Saturday, August 21, 2010
An old fashioned kind of guy
Got to thinking about all this new technology and have to ask is it really bettering our lives? With the cell phones, the twitters, the face book, GPS and all that are we slowly loosing our true identities as human beings? I'm sorry but I need more than the allowed 140 characters having given up passing notes in grade school. In communications I'd rather see somebody face to face followed by a phone conversation followed by maybe an email even though it's considered passe. As technology goes I remember the first pocket calculators that came out in the 70s. Math is not my forte so I was first in line to buy one. At first I thought they were great in fact after a while I got to memorize many of the calculations to the point where I didn't even need the calculator. They were after all far faster then my brain but after a while they become a crutch and you find yourself unable to do the simplest of math without one. Now it's just a matter of speed. Do I want to sit there with scratch paper doing the math or have the answers magically appear on the LCD? But then there's the issue of not having access to a calculator. Having grown up before their very existence is an advantage as long as you remember the formulas.
Then there's the issues with today's cars. There once was a time when I did nearly all the maintenance and repairs. But in the last 15 years or so the engineers have taken it upon themselves to stuff a computer or electronic sensor in every crack and cranny. Now I can understand some of it as wanting to enhance fuel consumption but overall the technology has sailed past my understanding even with a repair manual. My displeasure of this stems from the fact that now even those well trained high tech grease monkeys can't always fix your car and as I see it that only gives them yet another opportunity to inflate the bill. Used to be Mike the mechanic would tell you your exhaust bushings were going bad but you could check a repair manual to see he was lying. Now you'd be lucky to have a clue as to what he was talking about even with the manual. And of course they'll have to put your car on the diagnostic meter to find out what's wrong. Gad I think I've paid for about a dozen of those meters for what they charge to use it. Then there's the specialty tools that only dealers or repair shops have to remove a widget. You could buy one but the tool is one that you would only use once during the life of the car. And once you move to your next model the tools change as well.
What happens when there's a major technology fail?
Our technology may be the botox and face lifts of present day life making things look pretty but the infrastructure has arthritis. We live in a very thin veneer of civilization. Our power grid is 50+ years old and I see no great push to replace it. Yes we keep adding solar panels and wind turbines to the system but the backbone is pushing 60 and as we all know everything has a life span. Like our very nature we'll use it until it fails then wonder how we'll pay to replace it.
I can only hope that moving forward that technology would get simpler and not more complex. Well I said hope.