Thursday, March 12, 2009

Technophobia!

I resist technology. I did not have a cell phone until 2005. I used to laugh at people who did. I actually bought one around 1999 and had it for about a day - as I was happily programming in phone numbers I realized that I had no need for a phone, because I had no one to really call. So I returned the phone and didn't bother with one for another five years. I did not have a DVD player until 2002, and I lived without cable TV for decades. I had email, of course, but until 2005 I did not bother with high-speed and relied only on dial-up. When approaching the question of getting a computer, my only requirements were limited internet access (for email) and word processing.
The list goes on, in fact; we have an iPod, but it was given to us as a wedding present and, although we are certainly happy to have it and do use it on occasion, it goes unused for weeks at a time. We have a bottom-shelf stereo system that is ugly, slow and mostly worthless. We have a relatively small 27" CRT television.

All this may be strange to hear coming from a person with a career in the AV industry. And as I catalog all of these strange and embarrassing facts about myself, I am shocked at how rural it makes me look. The thing is, I am not a counterculture guy. I am not the anti-establishment Eeyore who hates TV and thinks that technology is the devil. I love science and I love science fiction. I love reading about new technology and the marvels (Towers of Babel, if you will) that humans create.

I think that the issue is utility. I have a cell phone now - it is essential for work, obviously, but although I rarely use it outside of work, I don't think I would ever want to get rid of it. The peculiar geography of our current living situation (we live in a valley which is a complete dead zone for most carriers) demands that we have a land line of sorts (although we cheat a bit and use an internet phone service), but when we move I presume that I will have enough network coverage to abandon the more traditional phones and go exclusively with cell phones. In addition to this, I have further embraced new technology (or the idea of new technology) as I imagine that my next phone will be a data phone with a web browser.

I haven't changed, I don't think, but technology has. For me, a piece of technology is only as good as its usefulness to me. So that is why I have an XBox 360 (the very first brand-new and current video game system I've ever purchased, I might add) and a laptop computer and a wireless router in the house. That is why Bronwen and I are considering a GPS navigator. The technology is good enough (and cheap enough, I should add) for us to use now. I am not a technology pioneer. And as our web-based technology picks up momentum, I am afraid of being left behind. I am going to learn from my mistakes: I used to mock bloggers and MySpace users (although MySpace users do deserve mocking) but now I clearly blog and lurk on FaceBook. I am even on Twitter, although I have yet to place a single tweet.

I'm excited to see where this technology is taking us, because I'll be there too. Just maybe not right away.

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