Reinventing the office line

These office items and gadgets, some of which were on the cutting edge in 1988, now all fit on a smartphone. Well, except for the coffee. Photo by Buck Ennis.
These office items and gadgets, some of which were on the cutting edge in 1988, now all fit on a smartphone. Well, except for the coffee. Photo by Buck Ennis.

So you know how I like to predict how and why technology should change to cleave to our modern ways of living, right?

Hence, for my next trick, I’m going to ask: Technological powers-that-be, when are we going to turn our office numbers into work numbers for the mobile?

And mind you, I’m not talking about call forwarding.

I’m referring to an actual office line that can be combined with our present personal mobile phone line – but which we can choose to switch off when we’re out of the office.

Think about it. To create a clear divide between the professional and the personal, we have:

  • Personal e-mail addresses and office e-mail addresses; and
  • Personal phone lines and office phone lines.

Before the advent of mobile data technology, office tools were often fixed, and we had to enter the office to use those specific tools.

Now, we can do almost everything on the go; we can make personal calls on our mobile phones, and check our personal and office e-mail on the same device.

So at which point did companies say: “Hey! We’re gonna stop developing technology for office phone lines because there is no need to.”?

Because of this – lapse? change of focus? – we now have work-based communication taking place on our personal lines.

Some examples: Whatsapp office group chat messages, or text messages and voice calls from clients.

It’d be nice to have the option of setting “away from office” auto-replies on our work phone lines when on leave or after leaving the office, so we can draw a distinction between work and leisure.

Therefore, I’m calling this right here, right now, Lare-style: There’s a portion of the technology that’s lagging behind everything else when it comes to the modern office telephone line.

Technological powers-that-be, please do something about it. You’ll more than reap the rewards when everyone starts adopting this service.

One device to rule them all

My precious...
My precious… (PHOTO CREDIT: AnIdea.com)

In recent days, I’ve used my house keys to “tap out” before alighting from the bus, my EZlink card to attempt entry into my workplace and my workplace access card to open my house door.

Either I’m becoming increasingly absent-minded, or we just need one device to rule them all.

I posted this on Facebook, and a friend responded:

I tried using my van key remote to open the staff room door. Think we need to fight for lighter workload. Brain running out of RAM. 🙂

My response:

Have you tried downloading more RAM?

Quiet Worlds: The 167 Project

Another of the things I’ve been working on is a little artistic endeavour with a friend.

We’re hoping it’ll turn into something larger: an installation or an exhibition, perhaps, or maybe even a staged reading of sorts.

Not too sure how it’s gonna pan out, but as everything in life, we’ll eventually get to where we’re supposed to go.

Human progress and evolution have moved in tandem with the ability to communicate ideas between people and across spaces. As technologies emerge and develop over the years, humans have been better-enabled to communicate in more forms and at greater speeds than ever before.

While better means of communication have predisposed us to communicating more (from a quantitative perspective), we seem to be communicating less, from a qualitative perspective: people are glued to their phones as opposed to talking face-to-face; the human propensity for and inclination toward reading lengthy tomes and responding to messages and ideas have been reduced to quick sound-bites and quickly-typed out texts, limited to anything between 140 to 160 characters, depending on the medium of transmission and largely hinging upon our desire for instantaneous response; our need for speed.

What will happen to communication when forcible restraints on time and space are imposed upon it? Is language limited when limits are imposed on language?

Inspired from a conversation about correspondence, communication, procrastination and “The Quiet World” (a poem by Jeffrey McDaniel), Quiet Worlds: The 167 Project is a response to two artists’ desire to understand communication in a modern world through relatively “anachronistic” means.

Follow the correspondence between Magdalen Chua, a visual artist in Scotland, and Laremy Lee, a writer in Singapore, as they use snail mail to exchange postcards containing messages of no more than 167 characters in length to investigate and explore the confines (or the lack thereof) of language and human communication.