Lebanon Reporter

April 6, 2010

High tech wreck

By Dick Wolfsie
Reporter columnist

The iPad is the newest offering by Apple genius Steve Jobs. I just read an article about it that noted, “This will totally affect your life.” I know it will change mine. The toughest part of the technological revolution for me has been coming up with plausible reasons why I’m not going to buy each new gadget.

When I was in college, I used a manual Underwood typewriter. When electric typewriters became the rage, I fought it tooth and fingernail. I asserted that there was a downside to typing faster than you can think. Computers are even speedier, so I use that excuse to explain the drivel I put out every week.

My battle with technology continued into the early ’70s, when I refused to buy Post-it notes because I felt they were a lazy way to remember things. My concerns did not make for sparkling cocktail conversation with a first date, although I didn’t have a lot of first dates. I kept forgetting to show up.

When I first heard about fax machines, I was also resistant. I finally went out and bought one in 1980, but I had nothing to fax. Thirty years later, I still don’t have anything to fax. Have you ever met me? Do I look like a person who has documents that need to get someplace in 30 seconds?

I remember the first time I saw someone with a cell phone. I was playing golf back in the early ’90s, and a guy on the third tee was calling his wife. Then his boss called him on the 4th tee. And on the next hole his dentist’s office called him. Avoiding people was the very reason I was playing golf. I relented and bought a cell phone, of course, but I haven’t learned how to fully use it. I have never taken a photo with my phone. And the only text I have ever gotten was from AT&T trying to get me to cough up the bucks for an iPhone.

The big cellular providers are missing some good opportunities to market to older people. How about a cell phone with a metal detector in it, so I can go to Indiana Dunes and poke around for nickels in the sand? Or a gentle alarm to wake me from my nap to let me know it’s time to go to bed? Where is AARP when I need them?  

Now, let’s talk about twitter. Every day I get e-mails from people who say they are following me on twitter. At first that struck me as creepy, but wait: I’m not on twitter. So how can I be followed? Fine, you might as well also follow me to the ballet, the international turkey-calling contest or a clogging demonstration. Good luck.

Reluctantly, I joined Facebook, but I still can’t figure out how this whole thing works. The other day a lady was ticked at something I said on TV, and she wrote me a note and posted it on my wall. Why are people writing on my wall? Were they brought up, in a New York subway? Now the whole world knows what a jerk I am. This was supposed to be a secret.

I have a confession to make. I bought a Kindle — one of those hand-held doodads that downloads entire books to view on an electronic screen. I do miss the feel of real paper, though. So I’m using Post-it notes to mark my favorite pages.ide’s residence in Lebanon. Lee Faust will officiate.