Thursday, October 29, 2009

Isn't technology great? [Ryan]

Before my mission, I had never sent a text message, never poked anyone* via Facebook, and never looked up the Marvel character Deadpool on Wikipedia because I just wanted to know. In fact, I had only a vague idea what Wikipedia was. I didn’t yet own an iPod, and I was still borrowing my mom’s clunky Nokia cell phone with a pull-out antenna. I was also still a fervent acolyte of the PC cult, regarding anything Mac with distrust usually reserved for infomercial salesmen and Ku Klux Klansmen.

After a two-year break from reality, I returned to the technology dimension and found it a different and scary place.

Now I really have no idea where I would be without it all.

Facebook. At its core, it’s a way whereby you can keep in touch with friends old and new. But after spending a few minutes there, it’s clear that it’s much more: Facebook is a way to let everyone, both those who don’t care and those who really don’t care, know which farming implement you most resemble or which Transformers character you and 40 million other people are most like.**

Wikipedia. An online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Sounds like a great idea, right? Despite the obvious possibility of anything of Wikipedia being written by someone’s cat who someone gained control of a keyboard, it is truly a useful tool. Many academics malign Wikipedia for its inherent lack of trustworthiness, but let’s be honest here — if you’re sitting in class, possessed by a sudden desire to learn about anything from African trade routes to the lightsaber, this is the place to go.

(Did you know you can click on “Random article”? Let’s see: “Turkey at the 2006 Winter Olympics” … “1993 Australian Baseball League season” … “2 gauge” … “Dave Ford” … “Hypoiodous acid” … “Stargate” …)

iPod touch. I can sit in the back of Sunday School, ostensibly flicking through my vast collection of Church manuals and scriptures that came with my scriptures app. Actually, I’m playing Hero of Sparta and defeating various denizens of the underworld. Not that I’m really fooling anybody.

Laptop. My Macbook truly is a wonderful thing, despite having been made obsolete several times. I mean, right after I bought mine, Apple came out with the new aluminum Macbook, which carried facial recognition software; the new aluminum Macbook Pro, which was durable enough to withstand a minor nuclear blast; the new larger Macbook Pro, which had battery powerful enough to run Iron Man’s suit for thirty minutes; and the newest Macbook, which is, apparently, so earth-friendly you could actually plant it and expect a tree to grow. ***

Cell phone. I’ve never been an excessive texter, but it’s easy to see how addictive it can be to have a conversation with someone without having to actually open your mouth, put on clothes, or even devote more than fifteen seconds of every minute to the effort.

Isn’t technology grand? I don’t know how I ever survived without it.

Become a follower. Tell your friends.

* One of my friends and I are engaged in a poking competition, wherein we poke each other on Facebook. The complex ritual goes like this: one of us will poke the other. When the poked party discovers he or she has been poked, he or she will poke back, after which the original poker retaliates with a new poke. The possibilities are truly endless.

** Most people get Optimus Prime when they take this quiz. As flattering as this may be for you, you’ve got to realize that not everyone really has it takes to be a self-sacrificing giant robot who turns into a semi truck. Somebody’s got to be Ratchet or Ironhide.

*** I want to know what would grow on this tree. Smaller Macbooks? iPods?

1 comment: