Thursday, May 05, 2005

Confession

I don't have a cell phone. Nor do I have an iPod, TiVo, or one of those car lock key chain clicker things. In fact, my car has manual locks, and the last video game system I bought was a Game Boy. I mean a regular Game Boy, not even a Game Boy Advance.

I use the Blackboard grade book for my online students, but for my day students, I average grades by hand. I've tried spreadsheets and grade book software and have never found any of those things to actually save time. Thus, I prefer to do it by hand.

I know how to make a web page using a combination of Dream Weaver, Fireworks, and Photoshop, and if hard pressed I could probably figure out how to make my own cartoons. I just haven't figured out why I would feel pressed to do this yet.

I've been wondering lately if I have a resistance to technological change running counterpoint to my great love for experimenting with other kinds of technological change.

Maybe I do. Maybe not having a cell phone isn't at all about not wanting another bill. Maybe it's about not wanting to be plugged in 24/7. Maybe it's about not wanting to completely change my consciousness to digital ways of life. Maybe not having automatic locks is about a desire to retain things that are more tactile in nature in my daily routines. Maybe.

6 comments:

Rosa G. said...

I have a cell phone that I carry around for emergencies. I'm working on some ideas about the Slow Food movement as a paradigm for a "slow living" life. I wonder what good technology can be if it robs us of our humanity because it pushes us forward at speeds that leave us little time to reflect. I suppose the key is to use but not be dominated by technology.
And I'm not unaware that I've written this on a blog!
Joanna

Mike @ Vitia said...

Like Joanna, I have a cell phone for emergencies; one that I don't even know how to take incoming calls on. No iPod, no TiVo, no remote control car locks. I keep a paper grade book and use a calculator.

Now: I do know Dreamweaver. But you know what? I like doing it by hand -- coding the HTML and CSS -- better. It's more tactile, somehow. I can get under the hood. And the same with the cartoons/comix. I've got the trial version of that software on my computer, which makes a lot of things easy, but in doing so, makes it easier to make them bad. Which is why, while there's a fad of doing "comics," many are actually doing collages and calling them comics, failing to see the absence of temporal relation between the panels of their collages -- which would be perfectly obvious were they to slow down and try doing them by hand.

Like you say, Sharon, it's about the tactile. About being able to see and feel how things work. Which also -- as you suggest, Joanna -- is also about patience.

Nick said...

It also feels like, from this apologia, that you're reacting against an assumption that be pressed upon you: you use a computer and blog, therefore you must also TiVo, cellphone, listen to books on an iPod (who has time for music?), and so on.

There's so much technology out there now that, unless you're really into it all or unless you have a job that requires you to get it into it all (a technology columnist, for example), who has time? I got a cell phone, but only after getting on the wrong train and having no way to call my wife to tell her not to wait at the station more than once. And I got an iPod because it was on sale and because I fly a lot and I can't stand cabin noise or what passes for in flight entertainment. So now I can listen to a book, close my eyes, and let time pass on the plane.

But with cell and the iPod, I'm not a deep user. I don't text message on the phone, play games, download weather, dial Google for definitions, or do much of anything except make calls. Ditto with the iPod -- I use to read in flight w/out contending with odd lighting, finding a good angle to hold a book at, and w/out carrying the extra weight of a book in carry on.

So I don't even think it's the number of technologies used that matter. It's using what you want when you want to how you want to. (And note I didn't say need, because really, if you need to have it, that's a different thing).

J. Newberry said...

Maybe this is why I have a campus-wide reputation for loathing cell phones.

I suppose I do need one. Lately, I've been traveling frequently. Did you know that those Nazis who produce phone cards actually charge additional units if you call from a pay phone?!?

I love Composition Southeast, by the way. If you get a chance, please vist my new blog, The Practical Muse, at http://thepracticalmuse.blogspot.com/.

Thanks.

Clancy said...

Off the subject, but re: what Mike said, I like coding HTML and CSS by hand much better. To me, it's just as difficult and time-consuming to learn the software (Dreamweaver, what have you) as it is to learn the code. And with the code, I have more control.

Interesting thoughts on comics too, Mike, by the way. Good points.

Clancy said...

Off the subject, but re: what Mike said, I like coding HTML and CSS by hand much better. To me, it's just as difficult and time-consuming to learn the software (Dreamweaver, what have you) as it is to learn the code. And with the code, I have more control.

Interesting thoughts on comics too, Mike, by the way. Good points.