Good Tech/Bad Tech

Wild revelry is out for me. Although I’ve been told that I still have some great dance moves, I won’t be showing them off on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I’ve tendered my resignation from the Jet Set and am resolved to lead a life of reflection. Who am I kidding?

While reflection is excellent, and I have nothing against contemplation, I tend to be of the “just get out there and so something” school. Just get out to the shop and carve, get up in the morning and write, or go to the station and get way in over your head in fixing a server just because the alternative is stasis. And I hate working on computer servers.

I had an upgrade on a server go very wrong the other day. And that prompted me to holler out, ” I’m too old for this shit!!!!” But, of course, I shut right up and regretted saying it immediately. Last year, the subject came up in a conversation with a friend: when do we say no to learning new technology?

My father’s answer had been never. He’d been a marine engineer, and technology had been his toy. My mother said no early on and could barely operate a tape player. My wife says she is no good at computers but is a resource person on the systems at her workplace. She may be a reluctant tech user, but not one who has thrown in the towel and refuses to learn.

It’s possible to quite the pedant about this and starts looking up learned articles on when mental acuity lags. According to one friend giving up on tech is the equivalent of sitting in front of the screen and watching Netflix. There you sit all day while meldrops of mucus from on the tip of your nose, and you make odd noises.

I’ve chosen an in-between path. I’ve started triage on my tech. Some readers may know that I’m no fan of Marie Kondo, but I’ve found the philosophy of evaluating tech by sparks of joy useful: 

  • does this tech do something useful or essential for me?
  • Does it amuse me?
  • Is it well designed and has the necessary features I need without feature bloat?

This past year for my business, I’ve had to master several new technologies and their attendant software. Triage has been helpful. If it fails, I don’t adopt it, throw it away, or ignore it.

If you feel overwhelmed by what technology offers, it may not be you. Instead, it may be the technology. Years ago, I was told that the sign of a mature well-developed technology was elegant design, ease of use, and simplicity.

If you want to get out there and do something, your technological aids should not be burdensome impediments. Triage.

8 Replies to “Good Tech/Bad Tech”

    1. It sure is. I was at a yard sale where this was for sale. It turned out to be an electroshock machine. About the worst example of bad tech that I could think of.

      1. I took the picture, and that was as close as I wanted to get. I don’t understand how it came to be in the possession of the homeowner. That raises all sorts of creepy suspicions of family pathology.

    1. I’m glad that you appreciate my efforts to be gross. I do try so hard. By the way as I pointed out to rugby843 the photo is of an electroshock machine. Get enough zaps from one of those and the meldorps ( from Old Norse by the way) will be the last of your worries.

  1. This is actually a serious issue, Lou. You probably don’t know but I volunteer at a charity for the elderly in the UK, and a good proportion of my clients have never owned a computer.
    And it’s getting harder and harder just to “exist” without some kind of internet access.
    e.g. local council making access to benefits online-only,
    finding a tradesman, becauuse the yellow pages no longer exists,
    online grocery shopping – which was a big thing during covid,
    online prescriptions etc.

    I’m not sure exactly wehere you guys are in the States but I’d guess your issues are broadly similar.

    1. At seventy-five I do know it’s an issue, and one that is poorly handled. This is why I harped on the theme of simplicity, good design, and feature bloat. There is a quote to the effect that to an engineer if it isn’t broken it doesn’t have enough features. Poor design and feature bloat drive people away. I have a carefully locked-down Windows machine for the laser. I dread having to do too much with it or the complex stack pf servers I have at work. I prefer Macs. the design philosophy is not as simple as it was, but still not as asinine as Windows. The issue is not going to go away, but as I point out mature technologies aren’t hung about with gizmos; they are elegant and simple to operate. We could talk about this lots.

Comments are closed.