An Apple All Day by Trevor Plumbly
We blindies have problems with technology and sadly none more than yours truly; I find it frustrating jabbing away at icons which others can negotiate with ease. I try not to resent their dexterity but I reckon I’m entitled to a jaundiced overview.
The spark for this blog was provided by a phone call the other day whilst I was hanging out the washing. This situation always poses a problem for me: do I risk injury and make a dash for it or do I feel my way safely and hope they either hold on or leave a contact number? They did neither, leaving me to ponder whether it was a double glazing salesman or someone with a real purpose in life. This in turn led me to consider the approaching death of the landline, along with the art of conversational thrust and parry, sadly replaced by an army of Bill Gates’ offspring clutching battery operated pacifiers. Not for them simple human contact, they’ve all got SMARTPHONES!!! Apart from rating up there with heart attacks as a conversation breaker, this nifty little electronic lifeline enables them to see who’s calling; it can also tell them about the weather and all sorts of other mundane stuff like where they are, and how to get where they’re going. Everyone, it seems, has them these days, which leaves me with the fear that thinking might be going out of fashion too.
A New Class System
The new toys dictate where you are in the pecking order. I was involved in a discussion recently about adapting technology for the blind and discovered to my dismay that everyone else at the table had a Smartphone (I’m beginning to hate that word). To be fair, they didn’t openly show any superiority but I did detect an undercurrent of polite sympathy causing me to ponder whether owning an ‘Android Device’ puts me into a lower intelligence bracket or a sort of second-class electronic citizenship. I don’t use the thing much these days; it seemed that every time I rang someone I got a message saying they weren’t available, which caused me to wonder why they were carrying the damn thing around with them in the first place.
I’m not a total Luddite, I do use bits of technology, and thoroughly appreciate some of the advantages; Audio Books and Spotify’ for instance are a total joy along with on-line crosswords. I use ‘Siri’ and ‘Google’, but sparingly as I’m just not convinced that surrendering too much of my thought processing to a machine is all that healthy, nor, I’ve discovered, is opening your door to Social Media. In a fit of ill-advised enthusiasm, I joined Facebook and now get daily pleas from people I have absolutely no interest in who are keen to be my friend. I’ve tried to quit the thing but like exclusive religious orders, it’s a lot tougher to actually leave than to join.
But the principal concern should be for children: giving them open access to this sort of technology seems irresponsible to me, it’s too much of an opiate for young minds, discouraging questioning by providing as it does, instant and unearned entertainment along with a cheap source of knowledge. Finally, texting, at all ages, despite its widespread use, has done little or nothing to promote good language use or the basic courtesies of communication. It might date me, but I reckon those niceties of life alone are worth a heck of a lot more than a couple of lines of cryptic scribble.