Fe Fi Fo Fangle!

Photo of dog sleeping

Sometimes it's all too much!

Old dogs sometimes have to be starved into learning new tricks. Only when the cupboard is bare and the income stream dwindles do they wake up to the fact that old tricks “ain’t gonna cut it” anymore.

I learned the printing trade in the late 60’s and early seventies. Back then you could learn a few tricks and coast on your knowledge for a time before you had to “warp up” to a few new ways of plying the trade.

We didn’t have computers then. In fact I was feeling pretty damn “with it” with my desktop calculator. It had all four standard functions ­ –you know, add, subtract, multiply and divide. Plus, it could do logarithms, something I found very useful in photography.

Rumors of the “paperless society” were regarded as mythic prophesies, not to be fulfilled in my lifetime. We laughed at the idea that there was even any use for storing information electronically. Computers were clumsy, expensive and difficult to operate.  Besides, no one would trust their valuable information to any computer. It was likely to be lost or rendered useless and unreadable by even the best of systems.

There were no standards, no way to communicate with other proprietary systems. The whole idea seemed too expensive and awkward to be a part of any profitable business plan.

Yet the power of electronic communication called to those few who would listen. The promise of undreamed of efficiency and potential beckoned. All it needed was a few innovative believers who could look to the future and realize the benefits that lay in this sealed Jeanie-jar of unlimited opportunity.

Just as radio helped to shrink the size of the world in the 30’s and 40’s, and television shortly thereafter, the technology in the 21st century has taken mankind an exponential step farther in the dissemination of information. No one wants yesterday’s news. Everything has to be current, up to the minute and verifiable through multiple sources.

All of this technical whizbangery is easy to talk about, easy to dream about, easy to wish for… but how about us old fogey’s that have tried to settle back and enjoy life with the gadgets we already know and love? Like the remote for the TV, the garage door opener and the microwave oven… OK, and the cell phone, but just because it’s portable, not because it’s so damn smart. Are we doomed to be left lying in the dust if we don’t jump on this loony bandwagon?

All this fangledness! Even your car talks to you. We live in an age that requires you to learn how to use an app (that’s short for application) on the average of once a week. Stay connected! Get on Facebook! Update your profile! Reload your firmware! Will this madness ever stop?

Everything is multi-functioning and multitasking to the point of major malfunctioning. There are tasks that are forgotten or unattended because you have untactfully taken on too many tasks, which wouldn’t be such a problem if you had only synchronized! Dang!

Another thought: It wouldn’t be so difficult to learn how to use one of these new-fangled gadgets or systems if they didn’t change over to a whole different one by the time you get the first one figured out. Worse yet, if you decide to try and use the one in which you just invested so much effort in, you come to find out they no longer support that version. Frustrating!

After spending an entire day trying to make any one of my new connections to the cyberworld out there actually work, I long for something real simple, like a walk outdoors. Just me and my dog. Unconnected and unconcerned.  We’ll go as soon as he finishes posting his blog and answers a few more emails.

Michael Faris

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  • Doug Barnett  On February 4, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Uh. Wait. Give me a second to figure out how to respond via this mobil device.

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