Thursday, February 25, 2010

Luddites, Unite!

Some say, we must move with the times, but I say, let's do so very slowly and beware of the dominance of machines. I'm a big fan of slowness and my computer obliges me. I've been told it's obsolete although it is only six years old. That makes me wonder if I'm past my 'best-by' date because I'm 66. Just yesterday, my computer's diagnostic program told me that my pc doesn't have enough RAM. Now, I resent that because another part of my computer informed me that 81% of the hard drive is free space. What good is all that space if it isn't useful for RAM? I have no idea. I know that my own random access memory occasionally fails to respond to my commands and has to be prompted, but I don't know how I can acquire more RAM and I don't know how much free space for memories is left in my wee brain. I prefer to assume there is plenty.

Not only does my computer lack enough RAM but also it could not change an MSWord file into a pdf file. I searched for the answer but failed to find it. As it turns out, that's because my 'old' Office 2000 MSWord didn't offer that option. I didn't know what a pdf file was because I operate my computer on a need-to-know basis and before this week I didn't need that information. I believe there are tiny people inside the computer and one shouldn't piss them off by asking for too much. In any event, thanks to The Viking who is not a Luddite, I have a new Microsoft Office program and it converts Word files to pdf files. As of this morning, the little green people have been content to obey my commands. Now, if only I could find all the widgets that change margins and fonts and other things in my new Office program, I'd be content too. I am slowly figuring it out.

Because I'm a Luddite, I prefer to form long-term relationships with my machines and appliances, but they are often fickle and even treacherous at times. My stereo receiver which is about 25 years old (I know, yikes!) will operate the turntable and the CD player that was attached to it a couple of years ago, but it refuses to tune in FM stations anymore. Maybe it was tired of carrying only CBC radio 2. It's very old so it's entitled to be grouchy.

On the other hand, my hot water heater was only about seven years old but it peformed poorly so I sent it out of the game and bought a new one. I didn't want to retire it so early, however; the plumber who replaced it said electric hot water heaters last only about 5 to 7 years (yikes again!). He informed me of that after he gave me the $790 invoice. In this age of sophisticated machines, I wonder why no one can make one that will last as long as my stereo?

My television is only about two years old, but it isn't high-definition so it is old technology and if the local TV station disappears I'll be boob tube-less because I receive the TV signal via my aerial (ancient technology). Yes, I could hook up my computer to our local cable provider but that would be too expensive. I can survive without television as there is seldom much worth watching although I am enjoying some of the Olympics coverage.

I'd prefer not to think about the age of my central air conditioning unit which is located five floors above me, on the roof. Apparently it uses freon, so if it fails to work it can't be repaired. Freon is a banned substance now. I can only hope that fans, which are simple basic machines, will still be available if I need to buy some. Maybe I'll buy black-out blinds, but then again, I'm told the roller thingies wear out in about four years. It's enough to make a Luddite like me sew curtains by hand because I've never had any luck with sewing machines either.

Also, earlier this week our family lost our favourite car. The Crown Victoria which had carried the family to and from many places and events and served well and honourably for many years was totalled. We are all saddened by the loss of the beloved Crown Vic. I'm sure neither of the other cars will last as long or be as comfortable for long trips. They are newer cars, but they just ain't the same.

Luddites like things to stay the same, or at least same-ish and we like things that work well for long periods of time but perhaps we are obsolete too?


Angela Addams said...

I am a wannabe techno geek. I am trying to embrace the newest of new technology. For example, I could not live without my IPod touch...My husband makes jokes that I have a family and shouldn't forget them when I am IPodding (as he puts it)
I want a new computer because mine seems sluggish and old (it is only 3 years old)
And I convinced my husband to buy a new t.v. I wanted a flat screen.

But all of this costs money and money is hard to come by these days. So as techie as I would like to get, I am restricted to what I can afford and that is not much at the moment!

Falcata Times said...

I understand what you're talking about. Its upsetting, I know one guy who finally updated all his vinyl to CD only to have his kids ask after he spent a fortune why he hadn't just gone for MP3. His response was a four letter expletive.

Whilst Im not a luddite I do go with the old expresssion of "If it ain't broke don't fix it." After all why spend millions on pens that write in space when you can just take a pencil. (This is just an example, I know that the whole Space pen thing is a myth.)

An Again said...

I love this post! Definitely not obsolete.

Susan said...

I am semi-Luddite, Diane. Definitely not obsolete! But as for all the new "technology", I believe obsolescence is built in. After all, for the manufacturers, it's all about money and so-called progress...

Selestial said...

I wouldn't call myself a Luddite, but it takes me a long time to get adjusted to technology. Even switching from a PC to a Mac earlier this year left me in a state of terror. Now, I love my little PitA Mac. But I still prefer to play CDs and play them loud when I work out over digging out my iPod (damn wires get in the way). My husband is a tech geek though, so I don't really have much of a choice regarding what we have in the house. I have to get used to it or leave LOL.

I don't think you're obsolete, you are just part of a select group of people. That makes you special :P

Ken said...

I'm ADD even among techno-geeks. I'm always buying, upgrading and tweaking. Honestly, I wish I were more of a Luddite. It'd save me a ton of cash.

mcinnesp said...

I'm not a luddite...and because you are actually using a computer, I wouldn't consider you one either...there are a lot of people over 60 who simply refuse to accept the technology.

However, and that being said, I don't keep up with the latest and greatest either...if it ain't broken don't fix it. Not too long ago I gave my daughter an old console TV that her dad and I bought the first year we were married. I was 20 then, so that TV is....old....but still working just fine.

Jan Markley said...

I am a sister luddite!

I did a blog post called Bob Cratchit, Luddites and the dark side of technology. Check it out below ...

Michelle said...

I'm the geek around here. Once upon a time, the more gadgets I had, the better.

Not so anymore. Anything you must have owns you. That's the new motto.

So, I choose my tech things wisely. I've retired some old computer equipment and some other gadgets. After securely wiping them, we loaded them into the car and took them to a donation center.

I'm tired of maintaining them. Too many patches, upgrades, and problems. Once, there were six. Now, there's three. Four, if you count hubby's work computer.

As for the rest, I really feel old when I can say, "They don't make 'em like they used to."