Is Modern Technology Too, Er, Modern? Or Perhaps Too Delicate?


For any of you dear readers who have been glancing over my columns for any length of time, you probably know that my attitude to modern technology, as it applies to “electronic devices,” is pretty much one of Bah Humbug.

I mean, first of all, they’re really delicate, aren’t they? Not only are we apparently terribly vulnerable to hacking attacks from the Russians, Chinese or assorted lone genius kooks, but our individual devices break down all too often.

It’s not that unusual for our computer to go on the blink, way beyond any capacity of Mary’s or mine to remedy it. Hence we have gotten to know our computer repairman pretty well. He’s a fine young man and always knows just how to fix our problem. But it seems to me that if computers are so great, why can’t they be a little more reliable.

Let me give you an example. Mary’s writing on a project that’s very important to her. It’s now going through the final phases so she can submit her work to an editor. A couple of days ago, she was typing, using a word processing program. Suddenly, instead of showing one page on the screen, it showed four small pages.

She tried to fix it. I tried to fix it. We called friends and family members who we thought knew something about computers. All to no avail. So of course we brought the thing to our computer man and he fixed it in a day. The remedy was pretty simple, but he admitted that he kind of stumbled on the answer himself. I won’t go into the technical details. That would just make me more disgusted.
Then, to add insult to injury, Mary’s phone went completely dead. It wouldn’t even take a charge.

We both have those Jitterbug phones, the ones you’ve probably seen advertised in magazines. Cell phones for old folks, they are. They’re relatively easy to use, have large numbers, etc. Just what we need, right?

Well, we got rid of our landline phone some time ago, so we rely on our cell phones to communicate with the outside world, and Mary felt cut off from her out-of-town relatives. She wanted to go buy a new battery for the device, but I said “let me first call the company and see what they say.”

So, I got a very nice Jitterbug lady on my phone and explained the problem to her. She walked me through the process of removing the battery for a few seconds and then reinstalling it. And, voila, the phone was working again. The battery had somehow become displaced, she explained.

Like I said, these things are delicate, aren’t they? The recent problem with Mary ‘s project was relatively simple. But often our computer completely goes haywire and is unusable, for browsing the Internet or other common uses to which such machines are put.

I admit, our computer is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. How else would I control my Nertflix choices, after all? How would I instantly access Major League baseball scores at midnight? How would I instantly communicate, both for pleasure and for business, if it weren’t for emails? Can you imagine having to tell someone, “No I don’t have an email address. You’ll have to call me or write me a letter.”

Yeah, you can’t really thrive without a computer these days. At least I don’t have a smart phone. My Jitterbug isn’t stupid, but it doesn’t know how to browse websites or anything like that. It doesn’t even know what aps are.

Anyway, after our recent misadventures, we do once again have a working computer and Mary has a working phone. Until the next time they go out, that is.

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