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I'm a slave to technology. - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
feren
feren
I'm a slave to technology.
And how.

Let's see... I work on computers all day long. It's my job to network about 64 remote locations together, link them back to the home office, link them to our data warehousing company and in general just make sure the packets get where they're supposed to go. I have a Handspring Visor Prism for a PDA, which lets me jot notes to myself, keep track of birthdays, organize addresses and phone numbers and a lot more. I have two cell phones. Yes, two. One that is issued to me by work, and one that I keep for personal use and emergencies. My apartment is filled with electronics of all sizes and shapes. I have a handful of older Sun Microsystems machines, most notably the SPARCStation 5, which is a great all-purpose machine for a beginner who is just getting into the world of UNIX. I've got a smattering of PCs running Linux, OpenBSD and Windows (98SE and NT 4.0 Workstation). I've got a Netopia router, which is what connects me to the Internet via a MegaPath DSL line so that I can have my all-important connection to the net. Okay, I'm saying that last part only a little tongue-in-cheek. To do my job from home I need a reliable, fast connection to the Internet, so it's necessary IN PART for my job. But primarily it's just a geek toy for me.

Anyways... other notables include a VCR, a CD burner, a scanner and a PlayStation 2 which is primarily doing duty as a DVD player for me... talk about a waste of resources! I should be playing MechWarrior 2 and blowing stuff up to relieve stress after a bad work day instead of making it play The Breakfast Club over and over.

I've got keyboards and mice and network cables running everywhere in this place. It's a small miracle I don't trip and kill myself when I get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water or stumble out of the shower and get electrocuted on a bare wire. I have so much geek stuff in this place I have had to stack it in the corners, under tables, behind shelves and beneath the couch. It's amazing. My life is completely ruled by silicon, copper, fiber optic cable and the all-mighty "Cool!" factor.

Am I really better off for having all this technology surrounding me, clipped on my belt, beeping and whirring and using electricity twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? I like to think so. Sometimes I worry a little about it, but so much of it has become necessary for me to get through my life I've decided there's not much I can do about it. My PDA is absolutely essential -- it's what keeps me organized at my job, tells me what I need to buy for groceries, things like that. My cell phone is about the only absolutely reliable method anybody has to get ahold of me (Unless it's on the charger in the kitchen and I'm asleep in my bedroom -- I'll never hear it then). The Caller ID on my phone lets me filter out pesky telemarketers, but I hate answering it anyways. I just don't like it, for some reason. E-mail lets me communicate with friends who are thousands of miles away and keep up to date with my father. The web lets me check the weather forcast for the next day when *I* want to know what the weather will be, rather than wait for the forecast on TV.

I think that's what this is all about. Yes, I'm almost certain it is: The 'I' factor. It's about convenience for me. Am I self-centered? Perhaps. I know I can be arrogant from time to time. Or all the time, I suppose. But I have these things mostly because I want them, they make my life easier, they let me be a better employee and a good little American consumer. Okay, so that last part isn't such a great thing, but all told it's here to keep me entertained and let me accomplish my goals with more ease.

Sure, it fails sometimes. Windows crashes and gives me the dreaded "Fuck You, Dude" (A.K.A. the "Blue Screen of Death"). My connection to the Internet flaps, sometimes. My cell phone batteries go dead. My cell phone delivers those lovely little pages from our helpdesk that say "Okay, on-call boy, get in to the office and fix the completely crashed network." But those are some of the tradeoffs that I have to make to enjoy the relative luxury that I live in, and to have things go more smoothly. You do have to admit, technology has helped this society (and hindered it as well, but primarily helped it, I think) become something more than we ever imagined fifty years ago.

Tomorrow I go with Tallears and Jen up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We're going to Summerfest so that we may drink beer (or whatever suits our fancy), eat fried food on a stick, and listen to really, really good music. I hope the weather up there will be good .. so far it sounds like it will be, anyways. My only gripe is that I don't know what car to take up there: the pickup or Twan's Mustang while he's away. I'm not sure how much I trust either one, given the string of automobile troubles that we've had as of late...

