can move the world"

I've used that same style of jackstand for 35 years an never had one fail. If they're failing for you it's a quality issue or you're misusing them. Maybe get them from somewhere better than Harbor Freight or don't overload them?

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A decade ago I was using a flip phone and typing in t9. Rarely took pictures, avoided texting, did nothing online from that phone. I would print mapquest maps when going on vacation, and still bring a separate camera to events. A decade before that I was using a pay phone to call my parents to pick me up from the mall movie theatre; and I called the hot line to see what was playing at what time.

Things are certainly changing, and it gets better all the time.

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Hmm, I must be the oldest 32 year old around... I did all those same things, yet my smartphone still hasn't replaced my dedicated camera, music player, or computer like it has Richard's...

Supplanted them to an extent? Sure, but if I'm working long hours or editing photos or gaming I still want a computer (and a desktop at that. I still prefer a small decided music player over a big old smartphone on my arm/waist when I go running, and my pocket camera still takes pictures that blow away any phone.

Also, I can't for the life of me imagine how kids these days get thru high school when everyone has a camera in their pocket to document every calamity and humiliating moment.

Oh, and I'm the biggest geek in my social group yet, ironically, the first one to get irked when there's five of use hanging out yet everyone's on their phone and not really "there"... /facepalm

oh jesus.adolescent boys with video cameras and cheerleaders with skits...fagetaboutit. sex is a big enough disfraction in school im suprised any body graduated as it is.just imagine one of your high school parties being passed around on monday.

Nice article! Sometimes while whining about how a particular phone doesn't take as great a shot as another, I forget that the act of being able to take a great quality photo from something I call people with is in itself already pretty darn awesome.

Anyway, congrats on fulfilling your lifelong dream, and all the best for the race!!!

"I always think of mobile computing as personal computing. This long-term vision has led us through everything -- first the organizers and now through the smart phone space. It's like everything a personal computer is. Continue down that path. What are the implications of a world where everyone has a super high-speed Internet connection in their pocket and many gigabytes of storage, super-fast processors, audio, visual and multimedia? What are the consequences of that? How will that change computing when you have all that stuff available to you all the time? I try to think into the future." - Jeff Hawkins - July 2005

Good luck on your race this weekend, Richard!

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Yeah. We live 'easier lives' but.. Is it worth the exploitation, dangerous mining, and power/money we give to corporations? The answer for most (and apparently including me) is yes....

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Who would you rather have the power? If we give it to government them all our cool toys never get made. and dangerous mines? Maybe in South America, but in the US, mining is relatively safe, and look at what the coal mines in Wyoming do after they mine the coal if you think all mining is bad for the environment.

If the Internet has taught us anything, it's that almost a complete lack of regulation can produce amazing things.... And porn.

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Lol idk if i was a douche or not. I enjoy your spiel about porn though. I cannot.. Deny that.

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Well i really did mean mining the earth. We have to mine the chemicals to make these smart phones and other devices..
And the dangerous of mining isnt only about the US being save.

Aside from that.. I didnt want to argue but.. Why the false dichotomy? Why must we be controlled by only one of the the 2 choices? Why not a third of fourth?
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Technology is always supposed to enrich our lives and make it easier to have more free time for leisure.

In some ways it has in others it hasn't.

It has changed how we do many things, but has taken away a lot of personal interaction too.

One thing I have never overlooked is how far mobile phones have come,and I look forward to seeing how far they go still.

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It is one of the things that I love about the Note Series, both tablet and Phone. I no longer need to carry around my laptop to do a ton of stuff that I used to do. I have taken meeting notes and written many lines of code on whichever I had within reach at the time.

Tech really has helped career-wise and personally (no need to call or send out invitations to things, send a mass text and take the calls as they come in.

It has connect and disconnected people at the same time. Not necessarily a bad thing, on either end, just different.

Here's what you should really think about... You said your G3 has more computing power than windows computer of not long ago... Compare the phone to all of the computing power of NASA in the 60's during the moon landing... that includes Houston, Cape Canaveral, the space craft and more... we have more than that in our hands. Imagine what we could do if we wanted to right now? That's going to bake your noodle a bit when given that perspective. Heck, my smart watch can surpass that right now.

Good article and good luck racing. That's exciting. Once the adrenaline rush gets in your blood, you'll never want to quit. Since I got my Note 3 I sold my Nexus 7 and hardly ever use my pc anymore. All my email accounts are synced to Gmail With imap. My office is fast, reliable, and does more than my windows 7 machine.
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Good luck on the race!

I use my laptop only when I have to write an in-depth blog post or work on my schoolwork; otherwise, I'm using my tablet (TF300T) or my phone (was the Note 3, but it's now the G2; it's a step down, but it's all about affordability). It's amazing to see how times have progressed from when I was learning with my Tandy Color Computer II.

I look forward to seeing what the future brings.

It's pretty amazing when you think about it. I don't even use my laptop anymore.

Posted via Android Central App w/G2

10 years ago was when I got my first tech gear, iPod Mini. It probably had 5 GB of storage, black and white screen. Now I have the G3, 1440p (it's colored) screen and 32 GB storage (32 removable). Excited for the next 10 years.

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1) Good luck with the racing, Richard. My boss is also into racing (as a hobby) - he's got a early 90's Honda Civic which I gather would probably be slotted into the same class as you. No internal engine mods allowed (pretty much limited to intake/exhaust/ignition mods), minimal suspension/brake mods - in fact converting the rear axle from drum brakes to disc brakes would have bumped him into the next class - cars with double the horsepower he's running!

2) 10 years ago I hated texting - I'd generally just call people back because often the 30-60 second conversations would be faster then me trying to text anyway. First smartphone was a BlackBerry Pearl 8130 - in some ways I still kinda miss it

3) My job doesn't require me to use a computer - it's all customer interaction or using a cash register. Weekdays I rarely use my PC at home - and generally the only time I use it is on weekends... and even then it's just browsing the web and enjoying the experience on a 21" monitor rather then a 5" screen.

Tech is awesome but not evil or good. Tech - as quickly as it advances - is itself inert. It's a tool, just one of many that we have access to. Richard could use his mechanical knowledge and a wrench/spanner to help some poor sap who broke down on the side of the road. Richard could also use the same wrench spanner to bash someone's skull in. The wrench itself is not "good" or "evil" - the intent and manner in which it's used is. Although - I guess the same could be said for many things in our world today, not just technology!