Thursday, December 26, 2013

One Thing at a Time, Never Enough

I've been perennially late to the party when it comes to tech. Mostly out of financial woe, but sometimes because the newest, cleanest thing didn't serve my ragtag needs. I held cassettes dear way past their expiration date, but I'd be damned if I wasn't going to take my music with me and the walkman ruled the day (until the batteries started draining, but that's showbiz). Most important thing about cassettes: I could make my own. People soon will hardly remember cd's, or that computers even had cd burners. (I even had a disastrous playtime with mini disc that I can't talk about anymore). I suppose I could gift someone with a playlist on a usb drive, but, who even has a usb port anymore? My personalization angst has a body count.

I recently read through the results of a survey Google ran discussing folks' digital device habits. Apparently, the word of the day is: multitask. Our digital world: where only one thing is not enough. As someone who actually tries to concentrate on one thing at a time, I have difficulty  envisioning folks jumping from phone to tablet all while watching TV and possible driving or baking bread at the same time. 

There were many scenarios assumed by this survey, mostly grouped by: phone+TV, tablet+TV, PC+TV  which just shows how dull TV is that no one wants to pay attention to it anymore. Not as surprising, but more entertaining, was one respondent using the term "life time management" to express how he can be online while actually waiting in line. Sure, I suffered a long, slow line recently, but everyone was orderly, quiet and calm because they were all staring at their mobiles. You say "life time management", I say "crowd control". Are we all now happy to be waiting for our chai lattes, appointed court times and dentist visits as long as we can continuously suck at the 4G teat? 

Don't label me a luddite just because I am wielding tech from 2009. But if I won the lottery and could construct the ultimate tricked out digital den, would I have iPads built into the toilet paper holder and google glass in the defogged bathroom mirror? I enjoy getting answers to my questions anywhere wifi flies free, but I cant imagine needing to rearrange my Netflix queue while walking from my house to my car. (Not yet, you say, but just wait. People used to have to drop a bucket into a hole in the ground to get their water once upon a time.)

I've fetished old tech into art, just like everybody else: floppy discs, flash bulbs, 8mm film lacquered into sculpture, vinyl 45's melted into herb planters. And this year, apparently, I have fetished new tech into a blog of sorts. I started my online diatribes a year ago promising equal-opportunity derision, but the conversation somehow kept pointing to my skewed digital life (I maintain 3 iPods with different playlists, but won't join Facebook). I'm all for the organic and holistic in art and life: go where the vitriol takes you, keep an ear to the ground for the most enlightening discourse and try not to tell too many jokes that show your age (in my day, a selfie meant something else entirely…)

It's the end of 2013 and I still don't live in a minimalist white room with a single small device that holds all my music, books, movies, memories, hopes and dreams. Maybe next year it'll pop up on my amazon wishlist.