Living with glitches

I’ve always thought technology to be indispensable. There’s no denying the fact that the world will grow more and more connected, filled with the magic of computers and the wizardry of gadgetry.

Some things may be phased out altogether like the floppy disk or the pager. In their place come glittering new apparatuses that do this and that and keep track of one’s stress levels.

The mobile phone, for example, has come a long way. From the heavy duty models available years ago, clunky devices that couldn’t check one’s email, today’s smartphones do just about everything. It’s a blessing, really, to have the world at our fingertips. Having an e-reader gives me so many options. I have access to books from around the world, and I get to read them without having to wait for the paperback. My personal computer stores my work and helps me spellcheck. It accesses the internet when I need it and patiently allows me to beat it in a card game. However, isn’t there always a glitch?

Devices are remarkably temperamental at times. Not always, mind you. But there are instances when the whole thing just shuts down leaving you fuming. Or worried that you’ve just lost your life’s work. Backups are essential. And backups sometimes fail as well, but that’s another story. Nevertheless, I find the behaviour of these marvels of technology fascinating. An acquaintance recently had a mobile phone malfunction. And with it went all the said individual’s stored numbers, leaving her contactless and desperate. Would the trusty old phonebook with its handwritten numbers have done the same thing? Probably not.

Smartphones too, with their limitless capacities can stream videos, play movies and music, and play games, and respond to touch, and tune into a radio station. They could very well just shut down and ignore their owners until kingdom come. Or take an e-reader. One crash and the books are gone. Sure there are cloud storage backups. But that would mean re-downloading the whole thing unlike the printed book there on the shelf that’s quietly laughing at all the drama.

Or the computer with its wondrous storage capacities. Unless one’s a hermit it is difficult to ignore the internet. With the internet comes the possibility of viruses and malware and the terrible hacking. It’s easy to lose that heavy duty manuscript that has been worked on for years. The typewriter is cumbersome, true, but at least it does not crash. Run out of ink, perhaps, but not crash and show its hapless user a blue screen of death.

Effectively, technology is unavoidable. It’s incredible and makes life easier. Only, the glitches and the crashes  make one wish, sometimes, for the past, however rare those instances are.

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