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The Suburbanite
  • Jim Hillibish: High tech changes lives

  • OK, I’ve now wasted 11 minutes in the simple task of Googling my name. Things get fightn’ when I reach “Hillib.” It wants to finish it with hillbilly, one of my numerous nicknames that I hate.

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  • Sometimes it feels like everything tech is yecch. Don’t you just hate it when some rogue computer assumes it knows your mind.
    Google is becoming increasingly intrusive into that space we guard as our private thought processes. When you’re worth half a trillion, you assume you own everything.
    Their new feature completes your search query for you, literally putting words into our collective fingertips.
    I’m typing my name. I get to “Hill,” and it guesses Hillary Clinton. I click there, wondering how we are linked — only in the first four letters of our names.
    I get to “Hilli” and it types Hillis. Who’s that? I click on it and get a personal page of some pro football “star” who plays for Kansas City. I vaguely remember him as a Cleveland Browns flash in the pan.
    OK, I’ve now wasted 11 minutes in the simple task of Googling my name. Things get fightn’ when I reach “Hillib.” It wants to finish it with hillbilly, one of my numerous nicknames that I hate.
    Please, Google, MYOB already.
    Now I’m peeved. Let’s trick the language monster. I type  “hz,” expecting it to crash. It spits back “Hz thz.”
    I’ve had it. I grab my new MP3 player for some ear massage.
    The player reads my mind, or tries to. Instead of sorting music by genres, it does it by emotions. All I do is select how I feel at that exact second in geologic time, and it handles the rest.
    So it’s Saturday and I’m “feeling lazy.” Click that, and up pops Simon and Garfunkel, “Slow down, you work too fast.”
    So many emotions. “Lousy” triggers the entire discography of Milli Vanilli. “Sexy” has Gaga going ga ga over Beyonce, then Britney smooching Madonna.
    My favorite emote is “Skipping Sunday School.” It triggers the greatest hits of guilt-ridden, deceased gospel stars.
    Well, now I really feel flabberbusted. I always find solace in gardening, so I type that into Google and it adds “with Angelo.”
    Up pops a celebration of Cleveland garden center czar Angelo Petitti, the Tony Soprano of local zucchini.
    Enough. I seek refuge in my e-book reader. This screen pops up. It figures because I’m reading “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” that perhaps I’d be interested in other bibles suddenly half price for the next 12, make that 11 minutes. I rush over there, and the site guesses I really want the Crocs on sale.
    We long for the days when our thoughts were our own and if you wanted to get crocked, it was your own business.