August 17, 2013

Made you look

Whoever is in charge of choosing photos to accompany stories nailed it when they used a still from A Clockwork Orange:
What employee hasn’t watched a few YouTube (GOOG) videos during the half hour or so running time of the company’s required online training course? Alas, this may become a memory of simpler times. Online training technology company Mindflash on Tuesday announced a new feature called FocusAssist for iPad that uses the tablet’s camera to track a user’s eye movements. When it senses that you’ve been looking away for more than a few seconds (because you were sending e-mails, or just fell asleep), it pauses the course, forcing you to pay attention—or at least look like you are—in order to complete it.

My phone has similar technology, and let me tell you, it sucks.  Albeit for different reasons, but it still sucks.

My two oldest have completed their state-required driver's education classroom training via online courses.  It is an ass numbing mix of videos and pages of text that require you to stay on the page for a certain period of time, generally the amount of time that it would take a blind 5-year old to read it.  And, while most of the videos impart an important message or lesson, the crux of this program is that it is tied to the 'parent taught' driver's ed program, and, believe me, we have hammered home the dangers of drinking, texting, and being inattentive while driving.  Therefore, I do not begrudge them another (related) activity in the prolonged lulls during the course.

Since returning to the workforce last year, I have spent countless hours in webinars and 'go to meeting'-type orientations.  There doesn't seem to be a business product or service that doesn't have a required/strongly suggested web-based something that you have to do when using their wares.  I don't need to stare at someone's dull PowerPoint slide for the full 10 minutes that they drone on about it.  And software can't make me do it.

Back to the similar technology on my phone.  Did I mention it sucks?  Forget about changing the angle of the phone mid-video, it will pause, thinking you have looked away, when all you have done is try to diminish the glare.  Gruesome scene that makes you turn your head?  No worries, it will wait for you.  Tend to throw your head back when you laugh?  Annoying break in the dialogue and action while it waits for you to stop.

Remember when multi-tasking was considered a good thing?

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