Some people might mistakenly think I'm easy to impress. I still can't believe 40-ton jumbo jets float through clouds, Jell-O doesn't melt, dogs can learn how to dance, and phones don't even need cords anymore.
I'm of that certain age where I can still remember when the first man stepped on the moon and everyone in the neighbourhood sat glued to their flickering TV sets. Sets that were mostly tiny black-and-white ones with rabbit ear antennas, with the exceptional colour TV in a big walnut cabinet owned by the "rich" family on the block.
I remember when mom got an electric frying pan and we were astounded; when dad got a car with air conditioning and we drove to Saskatchewan just so we could try it out. Well, also to visit all the relatives. But I still think a good part of the reason was to try out the cool air.
I think I spend at least 25 per cent of each day saying things like, "How do they do that?" and, "I don't understand."
As a journalist I've had my share of technological change. I started with hot lead type, went to paste up (a system that involved hot wax - not the bikini kind) and now, direct-to-press technology - and, of course, I grapple everyday with the ever-gaping maw of the Internet.
It's been a bit like starting a journey strolling la-de-da through Stanley Park smelling the roses, then hanging on the mane of a plodding donkey through the Tibetan mountains, and then straddling an atomic rocket Ã la Dr. Strangelove.
At every step I've been astounded by new inventions - inventions that made telling stories faster and easier with wider and wider audiences. As wide as the worldwide web, and as fast, it seems, as the speed of light.
I tweet, and somebody from Dubai retweets me, and somebody from Australia replies - all in seconds.
I take a photo, hit a button and, like the steam from my morning coffee, it seems to become part of the atmosphere - no wonder they call it iCloud.
It is, simply, magic.
And now there's "augmented reality" via Layar. I'm not sure if the name really captures what it does, or even, what it is.
But, when I first saw it in action, it sent me back to the time when I was that kid
watching the moon landing.
"How do they do that?" I again asked recently, when I scanned the "lay-ared" magazine cover and it came to life.
It's like facial recognition software, they said.
And I felt like I was being propelled into the future, a future I am seldom prepared for, but always enthralled by.
Layar's technology surely offers another amazing window for storytelling and sharing information - and, yes, entertainment.
It does indeed bridge the printed page with digital media. (As an aside, if you haven't already, check out our layered video of publisher Brad Alden on our front page today.)
There's no question, I'm smitten with layar. It is my new best app - and it joins its other companions in a coveted spot on my iPhone. But, as with all technology, it's only as good as the human beings who use it - or, perhaps, more accurately - only as good as how well the human beings can figure out how to use it.
Journalists work with tools - some have been clumsy and archaic, others new, sleek and dynamic. But good journalists share great stories with whatever tools they are given. Stories that connect people, that inspire them, that reveal our common struggles, our successes - that which makes us so vastly interesting to each other.
How we use Layar to expand our storytelling and reporting will depend on how well we listen to our readers, how many folks trust us to share their stories, and how well we ply our craft. It is an amazing tool, but its true value will only be revealed by how we can best tailor it to serve our local readers and advertisers.
As with all new technology, what we know we can do with it on day one will likely be quite different than day three or two months from now.
It is like all first steps - sometimes you just can't anticipate where it will lead - to the moon, or a walk around the block. But you just have to take that first step to find out.
Pat Tracy is the editor of the Burnaby NOW newspaper. Follow her on Twitter, @PatTracy.
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