Those of us with Luddite tendencies prefer to hide them. Tech is the ultimate good, right? You’ve got a smart phone in your pocket or purse and it contains the entire internet and what more could anyone possibly want? Besides an upgrade, that is. I recently misplaced part of the charger for my old iPhone 4S. Yes, a phone that old can still work, no matter what they tell you! I went to the store to replace said part only to find that you had to purchase an upgraded replacement that costs twice as much as the old part did. Why? It had a new type of USB port, in addition to a “traditional” USB. Pardon my ignorance, but I thought the U stood for “Universal.” Now even vocabulary has to change to meet the demands of tech? Whoever the tech god is, s/he is extremely mercurial.
So I was in a meeting the other day. A guy older than me was talking about the future of tech. It occurred to me that guys my age (who didn’t get to take early retirement) are trying to act like those half our age, as if we really understand technology. Growing up with something is the only way, it seems, to adapt to it in any kind of naturalized way. There are kids today, if the internet’s to be believed, who don’t understand that you had to lift the receiver on an old-style telephone before dialing. And if that dial is rotary, well, let’s just say the pizza’s not going to be delivered anytime soon. Those who grew up with the internet and smart phones have a native understanding that people my age lack. I still write ideas down on paper. I prefer DVDs and CDs to streaming. And I believe books should be made of paper.
Changes in the tech world vindicate me. I heard that iTunes is going to be retired. This is after I’ve spent plenty of money downloading songs that I could’ve bought on DVD and have in “hard copy.” Indeed, friends are telling me to back up my MP3 files on some kind of storage device before iTunes goes the way of UltraViolet. And we’re supposed to trust tech. I’ve lost ebooks by switching devices. Some of my tunes have been licensed away because I downloaded them on an older computer. What’s one to do? Buy them again. In a new format. On a platform that will eventually be retired so you’ll need to repeat the purchase a third time. Or you can buy it once in paper or plastic and have it for good. Now there’s a radical idea. If only I had something to write it down on.