Changing With the Times — Sometimes

Kaypro II

In our rapidly changing technological world, the tools needed for everyday life are constantly being updated. Over the years, I’ve found that while I adopt some very quickly, others seem unimportant to me.

I got my first computer in 1983 — a Kaypro II — and loved it. To be able to write and then revise with ease was fantastic for me, a person who writes to figure out what she’s trying to say. At the time I got it, and for several years afterwards, it was more useful equipment than the clunky word processors then in use in the places where I worked.

I haven’t been without a personal computer since. I’ve still got the Kaypro — surely it will be a valuable antique someday — but these days I do my writing and a hundred other things on my Mac PowerBook. I love it, too.

On the other hand, I finally got a cell phone in 2004, when I was taking a vacation by myself in Arizona and thought it might come in handy in an emergency.  I’ve still got the same bare-bones phone, and I keep it cheap with the pay-as-you go plan. I don’t text. I don’t even talk on it that much. It was, however, a godsend when I was moving last year and between home phones.

While I’m now thinking about getting an iPhone or other 3G device, it’s not because I need more phone capabilities; it’s because those phones are essentially pocket computers. I could get my email on an iPhone, and I live and die by email. If Apple would just allow someone to make a folding keyboard for the iPhone — so I could write, blog, and email on it — I could leave my computer at home and have everything I need with me all the time.

I love computers; I consider phones a necessary evil.

I’m the same way with computer applications. I blog far too much, but have trouble remembering to do anything on Facebook or LinkedIn unless someone pings me. And I can’t be bothered to twit, I mean tweet.

Sue may be right about the importance of Twitter, but I just can’t get excited about it. I’d rather have a long email from a friend than one-sentence updates on what she’s doing right now. And when I have something to say, I usually need more words than Twitter allows.

But blogging gives me scope to say something about subjects that interest me, and — just like any other kind of writing — it helps me figure out what I think.  It’s also really good for my blood pressure; if something makes me very angry, I can blog about it instead of just screaming at the radio or newspaper. These days most of my blogging is done here on the Book View Cafe blog, but I got started contributing political observations to In This Moment, a blog run by my friend Diane Silver, and I still post there occasionally. I’m really glad Diane introduced me to blogging.

The world is changing, and the tools are changing with it. We all need to change with the times. But no one has to do everything — modern technology not only gives us tools, it gives us alternatives.

If you’re looking for me, I suggest using email. Sometimes I don’t even answer the damn phone.

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Nancy Jane’s flash fiction for this week is “Passing.” Her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies is available from PS Publishing and her novella Changeling can be ordered from Aqueduct Press.

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Changing With the Times — Sometimes — 5 Comments

  1. Nice to know I have a kindred spirit out there. I too love computers and hate phones. I too have a phone without a camera or any of the other bells or whistles, but having a fast and reliable place to write is a must.

    The only piece of technology I want – and can’t get in Australia, are the ereaders.

    Loved Passing – not sure how you weren’t convinced of being a writer before hand, but glad you are now.

  2. I’m with you – all the way. I don’t have a laptop computer – yet, but when I do It will be a Mac. I think Twitter is just another excuse to waste time and avoid thinking about what we are doing. If something is worth writing out – it’s worth writing wout well.

    I use my blog to talk about my life here in Estonia and I don’t see the point of Facebook or My Space

  3. Brenton, thanks for the kind words on “Passing.” I always liked the story, but the outside validation I got for that one convinced me that I was writing stories that other people would like, too. And when I found out that teenagers liked it and got the point, I was absolutely thrilled.

    I think the three of us are in good company. I’ve read articles indicating that even people with big names in cyberspace pick and choose among the devices and programs they adopt. No one can do everything.

  4. I had my first computer in 1980, it was the ZX80 by Sinclair (if you can call it a computer, it was more of a trumped-up calculator!)
    I remember typing in code for hours and hours to just get a black ball to bounce across the screen…
    However in 1986 I did manage to get an adventure game published on the Sinclair 48k Spectrum called ‘Rogue Comet’ and a UK website has it archived and available to play on PC by emulator here!

    http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0010139