Too Much Technology?

by Peter Wallace, © 2007

The march of technology moves on, as it has since Ogg figured out that whole wheel thing. Like Ogg, many people in today’s world are very comfortable with the newest improvements in technology, while others – less technologically evolved people – cling to their ways.

We hear about famous authors who still use typewriters, or better yet, a pen and paper, to write their books. Many households don’t have computers, but more and more do. The fact that we don’t own a microwave oven makes us freaks of modern society, and when people brag that they don’t have television sets, others shake their heads and worry that their children will be socially stunted.

Bit by bit, though, certain technologies just take over. The telephone is one example. I’m sure my father’s family was among the early embracers of that technology, and before he died in 1990, my dad really enjoyed working on computers, so he wasn’t afraid of technology as a youngster or as an older man.

It is a very rare day that I don’t use a computer. I have an MP3 player, though not an Ipod brand player, and I use a cell phone. So, while to my mother I seem like a techno-geek (though she would never use that phrase)compared to people who use cell phones that include MP3 players, a camera, and God knows what else, along with a Blackberry personal assistant, I’m back with Ogg, trying to figure out the wheel.

I have to say that part of it is laziness. Learning new things is harder than doing what you’ve always done. Part of it, though, is wondering how much of an improvement some of these technologies would really give me. For example, while I recognize that video games have become amazing, I’m just not interested. I’d play an occasional game of “Pong,” if it still existed, but other than that, I enjoy being a participant in the real world, where grand theft-auto is something to avoid, not to excel at.

Here’s another thing that I have so far rejected: it is called “BlueTooth” technology. To me, it sounds like what you need when you haven’t

been to the dentist since Donny and Marie were still on TV, but in reality, it’s a device that is worn on your ear that allows you to use your cell phone without touching it, or having wires connected to it.

I don’t know if this is a cultural thing, but several times in the past couple of months I’ve seen nicely dressed young gentlemen on what appeared to be dinner dates with very lovely young women. These men have been engaging in these dates while wearing their Blue Tooth earpieces. If I were a lovely young woman, I think I’d resent being on a date with someone who wanted to be ready at a moment’s notice for any sort of random phone call that would be more interesting than talking with me. Of course, I’m neither lovely nor a young woman, so that’s that.

It seems that more and more information from companies, organizations, and government bodies is only available on-line. While it makes economic sense to provide information in that way, it makes me feel bad for people like my mom who made an effort to become computer literate, but just didn’t quite get the hang of it. But, maybe it was like that with telephones 100 years ago…

But, things do move forward. In a couple of years, fax machines will be in museums, along with 8-tracks and beta videotapes. For the record, “Pong” is already there.

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