I’m Infected With Technology Fatigue

imageThe Internet is a demanding mistress. Once you hookup – you’re hooked. At the moment I’m on a short vacation and yet, I find I have a craving to stay connected.

Now, that’s either a sad commentary on my lifestyle, or the tentacles of “always on” communication have finally managed to wrap themselves around my DNA. Maybe this is what evolution is really all about   Smile Frankly though, I’m beginning to find the whole thing neuron numbing.

It’s not just the Net that has wormed its way into my subconscious (I wonder what Freud would say about that), it’s the entire technology thing – the world of connected devices, and the ever increasing perceptual need for increased speed.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece – which I didn’t post – in which I kicked around the following personal points.


image_thumb2_thumb_thumbI’m an old computer dog now, and I must admit, that being so makes it just a little harder to learn new tricks. On the other hand, being an old dog does have a positive side – I’m not a techno lemming.

You won’t find me jumping off the cliff with the masses on their way to the Apple (Techno Lemmings “R” Us) Store, for the latest and greatest iPad, or iPhone, or stripping out a dual core processor for a tiny improvement (maybe) to be gained by installation a quad core, or better, processor.

Even Facebook has little appeal – although, I will admit, I do have a Facebook account. Not sure why really – I just don’t see the benefit; at least not yet. Hmmm, maybe I’m more hype driven than I feel comfortably admitting.


Fast forward to today  – I now use Facebook more than ever, (as well as Google+), I jumped off the techno lemming cliff and bought an iPad (to mate with my smart phone) and, went so far as to install a quad core processor – and realized no perceptible gain. Although, I’m sure a benchmarking application will show an increase in performance – if I could only learn to count in microseconds I’m convinced I’d see it too.

This past week, I paid a visit to my Bank (for the first time in years), and not surprisingly, few of the staff recognized me as a customer. Hardly unusual given that I conduct all my financial affairs on the Net. Still, I found it troubling since in years gone by, dropping into the Bank was not unlike stopping by the coffee shop – a bit of conversation – a chance to catch up on the local gossip.

I’m not suggesting that I’ll give up on Internet banking anytime soon but, my banking visit drove home to me that there is a personal hidden price to all this new fangled technology – at my Bank, for example, I’ve become a nameless, faceless, non-entity. Given the types of transactions I complete on the Net, I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. In all likelihood, I’ve been reduced to an IP address.

Some years back, I cut my Internet connection for eighteen months or so (2000 – 2001), and, I was more than a little surprised to find that I didn’t miss it – not at all. Interestingly, by the time I reconnected, the basics had not changed. Sure, the hype machine was in its usual overdrive mode in its attempt to convince me that I had missed a revolution – and admittedly, I had missed some evolution – but, hardly a revolution.

I’m now an even older computer dog and, despite my best efforts, I have become a techno lemming. I’m convinced that I’m addicted to the adrenalin rush attached to the self driven need to stay on the leading edge of technology. Sad really.

Marshal McLuhan was right – “The medium is the message”. On balance, I think that connective technologies have been hijacked, more often than not, so that the technologies have become the message rather than content. And so, the need by technologists to disparage “soon to be old technology” which must be replaced by new and more exciting advances. Or so goes the ever active hype machine.

I’m taking myself out of that game. While it’s hardly practical for me to cut the Internet cord again – it is time for me to climb another mountain I think – time to reassess the benefits of my wired world – time to reconnect more closely with the “real” world.

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27 Comments

Filed under Connected Devices, Internet Addiction, Opinion, Point of View, Social Networks

27 responses to “I’m Infected With Technology Fatigue

  1. Bill ~ people mostly don’t spot the rut until they are in too deep to climb out, but not you I’m pleased to see !

  2. There is nothing wrong with being a slave to technology!

  3. kenneth lunkins

    school starts back in a week and i have been out of summer class for less then a month and have been on line everyday, your right it is a drug.

  4. As a teen that is completely addicted to technology, I am curious how things will be by the time I am an old man. While I think that using technology makes me more intelligent, I have the feeling that eventually the human race will be like the humans in Wall-E, barely able to walk.
    -Marc
    blogbyts.com

    • Hey Marc,

      Agreed – technology has the capacity to boost the intellect. But, you raise an interesting point – I too can envision a “Brain” strapped to assistive devices. Yikes!!

      Bill

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  7. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    A few months back, the old computer died a techno death and I had to get a new one. But it was a few days til it was delivered. I nearly went into a coma, not being able to connect. Apparently I was so annoying that I was given my marching orders to the pub, there to stay for a few days, til the new computer arrived. I was very sick and broke when it eventually did. Thank God I’m back online, I would be in hospital or dead from alcohol poisoning if I wasn’t.
    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      LOL!! You’re lucky Australia has such liberal imbibing laws. 🙂

      Good to hear that the beast arrived before I had to send flowers.

      Best,

      Bill

  8. Bill,
    You always find a way to provoke our thinking…guess that’s one reason you have a mega-blog. As I was in the hospital for 12 days recently I didn’t think once of my computer…of course, there may have been some medication responsible for that. My granddaughters, ages 8 and 10, each have their own laptop, and when they come to grandpa’s house each day in the summer they go first to their computers and sometimes spend a large portion of their day on them. I wonder how “hooked” they’ll be when they’re 35 or 45 years of age…hmmm.
    Keep up the excellent work you do.
    Best,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      You and I were on board for the launch of the first IBM PC (30 years ago this week, incidentally), and we’ve had the opportunity to see the evolution of operating systems from DOS to Win 7 – with maybe a little Basic, Unix, and CP/M thrown in. It’s unlikely that we haven’t experienced social behavior changes brought on by this exposure, and I find myself wondering, more and more, if those changes have all been for the better.

