Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Is the Latest Always the Greatest?

Every day on television I see advertising for the latest and greatest technological gadgets, new apps for "existing but constantly requiring updating" gadgets, new and improved growing larger gadgets and new and improved shrinking smaller gadgets. The amount of money people have to spend on a monthly basis to use these hand held gadgets is staggering!

The more I learn about the capabilities of the various gadgets the more I realize I don't actually need any of them. 

I refuse to do my banking online because my bank is 3 blocks from my house.  I can walk there and back and get exercise as well as having personal contact with the bank employees. I also have less worry about identity theft.

I don't shop online anymore after trying it twice on "secure" sites and having to then replace my credit card both times after the data banks of these "secure" sites were hacked.

I don't have a need for sites that give recipes because I have a cupboard filled with good cookbooks. There is nothing like the joy of sitting on a tall stool in my kitchen perusing those tattered, dog eared pages.

I don't need to have an online book site because I get such a thrill out of handling actual books. It is so much easier for me to mark pages I want to return to with a bookmark or a post it note than to spend time irritating my eyes scrolling up and down the tiny screen.

I don't have a need for apps to discover cutsey little household decorating tips because I don't own my home and am pretty much stuck with things the way they are.  If I want to decorate I can go happily to a furniture or home decor store by putting down my hand held gadget and hoisting my butt off the sofa for a nice walk or drive to the nearest store to see for myself what is actually available.  I can crinkle the towels and curtains to check out the wrinkle capacity of the material.  I can run a hand over the back of the sofa and chair to see if they are good quality leather or just a well appointed "cheat".  I love the tactile experience of home shopping in an actual store.

I have no need of an app to access the latest jokes or cutsey videos of kids muffing up the lyrics to hymns and patriotic songs.  If I develop a need that desperate for those things my desktop computer will suffice for the short amount of time those sorts of things hold my attention.

I don't need a camera on my cell phone and to be honest I am growing a bit weary of squinting at the bleary photos other people seem so desperate to share with  me on their wee phone of people I don't know and would never recognize anyway after seeing them in such poorly taken of sunsets that never turn out as well as the actual amazing vision of the real thing even in larger of pets I will never of wonderful holidays reduced to a less than 4" by 6" screen and therebye making what I am looking at even more of a mystery.  "Well, this isn't the best picture and it is kinda small...." is becoming a mantra I can do without hearing quite so often.

I don't need to have access to cell phone calls or text messages everywhere I go, every minute of the day. No one does.  Whoever bought into that idea  has fallen for a great big lie!  While it is great to have those capacities to be doing business when you are out of the office, or for the kids to reach you in case of an emergency, chatting on the phone and texting other people when you are in the middle of a strictly social event is downright rude and I have reached a point where I am prepared to just walk out of a tea party at my own home if people answer their phones and send texts for non-emergency purposes while we are visiting.  All these hand held gadgets are turning us into a society of social boors.  "Do you mind if I just answer this call/text?" has become another mantra I can do without.

I am in middle of a full blown rebellion against hand held technological gadgets.  Much of the information I can access at all times is not necessary information (eg 90% of the postings on Facebook walls) and even though it can be fun, it doesn't need to be accessed on a 24 hour, no matter where I am or who I am with, basis. It is becoming another addiction we can all do without.

Beginning nearly every paragraph in the post with the word "I" is deliberate.   I still real person....a real person who delights in actual face to face contact with other people.....who has realized she does NOT need to know thousands of items of meaningless trivia when her time could be better spent with other people talking together about things that matter to each of them....who feels that using cell phones and texting when visiting is a social gaffe....who resents the raised voices shouting into cell phones in public places like restaurants and grocery stores.....who fears we are becoming completely inactive as we sit around hour after hour wasting time accessing information we don't need just because we can....who appreciates all the apps and sites,  the fun and the amazing things available through hand held technological gadgets, but can also freely admit she can enjoy life more with less of them.

Side note:  I am sorry to find out that Mountain Equipment Coop has decided to change their easily recognizable mountain peak logo, with the actual name of their store on it, to a bland green square featuring the letters MEC in the middle of it.  Apparently we have so little time in our lives that we can't read 3 full words at a time any more.  MEC.....another acronym that could mean anything to someone unfamiliar with the company.  MEC could stand for Mainline Economic Crisis....or Major Evangelical Conservative.....or Mixed Emotional Crises....or...well, you get my drift.  I doubt the Toronto Dominion bank will be impressed since their logo also consists of a square the same shade of green with TD in the centre of it.  I suppose the reduction of business names to a series of letters that tell you nothing about what kind of business it is has evolved in part to ensure that their logos fit onto the teeny screens of most of those blasted hand held devices.

Sorry, but for me the latest is not always the greatest. 
PS How many people under the age of 40 even know that TD stands for Toronto Dominion....or that CIBC stands for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce........just sayin'.... 


chris e. said...

Too right! We just had the 'joy' of a visit with an extended family member last weekend, a fellow who is obviously stressed out from too many hours at a stressful job. Instead of taking time to visit with us (I suppose I should point out that they invited us to come visit) he spent most of the time on his cell phone 'tidying up' work emails. Yeesh! Get a life! A real one, not a virtual one!

bullwinkle said...

I agree with you completely....
And I am a gadget geek!

If work didn't supply me with a Black Berry (phone, not the fruit)
I would not have a smart phone of any
I enjoy the moments away from eclectricity. (Note the Harry Potter reference)
Hate going out and seeing people sit
there yakking on a phone. Shut the
thing off, get a life! Oh, and
don't take pictures of me without
asking first. Just say no to
Google Glass!

Susan said...

I really think all these gadgets serve a wonderful purpose for many people in many ways, but it is the idea that it is never right to make a personal caller or texter await a response that drives me crazy. Voice Mail DOES serve a purpose...calls and texts CAN be returned LATER!! Bullwinkle I think you have a good balance in your life between tech and other aspects of life.
chris e. I can totally relate!

chris e. said...

And only a half hour after reading your post I ran into a neighbour who (first thing she told me) was they just spent the weekend at a wedding where EVERYONE (except the family they stayed with) spent the entire time on their cells!
Bullwinkle: Sorry, don't know what Google Glass is. Nor have I seen or read Harry Potter anything.
As far as cell phone cameras...I now refuse to pose for retakes on 'impromptu' shots that weren't to the photographer's liking first time around! If I can live with a shot of me looking old, fat and in mid-blink why can't other people?

bullwinkle said...

Chris, Google Glass is a new
geek toy with no real purpose.
a headset with a camera and micro
sized monitor built in:

(Sorry about the advert heavy page)

chris e. said...

Ah. Something my 14 year old nephew will no doubt be into. Why would a kid prefer interacting with electronics to real people, even female people???
Rhetorical question, i'm not sure I want an answer even if anyone does know!

bullwinkle said...

I was so scared of girls at 14
that gadgets were my only option! :)
(They were also much bigger,
considering I rode a dinosaur
home from school each day ;))