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Friday, November 28, 2014

The wonders of technology

This wasn’t my original date to post here but I had an emergency and the lovely Anne Marie came to my aid and swapped. Thank you, Anne Marie!

My emergency? I’m in the midst of a renovation project and while the builders were knocking my sitting room about, my phone line vanished in a huge heap of rubble. All I was left with was a tiny black cable coming into the house from outside. No landline, and no broadband.

No internet connection other than on my trusty iPhone? I’m old, very old, so I should know better, but it was enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. 

When the engineer finally arrived to sort out a new connection, he obviously noted my stress levels and remarked, somewhat sympathetically, that no one copes well without an internet connection. He went on to tell me how he’d tried to explain to his young son how we contacted friends in the days before we all carried phones around with us. He explained that if you needed to phone your friend in the evening, you had to make prior arrangements to ensure said friend was at home to take the call. Young son couldn’t grasp this concept. “But what if he’d gone out?” he asked. “Then you’d tramp the streets looking for him...”. It’s like the boy asking his dad how people emailed each other before the internet was around.

Here in the UK, a TV program called Tomorrow’s World was aired from the 60s for almost 40 years. It was all a bit space-age for me but I occasionally watched it. I remember one episode when the presenter confidently declared that, one day, we’d store our music on something the size of a thumbnail. I looked at my towering stack of vinyl, shook my head at such stupidity and switched off the TV. Hmm. Now I have thousands of songs stored on something much, much smaller. And backed up in the cloud, of course.

As old as I am, I still take all this wonderful technology for granted. Until it isn’t there.

Do you take it for granted? Do you long for a rest from the internet?  Does any of our modern-day technology astound or bother you?

I often think about my dogs as they walk around with my name, address and phone numbers recorded on small microchips beneath their skin. I’m never sure if this is wonderful or a step too far. I also wonder how long it will be before we’re all walking round with microchips beneath our skin…

And while we’re talking technology, here’s my new phone line, clinging precarious to stone that’s been there since 1875 - and will hopefully still be there when the builders have done their thing. :) 


Helena said...

The difference that technology has made to our lives is brought home to me when I read books set in the early twentieth century, especially mysteries, whose plot turns on whether a phone call was made or was connected. Many of them simply could not be written in these days of mobile phones and emails!

Elise Warner said...

Fascinated by your old brick wall and the new wire--if walls could talk. Years ago I began a play where a secretary and a playwright met "cute." He was composing and could hear her typing which annoyed him. Had deadlines on a few articles and when I came back to the play realized how dated it was. No secretary was using a noisy typewriter--producers payed for a computer.

Anne Marie Becker said...

You're very welcome, Shirley! Hope all of the construction is finished. :)

As for technology - I don't know what we ever did before the internet and email and texts and iPhones with apps and.... Well, you get the idea. LOL When the power goes out here, I'm immediately thinking of how/where I can charge my phone and computer or gain access to the internet. ;)

Shirley Wells said...

That always strikes a chord with me, Helena. When writing, I'm often trying to come up with ways for people to lose their mobiles.

Oh, Elise, yes. I'm old enough to have learned to type on a huge sit-up-and-beg typewriter where you got a good workout from hitting those noisy keys. :)

Thanks, Anne Marie. It's getting there. Slowly. :) I'm totally lost when the power goes out. Can't cope at all. :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

I *love* today's technology. Love using computers rather than typewriters (although I still use my AlphaSmart), love having a (primitive) cell phone (although I still have a land line), love getting money from a bank machine rather than waiting in line during banking hours (although I never deposit money into the machine)... I think I'm belts and suspenders kinda gal.

Happy renovating, Shirley! Just remember: it WILL end.

Cathy Perkins said...

All the reasons to love technology that y'all mentioned but I also see too many people (especially young people) more cut off from the real world around them because they're lost in a techno-toy.

Clare London said...

Good luck with the renovations :) and yes, I love the new technology. I love to check out what's developed just in my lifetime - it's startling. That's not to say I don't question sometimes WHY something's been invented. And of course, new inventions often just mean new bugs :(. Great post!

Shirley Wells said...

Thanks, Marcelle. You're right. It will end. It will. :)

Cathy, that's such a good point. I once spent a two-hour train journey watching a mother and son who were both engrossed in their techno-toys. They barely exchanged a word. So sad.

Clare, yes. I sometimes wonder about the *why*. :) I also wonder what will happen in the next 20 or 30 years. I'm prepared to be amazed. :)

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