By Anne Landfield, Managing Editor AT&T Thread

At the end of each whirlwind of a day, do you ever wonder what you accomplished? I do. And it’s only when I take inventory (glass of wine in hand) that I realize how high my expectations have become. We are living in the future. Mars rover, the driverless car, the human genome—not to mention everything each one of us does each day. Technology gets us there.

Just before high tech hit the mainstream (for many of us, this coincides with a pre-kids, pre-career era when we simply had more time) people made mix tapes. That’s right, raise your hand. It was a peaceful and artful job. Selecting the songs and the order, decorating the cassette sleeve…I can still see my best friend’s name in a trail of doodle flowers.

Trouble was, mix tapes took a long time to make. Now, we drag tracks into a playlist and burn—no, that was five minutes ago. Now, to share music with our friends we can press a “like” button. What’s next? Technology has changed how we experience music. It’s changed how we share. Some will debate whether these changes are for the better, but there’s no dispute that many technological advancements have put countless hours back in our day.

At the same time, technology has added complexity to our lives—so many devices and apps—and so many questions. Which and when to buy? What’s right for my child? My family? My parents?

To help us all navigate these complexities, this issue of AT&T Thread focuses on simplicity. The travel article, “Keeping It Real,” takes a look at our outdoor experiences, examining how we can “use technology to enjoy the experience, not be the experience.”

Back to music, “Making Music Simple Again” looks at some easy ways to listen to the music you love—nearly anytime and anywhere, from different devices, whether it’s a turntable or that smartphone in your hand.

Sometimes the art of simplicity is less intuitive. “No Cell Phones in Class” explores whether we can simplify the learning process by using kids’ own smartphones in the classroom. And what if we never forgot anything anymore? That would make life simpler, wouldn’t it? “The End of Forgetting” explains how this age-old problem might soon be history.

I doubt I’ll ever get to a point of such simplicity that I’ll sit back at the end of the day and think, “Today I accomplished everything.” Not because it’s impossible, but because our nature is to reach for more. To seek innovation, intrigue, and improvement. The challenge is to continue to grow, explore, and find excitement while still keeping things simple. We hope these articles and AT&T Thread will help you do just that.

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