Friday, April 3, 2015

Techno-Hermit Blues



  My reputation as  techno-hermit ( a word I still claim  full credit for inventing) is  pretty well-established among those that know me, and is  a bit of a sort of amusement to some.  Some make the  case, partly in jest, that a man who has a blog, and a youtube page can hardly be classified as a techno-hermit. These folks  say that  not having a cell-phone doesn't qualify you as a techno-hermit, it  just makes you backwards on purpose.  That's fine, and into each life a little inconsistency must fall.  The truth is, I am  bereft of cell-phone on purpose.  Our desktop is ancient, having been built by me out of  spare computer parts that were laying around. I have no tablet, no laptop, no android.  My car doesn't have a radio, or a GPS. I have only sent one text message in my entire life,  and that was done on somebody else's phone, and under duress.  I will openly confess that most of this is by choice, and I will also openly confess a certain amount of smugness towards other people as they  scurry along, more enslaved to their little devices than they probably realize.  I take note while in a restaurant or an airport whole families  communing with their  tiny glowing rectangles instead of each other.  I  take a certain amount of (perhaps wrong) pride in my situational awareness as compared to the oblivion of the techno-saavy.  I  enjoy the  fact that I can hop in my car, and drive across country, and for most of the trip, literally nobody on the planet can find me.
  But I must also admit; I don't know how much longer this  will last.  You see, in my life I have owned two Ipods.  Both were purchased  used, and both were gifts to me. The first was about the size of a pack of cigarettes and was so old I suspect it was steam-powered.  My current one is significantly smaller, but easily 6 or 7 years old. So while I roll along in my  GPS-invisible car, I listen to  music or preaching  or audio books, and life is good. I am  not connected to the cloud,  I am not broadcasting  to the world; it's good.
  However,  in a trait that I believe is  planned obsolescence, both of my Ipods have experienced battery issues after a couple of years.  They simply wouldn't charge back up.  The  remedy for this is to reset the Ipod, which is a temporary measure, and also involves reloading all of your content.  It's hassle and fixes it less every time.  They really do want you to buy a new Ipod, and my problem is this; all the new ones are wireless, and with their  battery issues,  the Ipod people are doing their best to   connect me to the rest of the world, and I don't want to be connected to the rest of the world.  I don't want my device syncing up with  the wi-fi every time I walk into a Burger King.  My current solution is to keep my Ipod perpetually connected to a power source, but that obviously limits the whole idea of having portable music.  Eventually even that isn't going to work, and I will  probably find myself at a techno cross-roads.
  I know, I know, you're thinking, what's the big deal?  After all, the rest of the world is  connected, and it hasn't harmed anyone.  That's debatable, but not the point. The point is, if the technology is there to  meet my needs, and one of my needs is not wanting to be 'jined' up, why isn't there a niche market for folks like me who are just cranky or contrary or stubborn ( all terms my wife uses regularly to describe me) and don't want all the features?  Why isn't there a niche market, for example, for people who want a phone that simply makes phone calls?
  As it turns out, I have a theory about that. I think there are more of us techno-hermits out there than  people realize, but because we're not outside the Apple store queuing up for the last smart watch or   gushing about the newest app that counts their calories, nobody knows how many of us there are.  Our techno-resistance marginalizes us, but it also makes us a little invisible.
  So on behalf of techno-hermits everywhere, I am putting the  tech folks on notice;  if you make  devices that simply do  what we need, we will buy them.  If you don't , well I suppose I  could equip my car with a turntable and an old dairy carton full of LP's.
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