Here I was in my blissful bubble of Blackberries and laptops, thinking nothing could go wrong with the world when dun dun dunnnnn – the blue screen of death appeared on my laptop.
The technology I adore so much appears to have been conspiring against me over the last couple of weeks and it culminated in a full-scale meltdown at 9pm last night. Mine and the machine’s.
I am a girl of the Noughties – I have had a mobile since the age of sixteen and am a fully-fledged member of Twitter, Facebook and now, this blog. I prefer to text than talk on the phone and I love the fact that I can now access social networks on the go from my BB. I used to have a Myspace account although I am considering re-enrolling just to see what JT is going to do with his most recent acquisition. I rely on Google for the answer to anything I don’t know and I read newspapers online. I love that through Twitter I have made friends with people all over the world and I love that this blog gets hits from Australia, Canada, Hawaii and Saudi Arabia among other places. I love that no-one controls what I can learn about now – I am not under the control of newspaper editors, politicians or any set-curriculum.
I have a Kindle, which is possibly the best ever invention for a bookworm like me. It means I can take hundreds of books with me without the annoying weight. If I drive anywhere unusual, I use a sat nav to ensure I get there safely and with minimal wrong-turns. I love my iPod and I would love an iPhone. I am a capitalist’s dream. However, I realised over the last couple of weeks how reliant on these technologies we actually are.
I have had 3 Blackberries in the last 11 months. The first time, one of the letter keys on the QWERTY keypad locked, leaving me unable to access my phone as my password contained said letter. The replacement’s screen went funky within a fortnight, leaving me unable to use my screen at all. Last week I had to get a replacement battery. Last Friday, I had to recharge my battery three times in the course of a twelve-hour period during which I was too busy driving to even use my phone let alone run the battery down.
Now, although I will admit I use my phone for non-necessary activities like Tweeting and Facebooking, I was really scared driving around with no battery. The fact of the matter is, if I broke down how could I let anyone know? Sure, I could walk or flag someone down but in this age, there’s no way I would – how do you know who you are stopping?! I may sound paranoid here but I’ve seen enough horror films to know you’re asking for trouble. In all seriousness, though, the pub where I was meeting my friend for dinner was off the beaten track and the country roads beside it are boy-racer heaven so breaking down there would not only leave me stranded but in very serious danger. In that situation, without a mobile phone, I could be in trouble.
I agree that a lot of the technology we have now is non-essential but for me, the basic mobile is still a necessity.
The laptop is a bit more complex. I use a desktop at work but the laptop is my lifeline at home. As a friend and I were discussing the other day, it is really another labour-saving device – like the vacuum cleaner. The home computer – be it laptop or desktop – saves us from rushing out to the shops only to be disappointed. It saves us hours on the phone – we can pay bills, check cinema times, read the news and shop in a few clicks. We can find out so much just by tapping away for a few seconds. It allows us to keep in touch with friends and family all around the globe. But I do use my laptop to work – I write with it. I also store photos and files on it. How could I be so stupid as to not back that sort of stuff up? I don’t upload all of my pictures onto Facebook so if I lose the stuff on my hard drive, it’s gone forever. Now that is a sad thought.
I know all of these great advances aren’t essential. People have lived in the past without hard drives and mobiles but I am of the generation that can only just remember what it was like to use the house phone to talk to your friend. We have to move with the times but I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with it when I think about it. And if we are going to use this technology, we need a back-up plan; whether it be an external hard drive or an idea of what you’d do in an emergency without your phone.