About RedSquiggly.com

You know the wavy red underline that many programs use to tell you that you’ve mistyped a word, or made a syntax error in your code, or somehow or other just plain messed something up? We call that line a “red squiggly,” and it has become symbolic of all that is simultaneously good and bad about our modern technologies.

Of course, most everyone knows that when you see a red squiggly under a word you’ve just typed into Word, OpenOffice, etc., all you have to do is right-click on that word and the program you’re using will either suggest a correct spelling or, in some cases, suggest an entirely new word that is fuzzily, logically close to the word you typed. Most of the time, you can simply select the correct spelling and/or new, improved word with a click of the mouse, and you never have to type the word correctly at all.

When people do that long enough, they lose their ability to spell correctly without such a helpful aid. They rely on that red squiggly to do a little bit of work their brain used to do. And sometimes, often with hilarious results, they accidentally or unknowingly select a new word that absolutely should not have been used. I call this “When Spell Checkers Attack,” and I’ve seen some doozies.

The red squiggly represents the paradoxical nature of technology. It can help us and hurt us at the same time. It can make our lives easier and more difficult…at the same time. It can fix mistakes and create new ones…at the same time.

We can make things wonderfully simple for the average user. We can make a given system or function so simple, so easy to use, so hard to mess up that the system becomes idiot proof. But, if something is truly idiot proof, then we all become idiots the more we use it. Eventually, an idiot proof system is used only by idiots. I guess what I’m saying is this: you don’t have to fear the red squiggly, but don’t get too used to it either. It can be both your best friend and your worst enema.

This site is a place where I can talk about lots of goofy stuff as I ramble on about my love/hate relationship with technology and most things technological. I don’t know where I’m going with it, or what I’ll talk about from one day to the next, but I invite you to follow along as I figure it out. I even welcome your comments and look forward to the conversations that will likely develop over time.

So who am I? I’m RedSquiggly. Also known as Eric Imboden – part-time technology consultant, part-time coffee roaster, full-time husband, dad, worship leader, sports fan, reader, movie watcher, and good-guy-wanna-be. Drop me a line at eric[at]commoncontext[dot]com if you want…I’d be glad to talk.