Technological deprivation is relative

October 20, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

My computer is running a fever. The central processor overheats and shuts the system down. After a day of emails with the support center, and then a phone call of which only half the time was on hold, they admitted that the probable causes are under warranty. So I sit and wait for a new power supply and heat sink assembly to arrive, that I then “get to” (oh, joy!) install for myself. If that works, then will be back up and running normally.

Meanwhile, I still have my 3-year-old laptop and 6-year-old desktop computers that I keep around for backups and to keep peace when the niece and nephew are here. I am missing some important files needed to get do my gainful work, and my old machines are pretty well full (maxed out drives and ram, even with careful pruning). But I can carry on.

But I feel hobbled! Poor me. I only have about 1,000 times the computer power of the Apollo program at my fingertips, and instant access to an interconnected public worldwide information network not even described in fiction until Arthur C. Clarke’s “Imperial Earth” written in 1976.

I know people who claim they get along fine without a computer. My Dentist had never computerized in office or home until he retired last year. I know that the majority of citizens of this planet don’t yet have computers. A sizable fraction don’t have electricity or even safe water!

Yet, here I sit in uncharacteristically sub-comfortable ergonomics and whine about my temporary, curable, slight technological deprivation more noisily than I did when we had no power for 5 days this past storm season. But then I was in good company, with 500,000 others in the same boat. Aren’t modern conveniences grand?

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Category: Consumerism, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    It is amazing to consider how dependent (and therefore, vulnerable) many of us have become on computers. I work as an attorney, for example. Two hours of every day are spent sending and receiving email. Email is often the best method of communicating: it's faster and more dependable than mail and it's usually more effective than telephones, because you have a record of who said what when–in addition, you don't need to have both parties available at the same time (though voice mail also offers this advantage).

    When I'm not emailing, I'm creating documents with my word processor. Or I'm researching case law or I'm doing investigating using Internet resources. Or I'm working to design new website features for the firm.

    Sometimes, I sit down to read real books, but these moments are becoming increasingly rare and quaint.

    In sum, it's getting to the point where, if the computers system went down, I might as well go home. This extension of self into the cyber-world reminds me of an earlier post: http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=153

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