Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I often wonder about technology and if it is adding or taking away from our lives. Perhaps a little of both.

I mean, recently, I have seen so many iPods; everyone is wearing them, and a lot of people have them on all of the time. But when you have them in your ears, you are more separated from the world. The person at the cash register does not hear the music; you just give her your plastic, look at non-verbal cues, then put the credit card back in your wallet or purse. A transaction without a connection. Do this once, and it is no big deal. Do this all of the time, and you loose touch with others.

The other day, I was in a small restaurant, and I saw who I thought were mother and daughter grabbing a bite to eat. For the entire meal, they talked to other people on dueling cellular phones. You know, I don’t know if it is “cel phone” or “cell phone”. EB White, where have you gone?

Then I look at work presentations, all done with PowerPoint. I don’t know what PowerPoint does more efficiently: (1) kill a meeting’s energy, or (2) kill any sort of creativity. People are worried about font selection when their ideas are the things which need rescuing.

I am not saying we all pull a Ted Kaczynski and move to a cabin deep in the woods. Pretty soon lots of people would be mailing bombs to whomever. Sure, it helps the junk mail problem, but at a cost. And knowing hubbie, if the mailbox was blown up, it would take him weeks to replace the darned thing.

On the plus side, we can e-mail friends and family. But how many of us want to be closer to family? I mean, the cute nephews and nieces are either dribbling on their toys, not e-mailing Uncle Joe. And when they get old enough to e-mail anything of value, they would prefer to text message their girlfriends to see if Jason “really likes me.”

Yeah, I know, there have been huge improvements in vibrators. I read a blog the other day that told of a woman who got six big Os in one hour. I was about to type how they aren’t real Os, but even I couldn’t go there.

I have been told that housework is easier now. Seems just more confusing, with all of the different cleaning agents on the market. I can’t figure out what is good or bad to use. I guess what drives these questions (not the vibrator question, but the others) all deals with so much information. It is getting harder and harder to filter all of the information. And some technology seems to crush creativity.

I am not much of a photographer, but I imagine digital photography is revolutionizing this field. Most good cameras figure out lighting, aperture, F-stop, all of the things photographers had to know years ago. Now, an amateur with an average eye and a happy finger can takes hundreds of photos, and a few can’t help from turning out okay. I know a trained eye might be able to tell the difference, but most of us have untrained eyes.

I don’t know where this is going. I know there have been advances in medicine. But are we living better lives. Healthy baby boomers think so. I am not sure I do, though.

I am all for technology – but I don’t have a cel phone, can’t operate a VCR and don’t have cable. Not because the technology is evil. I just don’t have the time to apply a good filter for these things.

I tried buying a cel phone once. But I could not make up my mind. I think I will turn off the computer now. Oh, I forgot, I can’t. My work revolved around e-mail.


TrappedInColorado said...

There have been many times where I have had the same thoughts, Leesa. When the pay at the pump gas pumps came out I thought how stupid. Less human interaction. Cell phones are good for emergencies and when you have a date and need to tell someone you are running late. There is no reason to be in 24/7 contact with the world. MP3 players are similar to cell phones and are not a good idea when you use them for the express purpose of not wanting to interact. However, just last night as I was using the track at the gym I was so glad to have it. Email. Well. Let me ask everyone this. Did you see the PBS series "The Civil War"? Alot of the commentary was the reading of letters from that war. The prose and style of those letters were amazing and these were commonly educated people. In short, Leesa. I agree with what Albert Einstein said 80+ years ago:

"I believe that the horrifying deterioration in the ethical conduct of people today stems from the mechanization and dehumanization of our lives - the disastrous by-product of the scientific and technical mentality. Nostra culpa. Man grows cold faster than the planet he inhabits."

Good post.


kathi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kathi said...

I remember years ago, I'd ran to the grocery store after work and I was exhausted, to come home and Mark (who was home watching the kids) said we'd needed something that hadn't been on the list. I told him I wish he'd just called the store and had me paged. Reasons like this (and making trips from Texas to Indiana with just me and the boys 3 times a year for 10 years before my dad died)are why I'm so grateful for the cell phones. If my kids or my hubby used their cell during a meal or family time, those cell phones would go a missing, immediately. But, never been a problem here.
Gotta ask though...why are they not real O's? Sorry, gotta know.

Shannon said...

Yeah it's kinda scary when you think about it. We would be lost if we ever lost power through out the country. I remember that black out we had in NY... it was terrible. I believe technology is a great thing but we should never lose sight of the past, we should always have a back up plan, and be able to do things on our own as well.

Mike said...

What I noticed the other day (really I did) was that technology has affected my penmanship...from a cursive stand point. My handwriting...which used to be considered "good" has grown sloppy.

Miranda said...

It's really scarey how far technology has come. Things we used to live without, we panic, if we forget our cell phone. We panic if the internet goes out. And when theres a power failure, it seems to be the phone and computer that doesnt work, that freaks us out more. than the fact that its just dark. Its sad.

Leesa said...

trapped: wasn't Einstein talking about Nuclear War in that statement?

kathi: cell phones have wonderful uses. I actually have one in my glove compartment for emergencies. I used between two and ten minutes per month on that phone.

shannon: I forgot about electricity. It is so a part of our lives, it is almost transparent. Like breathing.

mike: I had beautiful penmenship. It is okay now, but my letters would flow from the pen, now they start and stop a bit more.

miranda: well said. And to go for a week without the Internet. Panic!

