Call This Progress?
by Peary Perry
said this was the information age made a huge understatement, it should have been
the Ďtoo muchí information age. All of these things we now use were supposed to
allow us more free time and make life easier. Iím still waiting for this to happen.|
I have four computers, two pcís (one at my office, one at home) a laptop and a
net book. I use each one for different reasons. The net book is small enough to
use in that ten inch space they give you between seats on an airplane. Airplane
tray tables are designed for kids of six and younger. No decent adult sized person
can successfully read, eat or handle anything larger than a copy of the Readers
Digest without having your space interfere with the person sitting next to you.
Or for that matter having theirs interfering into your personal zone. Something
that no sane flying passenger appreciates.
So, you end up with four separate
machines with four separate sets of information and most of us end up searching
for this file and that file without knowing where anything is at any point in
time. Years ago we carried everything we needed in a briefcase on a legal pad.
We used a phone to communicate with others about our personal and business needs.
You didnít need a user name and a password to talk to your brother; you just dialed
his number and talked to him. If you want to communicate to your brother today
on something like Facebook, you have to enter your user name and some password
which you never can seem to remember. Most of us try to use passwords that are
relatively simple to remember, like our dogs name or our birthdays, but since
these arenít secure, the various web sites make it more and more complicated.
Suppose your dogís name is Rover, you probably have to combine that with a series
of numbers such as 1234. Now, since 1234 has no relationship to Rover in the first
place, as soon as you establish this as your password, you will promptly forget
what the number actually is. You might write it on your hand, but thatís only
good until you take one or two (hopefully) baths.
Then youíre so paranoid,
you donít purposely write the number down anywhere since youíre afraid someone
might actually want those pictures of you scuba diving in Mexico. Then to further
complicate matters you canít or donít use the same user name and password for
each and every website you have on your computer or in my case, computers. No,
that would be too logical but stupid. So, you have to try and remember what you
used to log into each web site Ö.more information. Youíre also too paranoid to
use one of those password sites or memory devices because you heard about some
friendsí ex-brother in law who did this and their entire saving account was transferred
out to some drug lord in Russia. The fact that you only have less than fifty dollars
in your account at any one time doesnít really matter, those drug lords are merciless
and stoop to any depth to get all of your money.
So if you are like me,
you have web sites on some computers that are not on the others. You have e-mail
addresses scattered on all of them and canít remember which one you used to contact
your long lost friend in Australia. These web sites are grouped in files under
favorites, but you have forgotten in which file you saved what in. This causes
you to have to return to the web site and select the ĎIím too dumb to remember
anythingí button and start the process all over again. This means the web site
will send you a notice to your e-mail telling you what the information is that
you need to enter their site. Thus what should be done in a matter of seconds
now takes ten minutes. This, my friends, is not progress, I donít care what they
In the old days, everyone carried around a little book with their
phone numbers in itÖ.so what if you lost it? No big deal, no one was going to
break into your bank and steal your life savings just because they found your
personal phone book.
Computers are great labor saving tools for a lot
of things, but in some cases they have made life more complicated, not simpler.
However, they have become a way of life and we wonít be going back to the old
pad and pen any time soon.
Sometimes I wish we hadnít made so much progress.
© Peary Perry
Comments go to email@example.com
Letters From North America
- May 20, 2009 column
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