Is a Heisenberg Compensator Next?

It’s getting light later but this turned out to be a pretty day.

We’ve established that I would rather drive the nine hours to Pittsburgh than fly, but I wouldn’t rule out being transported there when that becomes an option. Yes, I said “when” that becomes an option. I think the technology of Star Trek is only a few discoveries away.

Impossible, you say?

Well. Travel back in time with me to the early 1960’s. My father had just given me a transistor radio he bought at JC Penny. These handheld radios arrived on the market about two weeks before I was born but had been too expensive to give a child. Suddenly, the Top-40 was riding with me on my bike. A few years later, I was teaching myself how to use a slide rule because I saw a picture of a NASA scientist using one. Years after that, I forked over a large chunk of my savings for a Texas Instruments SR-50 scientific calculator. Communication and computation would follow me through school and throughout my career. I watched as these technologies evolved, I studied them, and I packaged them as tools for my coworkers to use.

Still, I can be amazed.

Early during our road trip to Pittsburgh, Faith texted The Editor to let her know we had crossed into New York. The Editor’s reply came as expected, but Greta (my GPS) didn’t get it. Greta usually offers to read me incoming text messages. Something was wrong.

The something was me. I had violated my own advice. I always tell people not to upgrade their phone just before traveling. I not only upgraded my phone, I upgraded Greta – there had been construction along our route, and I wanted up-to-date maps. As a result of the two upgrades, Greta and my iPhone were no longer talking to each other.

When Faith took over the driving, I took Greta out of the window and tried to fix the problem. The GPS was communicating with my phone, but not with the Garmin app running on my phone – yes, that had been upgraded, too. Once reconnected, restarted, re-paired, Greta proudly announced:

There is light traffic on your route – 10 minutes has been added to your trip.”

I was ecstatic! Faith, not so much.

A few minutes later, the speed limit changed from 65 to 70 mph. Within a car length of passing the first speed limit sign, Greta’s speed limit indicator changed to 70 as well. I started thinking about what was going on – in my car – while we were driving.

Greta was talking to at least four satellites that are orbiting the Earth at a distance of 12,550 miles (20,200 km).

My iPhone was talking to a traffic network computer. My phone was sending our location, direction and speed to the network, and receiving traffic updates for the road ahead.

My iPhone was relaying the traffic information to Greta (and vice versa).

Greta was taking all that information and updating our route and arrival time.

My iPhone was downloading “Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits” from the iTunes Store. A few minutes later, it was sending the album to the car’s radio.

Of course, my iPhone continued to receive messages from the Editor and was available for me to send updates, check email, read blog comments or, you know, make a phone call.

There were no wires, just like with my transistor radio.

These are the things we were doing. If The Editor had wanted to follow us, Greta would have been happy to send her periodic updates as we rolled across Pennsylvania (at or below the speed limit honey…kinda). These are the modern marvels we take for granted today. How far away can the Heisenberg Compensator be?


Last week’s trip meant not walking or sitting with Maddie for five days. We made up for that this weekend. Today’s gallery is offered as proof.

76 thoughts on “Is a Heisenberg Compensator Next?

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  1. First off, Dan, 1,000 bonus points for the post and I think you know why. Or maybe not. Yes, it’s the Star Trek thing, but it’s also the Heisenberg Compensator thing. Natasha and I have joked often about the made-up terms (yes, they are made up) of technology on Star Trek. We have a book that covers some of them, but who can remember this stuff?

    That’s probably you, right?

    Anyhow the Heisenberg Compensator is one of those “things” that we don’t always remember, and try to remember with results like the “Hasenpfeffer Decapapitator.” It’s a little sad, our memory banks, but it also gives us a good laugh. We’re both waiting for the day that one of those Star Trek doo-dads gives us back our memories, transports us to a warm beach in January, and conjures up holodeck males that serve us our supplements, tells us we’re pretty and…

    Oh, never mind. Excellent job on the post, Dan. Give some skritches and pets to the furry kids for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Hasenpfeffer Decapapitator.” I think that was a Cardassian (why doesn’t spell check recognize that?) invention. The thing I can never remember is from “A Piece of the Action” – At the end, McCoy admits to leaving his communicator on the planet. Kirt talks about how the people will take it apart, discover the —something— which is key to all Star Trek technology, and… I can never remember what the doohickey is.

