This blog piece is from dbd’s elder statesman Peter Vaughan, on keeping up with ever changing technological world…
Stating the blindingly obvious, this is an increasingly technological world we are living in and, to put it simply, I’m not sure that I am keeping up with the rest of the class. In other words, technology is progressing at a faster rate than my brain’s capacity to handle it. I’m being left behind.
Questions then arise – is it me? If it is, am I a lone voice? Is it an ‘age’ thing?
Let me explain something. Firstly, I have always thought of myself as something of a technophile (definition: ‘a person who is enthusiastic about new technology’ – Compact OED) so I’m not, either by instinct or inclination, technophobic – which means exactly the opposite.
To be honest, I have never shown much if any interest in what I may broadly describe as the ‘hands-on’ technology stuff, by which I mean that I don’t bother with the mechanism or ‘how’ something works – for instance I don’t need to know the details of microwave technology in order to cook my supper – I press a button and it either works or it doesn’t. End of story.
Incidentally, note the word ‘enthusiastic’ in the above definition – it doesn’t say ‘proficient in’ or ‘knowledgeable about’ – it just requires ‘enthusiasm’ – and I have enough of that!
To digress for a moment. When I was growing up my father would ‘make’ clocks and radios etc. from bits and pieces that he bought for shillings and pence (old currency) in Petticoat Lane and East Street markets in London. These skills haven’t been passed down my particular genetic path but, well, each to his own! The point is that if he was alive today he would revel in this ‘new technology’. Disappointingly I don’t take after him.
So, to get back to my problem. Basically, I’m confused. Take a look at this list: iPad, iPod, iPlayer, DVD, Blu-ray, mp3, iPhone, Android, Bluetooth etc.etc………there must be many more that I haven’t heard of!. What do they all do?
I recently logged on to the website of a well-known TV, audio, etc. retailer because they advertised (and I quote) ‘if you’re confused about technology then we have all the answers’.
Well, their ‘jargon buster’ comprised 89 terms and corresponding ‘explanations’ and, worryingly, they don’t sell computers or mobile phones! What would an all-encompassing, all-technology ‘jargon buster’ list look like? War and Peace couldn’t begin to compete.
Understanding what all these items do is one thing – the first step you might say. Getting to understand the functionality and maximising the use of that functionality is something quite different
For example, I have used a PC or (currently) a laptop for years and can ‘surf the net’ and word process to an acceptable (to me) level. But, if I want to do something slightly out of the ordinary word-processing wise I have to wade through an inch-thick MS Word manual – without any guarantee that I will actually find what I am looking for. Quite frankly life is too short.
I also have an iPod Classic and a portable DVD player – proof positive I would suggest of my enthusiasm for such modern ‘aids’ – although the limited extent to which I make use of the full range of facilities available just reinforces my case.
Having to bear the twin crosses of the passing of the years and the ever-quickening pace of technological change I now suspect that I may be exhibiting some worrying signs of the dreaded technophobia (which can be defined as ‘a person who dislikes or fears (my emphasis) new technology’). I am putting up a struggle but I need some help.
Short of having access to a technology ‘guru’ who is permanently available to answer any conceivable question on the state and operation of modern technology, my solution to this problem of generational ‘technology gap’ is simple. Have children. The more the merrier. These days toddlers are IT-literate almost before they can walk. Having grown-up children and growing-up grandchildren who are all IT- literate brings wonderful benefits when advice of any sort is needed and I can heartily recommend this as a solution – although if you are starting now from scratch it will take a few years to bear fruit!
Incidentally, later this week my daughter is coming to de-install my old Dell printer and install my new Canon all-in-one printer. Honest.