Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mo Technology, Mo Problems

I'm back in Charlotte now, and back in a blogging mood. Coming back from Indy (and actually not being in my house for about a week) gave me  tonight's topic. 

My family always traveled quite a bit when I was growing up. Both of my parents were teachers, so we'd have nice breaks for summers, holidays, and random fake holidays. These were usually hardcore road trips across the country in a minivan. I'll always remember the feeling of pulling back into the driveway after vacation. I was always bummed to be back home (because it usually meant going back to school the next day), but I'd always find the silver lining of "oh, at least we can check the mail and the answering machine." It was like catching up on a week's worth of life in about five minutes. 

I was reminded of this when I came back to Charlotte. I had been gone for six nights, spent the night in five different hotels, flew 6,000 miles, drove 600 more and there was really nothing to check. We don't have an answering machine. We actually haven't had a land line in five years. Aside from Netflix, there's never anything in the mailbox that needs our immediate attention. Bills are paid online automatically. News is on the internet. Email is on my phone. So now there's no really potential positive excitement feeling when we're coming back from a trip. Which means all we're left with is 'man, it would really suck if our house burned down.' I'd really like to balance that irrational fear out with something like 'maybe Ed McMahon left a message on my answering machine.'

So I guess that's my long-winded way of saying there seems to be both good and bad that comes from pretty much every technological advance. I'm by no means a ludite, but I can find a downside to pretty much every technological advance. Maybe that makes me a pessimist. Oh well. Here are a few others:

Social Networking
Pros - Great time waster. Good way to share pictures. Fantastic way to keep in touch without really talking to someone else.
Cons - Highly addictive, stalking potential, not good when you're looking for a job

DVR
Pros - Watch more TV in less time - what's not to love?
Cons - Makes watching 'regular speed' television pretty much impossible. Also miss some pretty fantastic commercials

iPod/MP3/Kindle
Pros - Allows for mass quantities of music or books to be portable
Cons - You sort of forget about the tactile qualities of books and music. Both when you're buying something, and then after you buy and really like something. It just isn't the same.

Garmin
Pro - You're never really lost, which is pretty fantastic
Con - I'm not only a worse driver since getting a GPS system, but my sense of direction has also regressed. I've lived in Charlotte for six months or so, and I still turn the damn thing on when I'm driving downtown. It's a complete crutch.

That's all I have time for this evening. If you can think of some more technological advances and want to list some pros and cons, go for it. I think pretty much every new gadget or communication channel has some downside. Except Email. Oh, and blogs. No downside with either of those.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bleeping Beeping

Here's a techo winner for you. The microwave not only beeps when your food is ready, it continues to beep periodically until you remove the food. While you're waiting for that food you might hear your dishwasher beep 'finished', or your clothes dryer or the oven - and on and on.
If you burn your food the smoke alarm and CO detector will beep and if you try to escape the flames via car, the seat belt reminder will beep until you buckle up or return to the burning house to escape the bleeping beeping. And these are the beepers that you don't even set. Add to these, your watch and alarm clock and you're pretty much beeped out. I'm waiting for the i beeper to be invented that beeps to let you know that your beeper isn't working....oh yes, they already have that in your smoke alarm to let you know your battery is low. Jeepers creepers - where'd they get all those beepers!

thechiclife said...

Welcome back! We always look forward to seeing our dog again after a long trip, though he usually comes with us.

Al Iverson said...

Yeah, getting to see the dog is a huge plus with regard to returning home after being on the road. It's almost worth leaving town for no reason, because we'll come back, and Solly with be very excited and drive us nuts for a few hours. Lucy, I'm not sure she knows who we are. But she knows we provide food.

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