Behold – the dark, looming threat of 21st Century life online! Who would have thought? Who, other than George Orwell, that is. We now live in a world that invades our privacy, disturbs our thoughts, interrupts our communication and threatens our way of life. On the upside though, we get to buy cars, do banking transactions, order neat stuff, get concert and ball-game tickets -- and still manage to steer clear of the depressing long lines at the local post office.
But there are more than traditional products and services to be found online. Burrowed not all that deeply beneath the surface of ordinary google searches are crazy worlds of things to do and acquire -- courtesy of a simple dot.com entry on your keyboard. Here are four surprising – and even weird -- ways people use the Internet.
Piano Lessons – If you’ve ever taken a piano lesson, you know the traditional drill. You’re familiar with the teacher who once sat next to you on the seat next to the piano stool. She taught you how to place your fingers on the keyboard, read music and count out loud to the beat of the music. She then exhorted you to practice and told you she’d see you the same time next week.
The Internet has altered much of this. Now you can go to dozens of websites like www.pianonanny.com, and get started on your own. All you need is a computer with speakers, a keyboard (not even a full-fledged piano) and some persistence. Make no mistake. You’ll never even come close to becoming the next Garrick Ohlsohnn or Oscar Peterson this way. However, neither will most hopefuls who study piano the traditional way. But if you’re blessed with the gift of learning things on your own, learning to play piano online is a good way to relax and to develop some musical skills.
Medical Assistance – You’re elderly grandmother takes a fall. But she’s in her apartment in North Carolina, and you live in New York. Now she can’t reach a phone. What do you do? Certainly you know all about medical alert devices. Grandma simply presses a button when she needs help, and an emergency response team is on its way.
But now, a New York City company has added a smart component to online medical assistance – one that actually senses a fall as it occurs. Appropriately enough, the product is called Sense-a-Fall. It’s a chip built into Grandma’s slipper. Not only does it serve as a device that alerts an emergency response team as well as loved ones. But it provides a “pressure profile” that loved ones and medical specialists can use to understand what took place in Grandma’s gait just before she fell. Check out this video.
If we now have technology that can sense a fall, can technology that reads our thoughts be far behind?
Money at Your Fingertips – It was inconvenient. It was awful. It was downright traumatic. There you were in the center of town one dark and lonely night, smack out of cash. You had been so stealthy about coming up with the perfect, uncrackable password, you outdid yourself and couldn’t remember it when you needed it. To make matters worse, the battery on your smart phone just ran out of power. Now you feel useless as you stand feeling defeated in front of an ATM machine.
Say goodbye to that problem.
Barclays Bank of London will soon introduce its “finger-vein ID” reader for customers who want to access their account. This revolutionary system takes technology way beyond the finger print. Bank clients need only present a finger to a machine that will make an infra-red scan of the vein pattern of that finger. Users will be able to plug the finger-vein reader into their own computer. No more passwords, pin numbers and authentication codes. Now, checking your bank account will be easier than checking your blood pressure.
I Wonder Whatever Became of What’s-his-name – If you happen to be an estate attorney or you work for Interpol, you have a perfectly legitimate reason for poking around the Internet to find out whether someone died. But what if you’re not an estate attorney? Or what if you don’t work for an organization that has an official or legal reason for tracking someone?
Let’s say you once had a boss who didn’t give you the promotion she promised you. Or you had a business partner that found a legal way to cheat you out of your piece of the pie. Or maybe you had a significant other who betrayed you, and who you now wish was your insignificant other.
Yes, of course you know the adult thing to do is to move on and get a life. You know too all the things they say about bad karma.
Still, you just can’t let go of the past. And you just have to know whether what’s-his-name or what’s-her-name is still around. But you’ve exhausted possibilities for searches on all the social media sites.
So stop beating yourself up for not being above that sort of thing. And go ahead and click away. You know you want to.