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.