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy
Current Music: REM - Man On The Moon

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Comments
geloe From: geloe Date: July 6th, 2001 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Who ever said a little selfishness, in reasonable bounds, is a bad thing? If it helps you or makes you happy, to some extent or another, than it's certainly not a bad thing. Though I admit, the sheer amount of technology, as far as computers go, does make my eyes bug a bit. No, I'm not fated for geekdom; there will still be a lot of smiling and nodding in my future. ;)

Have a good time at Summerfest! Good luck with the vehicles, too. >.<;
(Deleted comment)
feren From: feren Date: July 8th, 2001 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: pop-psych

I drank much beer! I shouted at bands! I heard good music, and I heard lousy music. It rocked! :)

As for the ADD thing.. I'm sort of curious about that. I can see the constant stimulation it provides, but at the same time, how much attention does an ADD person give to any one device? I can spend a few hours on a book, or working on my car, or fighting with my computer, so I don't know that I really qualify for ADD. I do get bored easily, but that's a whole other can of worms, as near as I can tell.
feren From: feren Date: July 8th, 2001 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Completely off-topic...

And now for something completely different: I can't help but notice poor 'kette is the only person with a human avatar here. :)
(Deleted comment)
feren From: feren Date: July 8th, 2001 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Completely off-topic...

Oh dear. Kette is being an individual. We'll have to send the Thought Police out after her. ;)

Anyways... on the other, main topic, I honestly didn't know that ADD-afflicted individuals can have that sort of "hyperfocus." This is what happens when people run with "conventional wisdom" without doing real research. I'm guilty as charged, thankfully you were here to correct me. My biggest gripe is that ADD seems to have become one of those buzzwords educators use to label children that don't fall into whatever predetermined category they like. My cousin is a fine example... last year the elementry school's counselor (what the HELL does an elementry school need a counselor for? Aieeee) tried to label him ADD. Fortunately my uncle would have none of that, he had him pushed ahead a grade (after much screaming and threatening on his part) -- and now things are a bit better. The boy is very bright and a little too outgoing, sometimes, but certainly not the monster these people wanted to make him out to be. The intelligence he has shows in any number of things, an example being that in third grade he was reading at a college level. So yes, he gets bored easily because they keep putting him through the same paces AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. I feel his pain most acutely; I remember when I was in second grade they had us doing "math flash quizzes," ones that supposedly test and hone the student's skill by asking basic math questions. The same TYPES of questions, over and over. Every. Day. For the whole year. I got bored and started drawing on mine because after a week I was getting perfect scores every time, but they still kept giving the stupid sheets of paper to me, and when I got them they never asked me anything new (multiplication, for example).

So he does other things, which according to this thought nazi makes him "disobedient, unruly and disruptive." They wanted to start him on some drug or another to "level his mood and make him more receptive to the class material." Mmm... seems almost like Orwellian thought conditioning to me.
shaddragon From: shaddragon Date: July 8th, 2001 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Techy Toys!

Techy-toys, techy-toys! Heck, no, it's not a guy thing. I'm not a guy. I love tech-toys. They're just sorta... expensive. I've got my computer (absolutely essential, no bones about it). I'd have the DSL if my dad would get the network together (something I still don't know how to do). I've got a handheld (cheap Casio-- I want a PDA so I can play Angband anywhere!) that's become pretty darn essential. We have computers everywhere in the house-- my brother's top-notch thing, my slightly less-top-notch thing, my mom's even-less-so thing, my dad's three or four computers (one main, one for the network, one that's soon going to host Linux). CD burners, VCRs/TVs, Playstation (not a 2, darn it -- what I want is the N64, though-- Zelda!), lots o' computer games (System Shock 2 and Half-Life rule). Etc.

I don't think I'm ADD. I could be wrong. But that wouldn't explain the eight-plus hours I can spend just reading books. ;)
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