      To be sure, your granddaughters exposure to technology will change them in ways yet to be considered. Hopefully, those changes will have positive impact. I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be so.

      Good to hear from you and I trust you continue to make progress.

      Best,

      Bill

  9. Hey Bill,

    Sometimes I think,wish I started computers in early DOS era,it was there in 96 in my curriculum but dint do much apart from playing few dos games,later on when I dedicatedly wanted it as a subject couldnt get it because of less number of seats finally few years back I got it in studies and as profession

    btw out of post:which is the best IDS or IDPS according to you for home computers

    Thanks
    Regards

    • Hey Neeraj,

      As you know, one of the advantages of having a little DOS in one’s background is, it provides a good understanding of how systems get the job done. As well, at least for me, it reinforces my view that while the IBM PC was revolutionary, the continuing advancement in computing technologies has been more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

      As for an IDPS – I’ve relied on PC Tools ThreatFire for years, backed up by the free version of WinPatrol.

      Best,

      Bill

      • Yeah you are right nomatter whatever windows version we are working on the basic remains the same DOS.

        IDPS- Me too using the same,thanks for increasing the confidence

        Regards
        Neeraj

  10. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    The whole world is aware of the ghastly riots that took place in England a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m not going to over-simplify the causes, but your story about contact with people at your bank branch does make me wonder if those who have grown up with modern technology have become disconnected from their local, and wider, communities. Many have wondered how the perpetrators could cause havoc in their own neighbourhoods and it is possible that this could help to explain it.

    For myself, I’m glad to say that I am not as far into the Slough of Despond as some are. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter accounts and don’t possess either a smart phone or iPad ( or any other of the Apple core products – geddit?). So I don’t feel the need to be always “connected”.

    Things are not going to go back to how they were, so somehow this and later generations will have to learn how to master technology, rather than being its slaves.

    Enjoy your vacation.

    Kind regards
    John

    • Hi John,

      If there is one thing that has struck me in terms of changing values over the last 10/15 years, it’s the enormous lack of empathy. I’m not entirely convinced that the “unconnected” connectiveness of technology is a primary cause – but, I can’t help but think that there is some correlation. It’s sensible to think that substituting personal face-to-face interaction with coded cryptic spelling, has a price. Part of that price may well be a disengagement from values which, in other circumstances, trigger the instinctive urge to protect one’s neighbourhood. So yes, I think your point should be considered.

      BTW, I did pick up on the Apple “core” reference. I always read your comments for those little hidden gems. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  11. Hey Bill
    It’s funny but I’ve only been a netizen for just 3 years and yet I already feel the need to ‘get back’ to the real world. I hope you keep rockin’ forever.

    • Hey Pochp,

      Well, as a Net writer you rely on the “audience” for your livelihood – and, that’s a good thing. A terrific example of how the Net has opened previously closed doors.

      Still, as you’ve found out, it’s easy enough to get that disconnected feeling.

      Hope all is bopping along for you in the Philippines.

      Best,

      Bill

  12. A great article, Bill.

    Like you, I’m old enough to remember a time without computers and the internet. Black screens, green screens, operating systems on floppy disks, the lot. lol

    I think the thing that has changed is the fact we are so dependent on computers nowadays for the things we used to get by other means. Like you mention, on-line banking; we used to go to the bank (I still do). Our news comes from the net. We communicate with others through the net, whereas we used to write letters. We watch out entertainment on the net. We shop there.

    It’s hard to be disconnected from all the net has to offer, especially for the younger generations. It’s all about fashion, and wanting to be ‘in on it’. I can take it or leave it, as long as I can get my email and can post to my blog, and get my books published on-line. See, I’m as addicted as anyone. 🙂

    I don’t however have the desire to keep up with everything. I like to see what happens to others first. lol I was on Linkedin until the privacy issues came to the fore. I deleted my account.

    Apparently, by the length of this comment, I like to hear myself talk too! lol I hope it makes sense.

    Technology has infected all of us. Let’s hope we can still find the cure when we need it.

    Paul

    PS You know you just have to log in to check your comments, don’t you? 🙂

    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, you’re right. Choosing from the smorgasbord of choices the Net offers, is appropriate. Still, as you pointed out – “It’s all about fashion, and wanting to be ‘in on it’”. And that, is part of my issue – the real benefits of connected technology are often overshadowed by the fear of being left behind. Kind like – the train is leaving the station and you better be on it. I’ll wait for the next train, thanks.

      BTW, not only have I signed in to comments, but I’ve been on your site this morning picking out the short story of the week. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  13. Dave K

    Hi Bill
    I have 78 emails labelled Read Me in my Gmail account. Most of them are from Bill Mullins Weblog. Don’t take this the wrong way – I love your blog and have learned lots from it and you’ve informed me about lots of PC apps that I’ve subsequently come to rely on, but I’m tempted to delete the lot and start from scratch. I did this with MakeUseOf emails as I knew I’d never catch up. I might do the same with hours and hours of video recording on my PVR/DTR which I’ll never have the time to watch.
    I think disconnecting from the Internet, and from digital media, would be a great stress reliever – if only I could find the courage to do it. 😦
    Is there a support group I could join?
    All the best,
    Dave K

    • Hi Dave,

      Man, do I hear you! Feeling overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox, or two, is SOP around here. I must confess, there are days that I hit the “delete all” button.

      I’m glad you brought this up – it’s a perfect example of technologies power to control.

      Best,

      Bill

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