End of Decade Musings: How Technology Has Robbed and Twisted Us

Kids lining up against the wall with smartphones
Kids lining up against the wall with smartphones
Tech mania happens early. Why?

The Particle Debris article of the week comes from Chris Matyszczyk at ZDNet.

“2009-2019: How Apple, Google, and friends drove us mad.”

Author Matyszczyk launches the impressive missive with:

When a decade ends, it’s time to look in the mirror. Do we like what we see? How much should we blame technology?

… Has the world become more open and connected, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised? Or have we all become bitterly divided, nauseatingly irritable vessels of barely diluted bile?

I my mind, tech life sanity depends on three things:

  1. What circles you reside in.
  2. How you approach personal computing decisions & strategies.
  3. Having a certain modesty & restraint.

Not everything touted by tech giants, with fanfare, needs to be embraced. Not every personal activity needs to be flouted in public. Not every app urged by a friend on Facebook needs to be engaged. Author Matyszczyk notes:

We got so excited about posting our every thought, mood and self-image to Facebook and Instagram that we didn’t bother to consider the consequences.

Equally, tech companies got so excited about releasing more and more gadgets, software and liberating libertarian ideas that they didn’t stop to consider what the dark-spirited might do with them.

This article goes on for a bit, but the more you read it, the more you realize how frenzied and complex our tech lives have become. At this time of year when we both focus on friends and family and count our blessings, author Matyszczyk provides plenty of food for thought.

And perhaps inspiration for our life moving forward.

The Week’s News Debris

ORNL supercomputer, Summit
Photo courtesy Katie Bethea/ORNL.

• The U.S. has regained the performance lead from China in supercomputers. “DOE still has top two supercomputers, including Summit at ORNL.” Peak speed was published as 200.8 PetaFlops.

The U.S. Department of Energy still has the two most powerful supercomputers in the world, including Summit at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, according to a semiannual list released Monday.

It’s the fourth time in the past two years that Summit, an IBM-built supercomputer, has been number one on the TOP500 list of of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

• If you plan to give your credit card information to various websites during holiday shopping, watch out for this scam. “Scammers try a new way to steal online shoppers’ payment-card data.

• Here’s some supply chain info about the iPhone 12 as well as well as a prediction for the iPhone SE 2. From MacRumors: “Barclays: iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max Will Likely Have 6GB of RAM, iPhone SE 2 Production to Begin February.” Cult of Mac has yet more detail.

• Jonny Evans at Apple Must wonders: “Is Apple building a team to elevate the podcasting industry?

Though the tried and tested truth is that when Apple enters a new space, things usually get interesting – and as big tech gets into this sector you can predict the increasingly rapid consolidation and the creation of new media companies in the industry….

• Finally, we all know how to create encrypted .DMG files. But The Eclectic Light Company has published as nice tutorial on how (and why) to create encrypted sparse bundles in APFS. “How to encrypt files and folders in APFS.” Bookmark this one.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The topic line said everything and article is really cool.


W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: Chris Matyszczyk was not having a happy day when he penned his ZDNet piece; in fact, it read as if he were having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. We all hit these patches, sometimes unexpectedly, that can darken our perspective on even the taste of our favourite foods; it’s quite another to allow these to define our entire perspective on an important topic in the public space. To begin with, the early morning routine that Mr Matyszczyk describes bears no relationship to mine, and not simply mine, that of no one in my household. While it… Read more »

Mike Weasner

Regarding the skimming web sites, that sounds like an excellent reason to only make purchases online at sites that accept Apple Pay.