      Thanks for the bonus points. Until the holodeck is invented, I guess you’ll have to try a winter road trip.

      Like

  2. Sheldon Cooper has nothing on you, Dan. I hope you’re right. I think I may be ready to be beamed up to the Mothership very soon. It is funny, but I am the creative in this relationship yet I ‘get’ the intricacies of how the GPS works and why it is re-routing us, offering alternate routes, etc. The more logical person in this duo just gets uber frustrated and longs for a real paper map that he can see for himself where he is, where he is going and how he should be getting there. Road trips are very interesting these days….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, paper maps. The Editor is a fan. To her credit, she’s pretty good with them. When she had to drive places, she had figured out all the alternate routes, and could switch to them very quickly. Before GPS, I would get off the highway to avoid traffic and get lost. But I am a master at making a U-Turn ;-)

      There is some modern technology I can live without, but I’ve had a GPS since they were barely affordable and I really like having one.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With my absolutely zero knowledge about Star Trek and the Heisenberg Compensator I don’t have much to comment. However, like anyone else, technology does drive me mad and affects my creativity at some point. The pictures are very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose Siri and Greta could team up and change my reservations, pretend to be avoiding a detour and drive me to a lecture on “living healthy with Kale” but I’m willing to take my chances, Pam.

      But, the car is about as far as this goes. No listening devices in my home. No appliances with a mind of their own. Nothing ratting me out to the doctor. Get me to where I’m going and then leave me alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t thought about a transistor radio in a long time, but I sure did enjoy the smile thinking about how excited I was to get one. I have a Garmin GPS. You have Greta, and I have Sally. I prefer it even though my car is fully equipped with a big screen, fancy one. I’m use to her, and she tells me the basics and gives me the speed limit. The built in version doesn’t have the speed limits and is always saying ‘turn’ here or there when basically I just need to veer left or right. Drives me nuts. Love Maddie’s photos. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That transistor radio was the best gift, and he gave it to me just as school ended for the summer.

      I’m sure my next car will have a GPS built in, but I think I’ll stick with Greta. I also like having it to put into a rental car, as opposed to the daily fee for using theirs. I also like being able to enter addressed in the comfort of my home.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The rate at which technology is evolving makes my head spin, Dan. I try to keep my life simple …. notice the word simple. I can always tell (or usually) when my phone or laptop is in need of an update because things just don’t seem to be working right. I’m right now reading a book, or just beginning to, that startled me tremendously. I am finding out there are treatments “out there” outside of mainstream medicine but being given by medical professionals that are actually blowing my mind. I’ll give you an example. According to this author, a “nameless doctor” has developed voice technology that instantly tells this man who the person is who has spoken …. everything. That includes allergies, illnesses, personality and the person’s make-up and more. This “nameless doctor” has also come up with brilliant treatments to address disease when traditional medicine’s tests state someone is healthy when truly they are not. So, to imagine being transported from one place to another instantly is not too far fetched. My imagination has been running wild since I have been reading what I am. And yes …. I do remember those transistor radios. My brothers loved them! LOVED your gallery …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy, The rapidly changing technology is both amazing and scary. I’m not sure where to draw the line. I seem to draw it at different points as I consider different things. For instance, I love the fact that I can get my GPS’s attention by saying “Yo Greta” but I refuse to add a smart speaker or a smart TV/remote that is going to listen to me in my house.

      I have worked with technology for over 40 years, and I have always believed that “just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.” I think that belief is stronger today than it ever has been.

      There is great potential to improve healthcare with technology, but I have to say I was disappointed when my young doctor took out his iPhone and looked up my symptoms on WebMD – I didn’t need to spend $150 for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tween you and me, Dan, I’m not too impressed with traditional medicine these days. Between Vet medicine and people medicine, time and time again I’ve been so let down. I have a cat right now for example, with normal blood values but if I did not feed him he would be gone by now. He just will not eat appropriately and it is obvious he is ill. Yet his blood work says he is healthy. Huh? IF I had the means to find out the source of why he is not eating, and I now KNOW there are ways to do this, I could help him get well. For this reason and so many more, this is why I have searched high and low outside of mainstream medicine for means to heal. NOT easy by far!

