The Latest and Best?

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I feel distinctly out of step with the modern world.  I may only be fifty-eight years old, but often I feel as if I am already a relic of a past age,  often bewildered by how fast things are changing and wondering exactly where it all will end.  And although I appreciate the many advances our society has made, and I do enjoy the conveniences of certain aspects of modern technology, I also can’t help but think that some of technology’s latest offerings are just plain silly.  And more than a little bit annoying.

I have seen several commercials lately advertising new refrigerators that are actually equipped with cameras on the inside.  Apparently, it is possible to obtain an app for my phone that will allow me to see what’s inside my fridge by looking at my phone, although why I would want to do that, don’t ask me.  Yes, it could come in handy when I’m at the grocery store to see if the milk carton is almost empty.  But only if the milk isn’t hidden behind a big pitcher of lemonade.  Or, as is more likely in my case, a large bottle of wine.  Do the cameras rotate, allowing us to see all possible angles, including the bag of moldy cheddar in the cheese drawer?  Do they zoom in so I can read the sell-by date on the sour cream?   It seems to me that it would be so much easier to simply check the fridge before I went to the store.

DSC00209My household is one of the few in America that still has a landline phone, without the benefit of caller ID, and I’m not ashamed to say that I actually like it (although I will get around to adding the caller ID eventually.)  It works even when our power is out, and I never have to remember to charge it, the way I do my cell phone.  And while I enjoy the convenience of my cell phone, I prefer to use it the “old-fashioned way” by using my hands, rather than my voice, to operate it.  I find it very annoying to listen to someone speaking their text message:  “We made it the cabin.  Period.  The weather is great. Exclamation point.  Hope the fish are biting.  Smiley face.”   Seriously?  That’s better than typing?

And then there’s that mechanical voice called Siri.  If they’re going to install robot voices on phones, they should at least have given us a choice of what kind of voice we wanted and how we wanted it to be respond to us.  Personally, I’d pick a deep male voice with an British accent that always referred to me as “my brilliant darling.”  Now that would be worth listening to.

I appreciate some of the new technologies for cars, like the reverse screen, but I read an article the other day that says they are working on a “smart windshield” that will actually display messages, including Facebook, across the bottom of it.  Apparently, someone out there feels that seeing the latest cute kitten video or photo of someone’s lunch is so important that it needs to be available to us even when we are driving our cars.  Or maybe they’re going to wait until the cars are actually driving themselves, which I’m also told is coming soon.

Is it just me, or do so many of these new “advances” seem intent on making it unnecessary for humans to do much of anything at all for ourselves?  We won’t have to know how to write, we’ll just speak to our screens, which we will use for everything:  banking, shopping, communicating, you name it.  We won’t need to learn to drive, we’ll just hop in, settle back and let our cars take us where they will, hoping they get us to the right destination .  And we won’t need to remember anything, we’ll just ask Siri.  Ditto for doing any kind of research.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when it really does make me long for “the good old days.”  Never have I felt so old…..

45 thoughts on “The Latest and Best?

  1. Yes, technology isn’t always helpful and I often wonder where it will end. I heard that education will not be about memorizing, but knowing where to find the information. For me, it was a big step to blog and put myself into cyberspace. What will be next? Beam me up Scotty.

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    • I bet that is exactly where education is going! And like you, it took quite a bit of courage for me to start a blog and put myself into cyberspace. But that’s about as far as I am comfortable going. Scotty is going to have to beam up both of us!

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  2. Oh, my! Now I feel older too! I laughed out loud when I read about the camera in the refrigerator (formally known as an ice box) and mine would have wine instead of milk. We gave up our land line but still have flip phones (will probably upgrade soon) and I did not know you could talk a text! (I do text when necessary.) Thanks for the updates, Ann. Perhaps I should get out more! Personally, I would respond to “My brilliant darling” too. What a fun and timely post! Technology is here to stay but I will still pick and choose.

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    • Thank you! I agree: technology is our future, but we still get to pick and choose what parts of it we like. And seriously, how is a single photo of the inside of our fridge going to tell us anything???? My many bottles of wine will be blocking the view of all the food…..

