Friday, August 8, 2008

Technological Advances

When I moved last fall, the size of my living room tripled. All in all this was a good thing. In fact, I moved largely because I wanted a bigger living room. The one downside was my 20-inch TV; you simply could no longer see it from across the room. I set out Wednesday evening in search of an upgrade. At the same time, I'm working on a 4 1/2 year-old computer, and I've been worried about the health of the drives. I also decided Wednesday night to back-up everything and erase and reinitial my hard drive to try to help the computer out. The upshot of all this is that technology is wonderful, and technology at the same time sucks.

Sometimes changing one thing irrevocably alters a delicate technological balance, so that a new monitor screws up the DVR, the surround sound, etc. This was happily not the case. I swapped the smaller TV for a huge HD model seamlessly. In 20 minutes the deed was done, and I was looking at the pimples on the nose of the McNeil Lehrer newscaster. It's all excellent. I can now watch crappy reality television from every corner of the living room. For a moment life was complete.

Moving the contents of my hard drive to an external drive didn't take too long. Erasing and reinitializing the drive, then installing the new OS, took until 1 AM. No problem. However, I awakened yesterday to a computer that didn't have a single application. No Office, no Creative Suite, no Firefox. Everything got moved back, but my history was gone. My bookmarks, my contacts, my address book, my saved emails, my passwords, all gone. It was as if I'd never written or received an email, never browsed the Web. Restoring some semblance of the computer I knew took, literally, all day.

I spent most of my life without dozens of user names and passwords. It used to be that a Social Security number was all I needed. I spent most of my life without even the notion of email. How did it come to pass that I felt deeply troubled at the prospect of one day spent without access to my Netflix queue? And why did I give myself different passwords for different sites? And why couldn't I remember them all? How is it that technology runs my life, rather than the opposite?

It's all done, all worked out. All that's missing is the day of my life that this took. In Eastern cultures today is a lucky day, though, and the Olympics start tonight. I can watch table tennis in high definition glory. I can add Wikis to my dashboard. My new technology will let me get on with the business of living. Or at least the business of living inside my house. Technology hasn't yet figured out a way of coming along when I walk my dog, or of walking the dog for me. It won't be long, though. It won't be long.


Just Asking said...

but will technology learn how to hunt frog?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that you're an Anti-Luddite....