        Technology, the rate it is expanding, is scary. I’m with you regarding smart appliances. I draw the line there. I don’t have a GPS either although I do use Google Maps when I get lost on my bike. (LOL)

        Sorry to hear your experience with the young MD. Like I said … technology is exciting but it is encouraging too many NOT to use their own brains. How did this person get through med school? *shakes head* ….

        Like

  6. I so don’t get all the technology, Dan. I had to update my phone last night and my husband said turn on Wi-Fi. I had not a clue….Hello MuMu! Your photos are wonderful–so fall-ish. And I am so ready for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am ready for fall, Lois. I have to enable WiFi on my wife’s phone and process the updates for her. I’m not religious about doing updates, given the large percentage of times that they introduce new errors that aren’t fixed until the subsequent update.

      MuMu is getting pretty bold with how often (and how loudly) she demands to be scratched/brushed. It’s not a “Hi, I’m happy to see you” kind of meow. It’s more like a “Hey, get over here and scratch me” kind of order.

      Like

    1. That sounds pretty cool, but I hope they still remember how to take my blood pressure the old fashioned way. I love technology, but I’m a little old school when it comes to things like my life.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Heisenberg compensator, flux capacitator, and sonic screwdriver I am not sure I am ready for all this on Monday morning. Then again I might not be ready for Monday. Did Scotty have a Monday compensator ? Besides Saturday afternoon at the fermented hops emporium ? Also I see lots of red underlines I may need a spelling compensator too !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The only compensation for Monday, is Friday. Frankly, I think we need more Fridays in the week. If I could beam myself to work, I’m sure my boss would want me to add the time I saved to my work day, while Maddie would want me to sit with her longer.

      Now, if I could beam myself to the bar I think I could trust Cheryl to beam me home. I wonder if there will be a TUI law (transport under the influence)?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t understand all this technology, and that’s okay with me. I just find someone like you to help me. Lol. Let’s face it, it’s here to stay and will take this world to incredible heights.

    Leaves coming down here too, but yours are much more colorful already. Great pictures of Maddie. And MuMu is getting to be quite the camera hog!

    The first picture of the park…love the cloud formation.

    Have a great week.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. The skies in the park were so beautiful this weekend. Maddie was happy to be getting her walks. She also conned me and the Editor into sitting with her. Most of the trees here are still green, but a few are starting to turn early. Also, the squirrels are dropping whole little branches, as they beef up their nests for the winter. They’re like little lumberjacks. A group of 5 or 6 leaves fall to the ground, then some little uy comes and carries it back up into the tree.

      Have a great week, too!

      Like

  9. Amazing technology details, Dan. What I learn from your posts! I also dread iPhone updates, never knowing what will disappear or change to an unknown. Phew! Technology!!! Yikes!! So happy you ended with my favorite “animal”’pics, Maddie, MuMu & squirrel (Sammy), soothing my brain. 🎶📚Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  10. With all the craziness and sped of techno advances, I just hand my phone to my daughter and tell her to fix it. Its nice though to come home to the norm and love of a best friend and an afternoon walk. Our fur babies keep us sane.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There are so many amazing things in the world. People are generally wonderful. The things people come up with, you can’t help being astonished. Even animals are lovely. They have crazy tricks up their sleeves(?). I have thought that it is the governments that make the world a bad place. They make the laws and the policies that govern the lands; they are charged with ensuring peace and prosperity. You and I can do our best to stand together but if the governments want us to fight each other they have all the power and resources to achieve just that. So mostly I blame the governments for the ugly situations on earth.
    Anyway, love the concept of the uncertainty principle and the compensators meant to rectify it. It is indeed time for the compensators. The older I grow the more possible anything seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right Peter. People can get along and make the world better. Governments tend to mess things up. Animals will outwit us all in the end, if any survive our reign on this planet.

