A Brave New World

I think when I was born there had been a lot of things invented fifty years before and they worked pretty much the same by the time I came around. That probably doesn’t make much sense, but it was a thought that I regurgitated instantly from my head. Here’s where it came from in a convoluted way.

I just saw an ad for a Blue Tooth gadget. (What’s really scary is that I really just saw it—maybe five minutes ago—and have no idea what it was for and where I was on the Web to see it. Ah, this getting older is just sublime.) What struck me was how commonplace the ad was—that we naturally expect that a device only developed at the end of the 20th century would be able to provide us with such service. It made me realize I treat the electronics in my life as if they are a television or a toaster oven. As if they are an appliance to make my life more comfortable—and an appliance that has been tested over time to perform with safety and efficiency. I don’t think that’s the case.

Look at the new iPhone. My husband has always been a gadget guy—we had the first Betamax in the neighborhood—so he bought the new phone. I’m not sure it was ready for purchase. There are kinks that need to be worked out, and what’s with the new plug size? Now we have to buy new charger units and can’t do a cross over. Does Apple thinks I’m a slave to their newest whim? Enough already!

What was wrong with this cable connector?

I really didn’t like the new phone until this past Friday. I was taking a walk in Rancho Mirage, talking to my daughter in Seattle.

“Do you want to Facetime?” she asked.

“How can we do that? I’m taking a walk.”

“We both have the iPhone 5 so we can Facetime from anywhere,” she explained.

Within minutes, I was walking and watching my ten-month-old granddaughter sorting Tupperware in her mother’s kitchen. Even my daughter was blown away.

“Okay, now we’re talking Technology,” she said.

“It’s finally Dick Tracy come to life,” I agreed.

I don’t even pretend to understand the technology that made this miracle happen. I don’t want to know it. I trust that the Apple engineers know what they’re doing—hopefully. And I trust that the product was market ready. Or do I? Remember when microwaves were introduced into our kitchens? I had mine installed up high so we wouldn’t get microwave poisoned. I still think about it sometimes, even though microwaves have been standard for years. And I do wonder about the radiation coming from our phones. I don’t like seeing my kids and grandkids carrying their phones in their pockets.

Wow. Re-reading that, I sound like someone who should be sitting in a rocking chair with an afghan over my knees. Truth be told, I guess I AM a little cautious about these new fangled contraptions….




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