VISION AFORETHOUGHT

Common sense analysis of this, that and the other

Jumping the jump

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If you use the Internet domain system ‘whois’ to find the date droprocket.com was first registered, you’ll find it was twelve years ago – by me.

Whilst in the US, I found extreme sports such as snowboarding and others (some of which I participated in) not only great fun and often frightening, but I had many thoughts about the future of it all.

Two related ideas came to mind, and I made some sketches. One was based on that scene in a Bond movie when after somehow exiting an aircraft without a parachute he free falls and literally flies across the sky to grab onto a parachutist – saving his own life in the process. I thought it would be cool to design a flying squirrel like winged suit and have a number of crazy people jump from high up and race to the ground, opening actual parachutes at the very last moment. Today, this is reality.

I thought further – how about building small one man unpowered rocket shaped craft with small fins or wings. Even crazier ‘pilotnaughts/astropilots’ would slide in head first, a toughened cockpit window providing them a view of our lovely planet below. Multiple cameras and other telemetry measuring systems would beam everything down to Earth for our entertainment.

The DropRockets as I call them, would (you guessed it) be dropped from an extremely high altitude (way beyond 23 miles!) and as with the winged suit idea, the astropilots would guide the DropRockets back to Earth, aiming them towards and through airborne target rings for extra points.

Once closer to Earth, depending on the design, small wings would pop out and the DropRocket would glide down to a landing strip, or a parachute would open and the craft gently deposited back on Earth like a space capsule.

I had planned to execute on the latter DropRocket sport when the technology made it possible and I had the time and resources. It has been possible for a few years now, but I have not had time to begin the project yet.

Today, Felix Baumgartner just did something even crazier than either of my ideas, and that was to freefall in a protective suit, but no wings or craft. Like some of you, I just watched the whole event live on YouTube (in 1080P HD video too, an impressive feat of streaming video in itself!) and as is the case with most competitive multi-idea inventors, designers and entrepreneurs, I felt a certain sense of ‘told you so’ and a negative sensation of “Oh why didn’t I start DropRocket sooner so it would have more impact as a concept?”

Which brings me onto the reason for this post. Twitter. Those of us with a creative mind love to make things, fix things, break with convention (and even break convention!), express our opinion and of course, make the odd joke! But as other bloggers and tweeters etc probably already subconciously feel, the very process of ‘pre-talking’ about things dilutes the human energy required to actually go and do ‘it’.

Further, if the effort required to create even a pro-active tweet or blog post consumes more energy and is more frustrating than simply ‘picking up the phone’ and carrying out the task, then there is no point. Just composing a 140 character tweet is an effort in itself. Since first discovering Twitter, I always wondered why they chose LESS than the global standard 160 characters of a phone text message to at least bring some familiarity to the equation. What makes things worse is that you have no idea if anyone is ‘listening’ and acting on your rants, raves or calls for assistance. And, with so many people following each other, we’re all bombarded with too many views, news and blues, so like a jammed gearbox, our minds lock up.

We feel good at tweeting or blogging, but then so does drinking cola, but it isn’t necessarily healthy or effective over the long term.

Felix jumps - Photo of my monitor 14 Oct 2012

He did it

So whilst my blog will remain active as a useful source of info for those interested in it’s contents, I won’t be using Twitter any more, and ceasing to comment below tech or newspaper stories, where over the years, I have posted about 5000 comments and received five times that in ‘Likes’ (although without a ‘Hate’ button, that figure is meaningless!)

Even without the aforementioned flaws in it’s design (there are more that I won’t dwell on here), without a business model, Twitter has become flooded with spammers and fake followers, requiring time consuming blocking. I don’t sense it has done anything to change or improve my own life or that of others, anywhere in the world. It is just a distraction from GTD.

Has it lead to more installed solar panels to ween us off carbon fuels? Has it saved a nation from a dictator? Has it found a stolen bicycle? Etc. No! Social media is a deceptive and not very pro-active distraction, even if it DOES make you feel better after hitting the [Publish] button. There are too many flaws in the execution of social media systems to make them anything but a very addictive drug. As you know.

I have been, am and will continue to be doing a lot of real actual pro-active work, in fact, in a password protected area of this here blog, I list all I am doing at any one time, updating the list when time allows. (Currently, about 25 separate activities.) With regards my employer, we always complete our projects (unless scrapping any for obvious business reasons) even if there is little to show during the development stages. Bare that in mind!

Fight back club: Pickup the phone. For my part, at 10am tomorrow morning I am calling Transport For London at 10am to pitch one of our ‘jumps’ to them.

BTW, Twitter is a good replacement for RSS and company press release summaries. You can use the Twitter API to embed a number of your latest company or organisation tweets in a page.

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Written by Oflife

October 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

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