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  3. I think there have been some nice additions to our lives through technology but some things, like the camera in the refrigerator which we happen to see in a store recently, is just over the top and unnecessary. Like you, I still gave a landline phone which I refuse to give up, though I do have caller ID…:)
    We are getting closer to dumbing down our lives to levels I don’t even want to think about. I often wonder what’s next. Where do we go from here? What’s the next big thing that will alter or enrich our lives. Someone is already working on it. I just don’t know if I should be excited or concerned.
    Very strange times, indeed.

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  4. oh Ann – you have joined “the band wagon” as well. 🙂 I absolutely agree with you – whats wrong with a little bit of “old fashioned”? _ Nothing, in my books. As wonderful new technology is in most cases, there are always silly people who think they have to proof to us Mortals that they are sooooo much more clever than us, by “inventing” more and more downright stupid things. I too refuse ‘voice mail’ (prefer to receive a “letter” i.e. text, never ever have done ‘internet banking’ – love my visit to my local Branch and meeting all those nice helpful people there – the are human!! – and re the voice ““my brilliant darling.” would do just fine 🙂 🙂 🙂

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    • Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks some of the “advances” are, as you say, just for the sake of proving that someone can invent it! And seriously, wouldn’t it be nice to have our phones call us “brilliant darling” several times a day? Now that would be an improvement!!!

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  5. I’d guess most of these things are meant to extract money from people, but people have so much they’re having to dream up more and more exotic items (like the in-fridge camera) to convince them they can’t survive without. I think if one has got to the stage of genuinely not being able to recall what is in one’s fridge, and roughly how much there is of it, it might be time to arrange for daily carers.

    PS I’ve got a landline with no caller ID and if my mobile phone rings I jump, and stare at it in terror. Sometimes I just ignore it, hoping it will decide text me instead, and if it does text me I delete whatever gibberish it texted and go back to reading my (paper) book. : )

    A British male version of Siri (which I have only seen on TV in The Big Bang Theory) who called you My Brilliant Darling would be nice – but would he really mean it? I have a Tesco delivery young man who always says “There you are, Young Lydie” as he deposits my groceries on the front step, but he’s a bit of a simpleton/short sighted.

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    • I agree! If we were half as stupid as these people seem to think we are, we would all need daily carers. And I like the way you deal with technology…..give me a paper book any day. I didn’t know there was a British version of Siri, but unless he called me his “brilliant darling” and actually meant it, I’m still not sure I’d be interested! Thanks for the comments…yours are always worth reading!

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  6. I give my guy a bad time when he badmouths the ‘new silly inventions’ that make human beings seem like imbeciles. I tell him he has to watch out and not sound ‘old.’ But truth is, I agree with him…and with you. Really? We need to have an app to see what’s in our refrigerator???? All the little gadget ideas of what we now ‘need’ and ‘have to have’ to keep our lives running perfectly are a scary message about the state of humanity. We’ve become a society of busy ants, so busy we don’t have time to sit and read, to walk over to the refrigerator and see what’s in there, to turn our head around when we back up and see what’s behind us. I believe in looking ahead, sure, and in fresh ideas and insights, but I agree with you – some of the new tech is just ridiculous!!!

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  7. Well Ann, as old as you are, I am quite a way ahead of you! I too have a land line phone, and an answering machine that allows me to listen (do I want to take the call?) and, in my absence, it takes messages very well. I do not have a cell/mobile. I really think that if anybody wants to reach me, they can call my land line, or email me. In an emergency, there is always 911!
    As for technology going wild? Yes of course it is….. and because it can! We’re in a supply/demand commercial culture so as long as enough people show an interest in “in fridge” cameras, then some company will produce same. A frivolous waste of money from my perspective. How can anybody justify such gimmickry when a huge percentage of the world’s population is struggling to find fresh water and food everyday? Sadly, that is the world which we have created.

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    • I know! We spend time and money on unnecessary things, when people are still doing without the basics in many parts of the world. I envy you for not having a cell phone! Even though I use mine in moderation, I’m still far too used to it. And it intrudes into my life far too often.
      And as an answer to your question to Jodi below: Heck yes, you should read the poetry out loud!!!!

