I'm not a Luddite, nor am I an innovator...not even an early adopter. Technology of any form should, I believe, make my life easier or better in some way. Some times it does. I'd put the electric iron, air conditioning, telephones, and electricity squarely in the corner of Easier or Better in Some Way. Computers and the attendant peripherals tap dance all over the line between Easier-Better and something best spelled with far fewer letters. And as cell phones become more computer than phone, they, too, slip further from Easier-Better.
There was a time when we all knew the telephone numbers of our parents (or children, depending upon our age), neighbors, local businesses, and close friends. Far too many of us don't know the work or cell phone numbers of our spouse or closest friends; when the cell phone stops working, we are frighteningly helpless. As a friend of mine asks frequently, what will happen when someone unplugs the cord?
The source of my pique today is a recent issue with my home modem, which seems to have stopped working due to a storm-related power surge. These things happen (though not, I might add, to my books, pens, or paper....just sayin') and the modem was still under warranty. Installed the new modem and...the wireless router won't allow a connection. After close to an hour on the phone with the helpful (yes, they really were) people at A.T.&T., we reach the end of the support they can provide. Only when I am left on my own to do the requisite research do I learn that the router has been "phased out" (that's Greek for "we are now making something else that costs a lot more") and is no longer supported. Would have been nice to know that when I replaced the decrepit modem two months ago. In order to have wireless access, I am now forced to buy another piece of technology. All I get to decide is which piece and at what cost.
Lest you think I am overstating the case of our tech-dependency and helplessness, here's what happened when I previewed this post mid-way: