Ravings of a ‘techie wannabe’
If you have heard some negative vibes coming through the gentle soon-to-be autumn breezes lately, it’s just me fighting with my messed up computer.
Now, I must admit to having tried to tie myself into the computer savvy segment of society. I gravitate to any three people in a room hovered over their newest cell phones and comparing the most recent apps. It’s not only fascinating, it give me an inner smile because I’m in the mix with people 30 years my junior. I think it helps me feel like a viable working human being, even though I have white hair and a raft of wrinkles.
However, I am, at the moment, on the dark downside of amateur use of high tech communication, and I don’t like it.
It all started last night when a group of us got together to discuss ways to help the country of Moldova. We could send dollars to friends in that poverty stricken country, but I felt a need to push for something more personal. As we pondered the deteriorated infrastructure in Moldova, it seemed that there was little opportunity to communicate with friends outside of flying there. Telephone calls in the traditional sense are expensive, the postal service is unreliable, and only a few of our friends there have computers or Internet capacity.
Amidst all of this disheartening conversation, I realized one person in our group was text messaging on his cell phone. Enter our world ‘ Skyping. With nimbleness, he was moving his way through all kinds of prompts and, through his phone messaging, free of charge and in real time, was having a sentence-by-sentence conversation with his brother-in-law in Moldova.
If he could do that, I reasoned, why was I having such a terrible time keeping in touch with those foster families I care so much about? I would have the ‘skype’ application in my iPhone and all would be well.
Over the course of the past few hours, I have pushed so many buttons and tapped my cursor on so many prompts and icons that I have created a web of total confusion. Who knows where the snag is in the system? I can’t get on the Internet, and this has totally destroyed sense of reserved behavior.
Thus, I have the following observations about living connected in a high-tech world (these are in no order of preference or priority nor do I presume that these observations will in anyway benefit the future of mankind. I do realize that a public venting of frustration is a privilege and sometimes cheaper than a psychiatrist. AND SO HERE I GO.):
1. The ‘law of diminishing returns’ does exist. Pushing all the buttons you see is not a good idea. People might tell you that that is how children learn computer skills, but do not believe this myth. (P.S. My problem turned out to be with the Internet service provider.)
2. Technology is a demon mix that brings out the best and the worst in us.
A. I can travel around the world in seconds as a concerned, matured, effective and involved citizen and in seconds sink to acting like a 2-year-old who is totally dysfunctional with an out-of-control machine connected to my finger tips. And I do not have the skills to forecast which condition will exist.
B. Technology can be used for the most developed projects and actions or the dumbest things you can envision. An iPhone is a small, complete and complex computer that can have an optional app that places a picture of the flame of a cigarette lighter on your iPhone screen in order that you might raise it in the air at a concert since you have probably given up habits that demand you carry an actual flame producer in your pocket.
3. We are all ‘irretractively’ dependent upon technology directing our everyday lives whether we think we are or not. As I write and know I have no Internet connection, I dread that I may need to send this column to my editor by the archaic fax machine.
4. Technology and high-speed access to anywhere, everything and everyone is indeed a humbling thing ‘ now, think on that and see if you have been there, too.
5. Let’s apply this all to a more serious note. We have the capacity to make new contacts, understand life better and form new peaceful bonds. We also have the capacity to blow up or otherwise lay waste to ourselves and the planet faster and more completely. Which will it be?