I’ve been using computers since 1971. Mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers – labels that have long since disappeared. I got my first personal computer in 1979. I used FTP, Usenet, Gopher, email, years before the web, and remember being blown away when Mosaic came out in 1993. I spent a lot of money on computer and gadgets over the years, but for some reason I don’t want to buy a smartphone. Oh, I’d love to have a smartphone – I just don’t want the monthly bill. And since nearly everyone else is becoming a smartphone user, will this leave me in the tech dust?
I have a poor man’s smartphone, the iPod touch and a pay-as-you-go dumbphone. It essentially does most of what a smartphone does, and I only spend $50 every six months for 500 minutes. I also have an iPad 2 and a Nexus 5. I’m not totally out of it, but when I read Engadget I feel like I’m at a black tie party wearing a sports jacket and jeans, and even those are getting threadbare and moth eaten.
Now I’m reading about smart watches. Pass. Google glasses. Pass. Have I gotten too old to compute?
I am cheap, but then I’m retired. I now spend about 99% of my time at home, so mobile devices just don’t have a compelling sell to me. Yet, all the tech glamor is now in mobile devices. I do use mobile apps on my Nexus 7, but I’d much prefer using most of them on my 23” monitor.
Is the bleeding edge of tech savvy now limited to on-the-go computing? Am I joining the ranks of the cyber-Amish by not owning a smartphone. Am I less of a geek for not wanting the latest smartphone every year?
Getting old is getting old, so I must accept that young people are going to do and know things I don’t. BFD. I’m not whining, but since I’ve retired I realized, more and more, I’m cutting myself off from the mainstream of people. I’ve always done this. Being a gluten-free vegetarian atheist has a way of isolating me from normal life. Being a computer geek is something I’ve always identified with, so is choosing not to follow the cutting edge of tech another way to isolate myself? (I can hear my friend Annie growling at me, “Hell yes, you moron.”)
This reminds me of a friend who died about twenty years ago. He had become so negative about life that he only like two things, Duane Allman’s guitar playing, and Benny Goodman’s clarinet playing. Luckily I still love hundreds of things, but I’m starting to realize that list is shrinking. Is that another way of defining aging – that you list of likes shrinks?
There another way of looking at though. One I feel is more positive! As we get older we juggle more balls, or spin more plates. Remember those guys on Ed Sullivan that would keep plates spinning on sticks? Back then, we called life “the 9 to 5 rat race.” As we grew up we learned to spin more plates. At some point in your life you realize that keeping all those plates spinning is a lot of damn work. Then you go all Zen dog and start spinning fewer plates. Retiring is moving into those years when you spin fewer and fewer plates. And the positive spin I mentioned? Well, you enjoy life more because you just keep the things you love most in motion.
JWH – 2/25/14