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  8. As with others here, I’m similar to you Ann in those respects. The contemporary fetishisation of gadgetry and technology isn’t making anyone feel more contented, and certainly not aiding societal cohesion, despite the moniker of Social Media being attached to some data harvesting algorithms. The corporations are trying to create demand for stuff that, in truth, we simply either don’t need, or which conduces to nothing but yet more busyness in our already time-starved lives. If anything, such stuff creates dependency, the need for maintenance and replacement, or adds to the sense of alienation projected upon us if we refuse to participate – we’re Luddites, we’re behind the curve, we’re out of touch, not with it. That’s perfectly fine by me. I live a contented life here in England, and aside from an antediluvian PC with a chronically slow internet connection, am pretty much devoid of technological trappings. 🙂

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    • Yes! Technology was supposed to make our lives easier, and in some ways, it has. But in more ways, it has just made us more stressed, worried, and quite convinced that we are lacking in many important ways. Just so someone can sell us something we don’t need.
      And you’re right: social media is really not social at all. Exhibitionist, abrasive, and occasionally cute, but not social. Thanks for the comment, and for setting a rather good example….

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  9. LOL! My favorite Line of yours of all time: “Personally, I’d pick a deep male voice with an British accent that always referred to me as “my brilliant darling.” Now that would be worth listening to.”

    I love that idea too! What is it about a deep British accent that gets us all giddy?! 🙂

    And I’ll bet every generation of 50-60 year olds has said the same thing about the crazy new things and what they made do with and how silly things are.

    I can remember 25 years ago thinking, “what in the heck am I going to do with the ‘world wide web’?” Now I cannot imagine life without “googling” a recipe or directions or a definition or a phone number. 🙂

    I’m guessing in the next decade, we’ll be saying, “How did we EVER manage at the supermarket without a camera in our fridge to check!” Let’s make a bet on it! 🙂

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  10. I tend to agree with the idea of ignoring a lot of the new “advances”, and I spent my career in technology. But it can be handy too. I came late to the smartphone party, but joined in part as I figured it would be useful for travelling. That turned out to be true; I recently downloaded a Google map of a city I knew I’d be roaming around in without a connection except for GPS, and was able to wander around and find things without having a real clue where I was.

    But I don’t generally travel needing to monitor a refrigerator. And I don’t need to check on any teenagers denying midnight raids on the cheesecake…

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    • Yes, that google app came in quite handy during our recent trip to Napa. My son-in-law could see all the traffic jams ahead and direct us around them. Some of the advances are quite good, especially in the field of medicine, etc. Still, some of them leave me shaking my head, and worse, some of them sort of worry me. Thanks for the comment!

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  11. Smart windshields don’t sound very smart at all. I also don’t want a refrigerator that my wife could check when she’s not even home to see whether or not I’ve been at the strawberry cheesecake again.

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  12. Holy Smokes! I agree, I have ALWAYS felt out of step with the world so this “modern world” is really far off for me. I don’t think that the latest is the greatest. I agree with you, some some of it is silly and completely annoying. I really don’t understand why they would make “smart windshields.” In fact I think anything that further distracts a driver should be made illegal. I swear, driving now-a-days is ridiculous with the number of people that are looking more into their lap then at the road. It is beyond annoying.

    I don’t understand why anyone would actually trust any type of camera – no matter where it is — that can be viewed remotely. That is just asking for all types of . . . . well, we will SEE, won’t we?

    I always marvel at 80 and 90 year olds. How do they do it? How did they live to see all the change and still hang in there?

    Thanks, nice to know I am not alone!

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    • You are SO not alone! We don’t need half of the stuff they are coming up with, and a lot of it just makes our lives more complicated and difficult. Like you, I do marvel at the older generation who has lived with so much change, and yet still manage to keep going. It is truly an inspiration to us…and one that we are going to need, too! Thanks for the comment!

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  13. This post made me smile, Ann. So funny, but also spot on. The one that really stumps me is the car with the stuff scrolling along the windshield. Isn’t that like reading while driving? I wonder what all this technology is doing to our brains? Soon, I’m going to take a complete break from it, though that will mean withdrawing from the world.

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    • I couldn’t believe that one, either! It would be reading and driving, but the article I read said something about it will only be across the bottom of the screen, and therefore “not intrusive.” I sure hope that never happens, because it reality it would be very intrusive.
      I know what you mean about a break form technology! (Because I do think it is “dumbing us down”) Sometimes I think I need a couple of weeks in a cabin in the woods, totally unconnected.

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