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my thoughts on technology and society

April 9, 2007

$30 fixed my computer today. Much better than I was expecting it to be. Go me!

Honestly, I was upset all night about it. It sounds stupid, but I really have nothing to do without my computer. Yoga? Videos are on the computer. Watch Angel? Videos are on the computer? Play games? WoW is on my computer. Talk to people? Nobody calls me, I just use AIM. Find a recipe? I think you see where this is going. What does this say about me?

I think it says something about society. Think back to the 1999, New Year’s Eve. We were afraid a lack of forethought by computer programmers would cause the apocalypse. The idea of an apocalypse at the beginning of a new century is no new thing, but we really were worried about it.

Computers are now a part of everyday for most people. 10 years ago few of my friends had AOL. 15 years ago, I was the only person I knew with a computer. My friends’ parents had computer problems and asked me to fix them. I was fortunate enough to grow up with one in the house, but I have become nearly dependant on it.

Even now, I don’t know a lot of people who can fix their own computer, but the number’s growing. My ex couldn’t have did what I did to my computer. My friends, maybe, but they’d likely just ask me to do it. Story of my life, honestly. Besides the point, really. But my ex uses a computer daily for her business. If she lost email and online access it would slow things down amazingly.

There are downsides, too. No office is free of a computer. They’re good for recordkeeping, but you’d think by now we’d be almost paperless. Not true, in fact, we are using more paper now. We will always use paper, but there is no excuse for using so much anymore. I think it’s because it’s comfortable. Even I have been known to state a disdain for eBooks, preferring the experience of holding a book instead. It costs more and uses more resources, but I don’t care, because the reason I read books is to get away from the internet and the computer screen. I am part of the problem, but I have also changed to complete online banking, paying bills online, and doing everything I possibly without using paper. Now, if I can get my bills emailed to me it would be great. Need to look into that.

I’m a bit of a technophile, so seeing the acceptance of technology is a great thing. We could be doing better, though. How? For starters, free internet access for everyone. I will pay a little more in taxes to make that possible. With advances in WiFi technology it is possible. Several large cities are already offering, or starting work to offer, wireless internet access to every citizen, and some are paying for it with a single popup ad per connection. You login, you see a popup, your internet is paid for.

We need to get more basic computer repair classes in schools. There’s no reason a teenager can’t fix their own computer. Plus it can get kids interested in technology and achieve engineering jobs. Workers in short supply in the US, hence outsourcing and importing of workers. My son will be a geek, I hope. He’s already half geek, thanks to my genes, and he loves using the computer. Now we just need to keep that interest and teach him more. The ex doesn’t like the geekiness of that, but I think she doesn’t understand that you can be geeky without being socially inept and dorky.

I’m not the best computer person out there, but I’m competent enough to fix mine when it crashes. I have never, nor will I ever, take mine to a repair shop. If I can’t fix it, it’s time for a new computer. That hasn’t happened yet.

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