A Not So Favorite Thing

Not surprisingly, in brainstorming my list of favorite things, much of what has come to mind has to do with computer and internet technology: my mac, email, the neat-o features of various software programs, etc.

But all of that comes with a dark side – again no surprise – with the good of convenience, functionality and productivity comes the bad of obsolescence.

Today I looked into purchasing speech recognition/dictation software. I am a customer that is ready to buy, but I can’t. My computer is too old for the most popular/standard software of choice and is too new for the alternative. How ridiculous is that? An hour ago, I was feeling all proud and pleased with my streamlined work-flow idea, but now the air has just gone out of my balloon. Instead of shopping for less-than-$200 software, I’m now wondering if I need a new computer – a need I had not seriously considered before this moment. Sigh.

I’m no Luddite – far from it – but this is one of those moments when I want to chuck the whole technological mess and seek out the simple life.

Within my lifetime – my adult lifetime – the box I am sitting in front of right now has radically changed how we do business, handle money, communicate with each other, find and share information, and play. In high school and college I navigated the library using the card catalog and learned to type on an IBM Selectric. I used a computer like this one to write my school-papers and printed them on a dot-matrix printer. Games played outside of an arcade were no more sophisticated than Pong. I remember being a bit suspicious of ATM cards, and now embrace online bill pay. Remember the busy signal? Now I can have my voice-mail emailed to me. At 16, I could not have imagined something like this blog, let alone the entirety of the web.

I love what I can do with this box. But it’s all moving a bit fast. I’ve never had an interest in being at the center of the whitewater torrent of the latest thing, but you cannot stand even in the river’s edge and not moved by its current. And sometimes I stubbornly resist that. So, having lingered a bit too long in the quiet pool I’ve found, the Park Ranger of Progress has now come along to kick me out. “Sorry, ma’am, we’re closing this part of the river. It’s drying up. If you want to stay in the water, you’ll have to move on.

I know I’ll find another I like just as well, but I’m still a little sad to give up what has been such a nice spot.

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How do keep pace with changing technology?

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