Thursday 13 October 2011

From Tech to Toaster

I hate it when the Internet goes down. Specifically, when the ISP, in this case the usually dependable Slingshot, has a hernia and service drops out for what seems hours on end. Not that it happens often, it doesn't. But on those rare occasions when it does, boy do you know it!

Tonight was such a night. Not only did Firefox spit at me, the Kindle conked and my smart phone morphed from android to toaster.

Isn't it amazing just how dependant we've become on the technology. I can't imagine living without globe-girdling communication, and it's a creature of but yesterday.

Douglas Adams categorised "technology" under three headings.

There's the stuff that was already here when you were born, which we find completely normal and take for granted - toasters, telephones, cake mixers, TV and radios.

There's the technology that comes on the scene during your lifetime, but before you turn thirty. This is regarded as the cool stuff: video tapes, desktop computers, FM radio (you'll need to adapt the list to suit your own age group).

Anything after the brain cells atrophy at thirty is completely pointless and probably threatening. I mean, do we need to text shopping lists, and won't it stunt teenagers' brains and destroy their ability to spell and use punctuation? Think back to your parents' puzzlement at the innovations you loved.

And don't you just hate it when technology that still blows your mind is simply blasé to the kids?

I'm reminded of a conversation with a colleague a week or so back. She hit thirty some thirty years ago, and was complaining about being unable to pick up Maori Television for the free-to-air coverage of Rugby World Cup pool games. When I sensitively and solicitously suggested that she was almost definitely the last New Zealander standing who hadn't migrated from analogue across to either Sky or Freeview the dear lady was unimpressed, suggesting I had a fixation on 'boys toys'. Well, quite possibly... but what's her point?

As for tonight's outage outrage, Slingshot has picked up its pebbles and is back in action. Phew!


  1. Gavin, as one who has enjoyed Battlestar Galactica, particularly the newest incarnation (an unpleasant upgrade in technology to be sure) and particularly if you watched the brief, but ill fated Caprica, you should realize what happens to advanced technology.

    Oh sure, you come to depend on those wonderful robots to do your bidding, but the first thing you know, they go running off and disappear for 40 years and come back as Cylons, who are irritated as anything with their creators with their gods.

    All the Cylons ever wanted is for us to worship the one true God.

    So the technology became toasters.

    It doesn't mean they aren't any less dangerous -- in fact, they are moreso and all because of religion.

  2. Just imagine what would happen if the wireless tele-data system went down all over the world. We would have to start talking to strangers again.

    Awhile back, Northeastern America had a three day blackout. All the houses were dark, the streetlights did not work. People were sitting outside in lawnchairs talking to their neighbours, people they did not even know until then.

    Technology is a great thing but it does affect our social behaviour. But these are modern times and almost everybody has some type of smartphone device. I can't remember the last time I bought a road map in a foreign city. Everything is at my fingertips.
    If the net went down for a long time, we would truly be lost until we learned to start using our brains again.