"Technology isn’t about to stop."
The above quote is from the April 13 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. It most likely is true, but that makes it a bit scary, and for me, a bit tiring. I have lived through many technological changes already, I’m not so sure I want many more.
Take the telephone: I was in my teens before we had one on our farm in Saskatchewan. The telegraph, the radio, the television, the computer with its offspring the Internet and the spawning of YouTube, iPhones, MP3s, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, have upset my tranquil existence.
I do not understand how I could ever be persuaded to stand in line at an unearthly hour to be the first to buy the latest new gadget. And these gadgets seem to have such a short life, before something newer comes along.
Why does every new TV set need so many black boxes to accompany it? Why not use only one switch to get something to look at? Is that too hard to manufacture? The first radios seemed to have this simple principle embedded. It was so-o-o easy to get sound from them.
Being a woman, historic changes have really been shattering. Becoming a teacher, (the only other choice in my youth for women was nursing), was very satisfying. But I became a bit jealous of all the other things I could have done. With the advent of the pill, this made it even more terrifying when considering all the possibilities this would bring.
I can only observe and watch in fear for my grandchildren, when I think of all the choices they most likely will be faced with. Will they understand what "feminism" meant 20 years ago? How will the roles of parents evolve?
My first musical recording was on a red plastic vinyl disc. Then came reel-to-reel recordings, with "splicing" until things were perfect. I remember Glenn Gould, arguably Canada’s best classical pianist and Bach interpreter, remarking after listening to his tape recording that had been sliced together, note-perfect, saying, "I wish I could play like that!" Now his tapes are remastered and put onto compact discs, DVDs and other offerings.
This in turn has revolutionized the making of films and music. I have listened to many an argument on digital and analog advantages that my in-laws and husband carried on. I’m not saying I understood them all. Still, they were tiring.
And where will the cellphone and its myriad uses take us? I must admit I’m too tired to even try to discover all the things mine can do.
It’s probably selfish of me to keep my number private, as I happen to think that I bought this thing for me, so I can benefit with it. I shudder to think that anyone can find out everything about me, if I use this thing in all the different ways many think it should be used. It has certainly helped the spring revolution overseas, but I’m nervous about using it as a camera or for video storing.
Please forgive my fatigue involving technology. Perhaps I should just keep singing, Take me to a Green Isle!
Bertha Klassen is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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