TrappedInColorado said...

Leesa. No. That comment was made around 1930, well before the development of the atomic bomb.

Joe said...

I agree that technology is a double edged sword, but I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Except for iPods and cell phones, of course. Those things are just evil.

Prata said...

I will echo Joe's statement. It is a double edged sword. But it is not the fault of technology that people become disconnected from one another. I believe that the Internet has connected more people than technology as a whole has disconnected them. We are a people without borders now. If you live in Nova Scotia or Islamabad, I can still call you friend and have a meaningful conversation and be there for you in crisis (to the extent that technology allows us to today) even if we've never physically met. Many aspects of human society is not at all the past physicality was the only way to foster friendship.

People today still rarely move more than 50 miles from their own birthplace, but it's becoming more common. Technology has really brought us closer to people that would otherwise be outside our scope of comfortable relationships. The disconnect with people around us may seem on the surface to be very bad, but there is something to be said for diversity, at least I think so.

Grant said...

I've always been an outsider, but thanks to my iPod (named Satan Sue, btw) at least I now have tunes. Plus, she provides a convenient excuse for not talking to anybody. And on the subject of technology, let us not forget air conditioning which makes Georgia liveable.

I used to agree with Joe and Prata on the whole double-edged sword thing in that technology makes it easier to kill people...I mean, it has advantages and disadvantages, but now I think high tech is mostly a good thing. Most of the bad stems from people not curbing their own urges or developing bad habits.

Mark said...

Leesa, I'm with ya. I don't have a cellphone, and no iPod. My car does not have a GPS -- I use something called a roadmap that folds up neatly. No PDA... I use a pen and a notebook. Technology has enslaved too many of us.

~Deb said...

As a rule that I make to myself, I never ever put my cell phone on while I am out to dinner with friends or with my partner. It’s rude and inconsiderate to be jabbin’ away on the cell phone while you have company right in front of you. Leave work at work and leave your other social life at bay while socializing with the person you’re with.

IPods. It amazes me that people use them everywhere. I only use mine when I’m at the gym. I’m not a ‘yapper’ when I’m working out. I hate it when someone is on the next stairmaster next to me trying to have a conversation about the best tofu recipe. Get out of my face! Have a steak for the love of God! *venting* Sorry.

I was so against digital cameras. I still use my old fashioned 35 mm and LOVE the way the pictures come out. The digital ones can be enhanced and taken so professionally. I’m not sure if you still get that same ‘affect’ as you do with the old fashioned ones. You’re totally right with that.

Technology is going to get more advanced each year…..and more annoying. I’m just glad we don’t have rotary phones anymore. That was a bitch, huh?

~Deb said...

Ummm...can you give me the site to that 'other technology' that gives 10 O's? Thanks.

kathi said...

and again I ask, why are they not 'real O's'? Oh, and ditto deb, send me the web site addy.

Mark said... -- the Hitachi Magic Wand. Guaranteed Big O's in less than 3 minutes.

Miss Scarlet said...

I work part time in a bookstore and it's so weird when customers keep their iPods on when paying. Tons talk on their cell phones but as long as they aren't rude when I ask them a question, I don't mind.

mal said...

I have been home officing since 1990. Technology has come and gone in that time frame and access speed to information has progressed at a geometric rate. AWESOME

But is it necessarily all good? I think not. Your description of the two women having a meal with their cell phones is a good illustration of the problem. Will we cope? I hope so, but it will only be after we see the outfalls of the dysfuncions.

When I was an evil management type, I forbade my sales people to use Powerpoint for internal presentations. As far as I was concerned, all the fluff took away from the message. What surprised me was I had to kick two of them in the head before they realized I was serious. I think they figured double X'ers like them pretty.

The OH and I have a firm policy, when we sit down for dinner, NO PHONE, NO TV, NO RADIO, occasionally music. I think it is one of the things that has helped our marriage over the years

Great Post *S*

Seven said...

I helped a client interview contractors for their project this week. It's a large multi-milllion dollar project and therefore only the best and biggest contractors were invited to interview. Each one brought the obligatory power point and each said virtually the same things. Toward the end of the day my client had begun to interrupt the presentations trying desparately to build some sort of personal contact with the people giving the presentation. All the contractors were more than qualified; but the client wanted to know them as people before making the choice. The Power Points were in the way of the connecting.
Your point I think?

Leesa said...

joe: thanks for pointing out the evils for me. I like it when you agree with me.

prata: don't you find it interesting that I talk about how bad technology is on a blog? A blog where I need electricity, a computer and a server (server supplied by Google) to make my point. Ouch.

grant: another advantage of satan sue - when you hear voices, people assume it is from your iPod.

mark: plus you like manual focus cameras.

~deb: can you imagine rotary cel phones? And the site that gives the o's. It is, oooooooohhhhhh, sorry another orgasm coming on. C-an't www-write nn-ow eroiqniqw

kathi: see mark's note.

mark: you will be responsible for a few smiles in the future.

scarlett: thanks for the confirmation. I have seen several people with iPods pay, and for the most part, they are soooooo slow in paying.

mallory: good points.

rick: interesting PowerPoint stories. I usually hate the beast.