      Technology can be amazing, but I’m careful about adoption. All the data they can gather can be used for good or evil.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. We’ll be able to use our iPhones to transport to Pittsburgh? I don’t know if I’d be brave enough.
    I draw the line at drives longer than four hours – too many trips from here to Price Utah when my husband’s mother was still alive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I consider the decisions regarding giving up my privacy very carefully. You can’t avoid some of it but some things are just not worth the information cost that ask for. Maddie was very happy to have me come home.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I am ready to be beamed up! In theory anyway. I kinda like living under my rock, but after a few of my trendy friends are transported successfully, I’d give it a go.
    Honestly, how good is the advice you give others if you don’t even take it yourself? :P Haha! So human. *sigh*
    Glad to know Tom Petty got a spin :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, I’d like to see a few folks make a round-trip successfully before taking the plunge. I bought the Tom Petty album because my car’s radio wouldn’t connect to Faith’s iPhone. We also suffered some tech failures.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I too tend to look at today’s life through the lens of someone who grew up in the 60s … and I’m usually in the car when I do 🙂 It’s utterly fascinating. Great post, Dan.

    btw – I abandoned by Garmin GPS. The cost of the updates was crazy but not having the updates made me even more crazy. I now use the app Waze on my iPhone. It’s amazing whether I’m walking, riding, or driving. The only down side is that it’s a battery hog so I have to have my phone plugged in while driving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As someone who remembers installing an 8-Track player in his first car, I totally understand, Joanne. I purchased a Garmin GPS that comes with lifetime map upgrades. If that wasn’t an option, I wouldn’t buy it. I’ve tried Waze. It’s interesting, but I don’t like the battery drain. I also once tried a GPS bike app for my phone. It drained the battery to an anemic lever about 1/3 of the way into my ride. Battery life is the big variable with all these devices.

      Like

      1. I agree. If I can’t plug in my phone, the app is useless.
        You know I had a very turbulent relationship with my GPS who I called The Bitch. We happily parted ways and now I don’t swear at the voice giving me driving directions any more 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  15. I liked your reflection on how many satellites were communicating with your devices. It’s amazing, Dan. I am from the generation of 3 TV channels. I remember my first cell phone at work was the size of a briefcase! Ha ha. Its seems that the discoveries are speeding up and I can’t wait to see the advances ahead. Hopefully they will make life better. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. As much as I love Star Trek, I think I would be like Dr. McCoy when it comes to the transporter and complain about having my molecules being scrambled, especially since I get motion sickness a the drop of a hat. And when will our ethics catch up with technology? (Maybe I’m more like McCoy than I’d care to admit.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. McCoy is a good character to be like. I was recently reading about a (slowly) growing movement on ethics in technology. In fact, an offshoot of that is what I’ll be using for the WATW blogfest (but I can’t publish my post until Sunday).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll appreciate hearing about one of the last times I went with my gut, Audrey. A coworker and I got off the highway between Ft. Worth and Dallas (to avoid some traffic). We figured we would just meander around the accident and then jump back on the highway. Almost two hours later, we were on SR-whatever, looking for signs of life. Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  17. Great post-Dan! I don’t do the updates for my phone straight-away. I wait a week or so read about the update, and see if there are any problems to be worked out before I go ahead with the update. There’s a new update that keeps wanting to be done on my phone now, but I’m waiting so I’m keeping my phone below 100% until I do update it.

    I like the idea of transporting anywhere, but am a skeptic and worry that all my bits and bobs wouldn’t come through in one piece. I won’t be an early adopter of this tech when it comes along either.

    I rarely update my GPS in my car I’m afraid I’ll lose some favorites that I’ve programmed and the paired connection to the car will be wiped out and have to be redone. I had to take my laptop out the car and watch a YOUTUBE video to do the pairing Pearl. Sigh. I still have to have the manual or YouTube to change the clock in her.

    It’s amazing and a bit scary how the GPS unit talks and takes in intel from the satellites. One night several years ago friends and I were driving home from a birding/photography excursion I may have told you this before, but it was late, we were all tired, and talked out so, it was quiet not even the radio was on, and out of the blue my friends GPS unit said, ” Message received.”
    We were all surprised and a bit freaked out. Who was it talking to and what was the message? We still talk about that!

    Poor Maddie missing her walk through the park cause there were workers in there. I hope she’s back on the normal schedule now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your reluctance to update is well-founded and that is normally my approach. I don’t know what I was thinking that night.

      The GPS update didn’t result in my losing anything, except the connection to my phone. Although, I can’t be sure whether the problem was the phone or the GPS.

      Every now and then, Greta says “Say a command” – it freaks my wife out.

      Maddie gets angry when there are workers in HER park. She barks at those guys.

      Liked by 1 person

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