When Good Technology Goes Bad

I’m going to a conference in two months. After I registered for one session, the presenter requested that all attendees sign up for a twitter account.

I don’t have a smart phone. I pride myself in thinking that I’m somewhat smarter than my recently purchased, very snazzy, red, but still utilitarian, flip phone. No Twitter account there.

I decided that I would get a Twitter app for my computer, a compromise between buying a new, very expensive and unwanted smart phone and refusing to open a Twitter account just to fit in at the conference.

I discovered that my trusty 2009 Mac Mini is not capable of supporting the newest Twitter app. She is just too slow. At the same time, our WiFi system began to fail. We called our local tech support team and they came to the rescue. They fixed the WiFi router, a relatively minor problem and advised that if another problem occurred, we should replace the router. They also delivered the bad news that both of our computers were very slow, and this contributed to some of our problems. Neither computer would be worth repairing, but most likely they would last a few more months.

DSCF1890                                          Mac Mini in Action

We talked about replacements and I began to research the possibilities. Technology is both amazing and frustrating. In my search for a replacement, I found two viable alternatives. One is to buy the next generation of the Mac Mini. I could keep my monitor, speakers, router, printer and keyboard, and the price is reasonable. I would also be keeping the clutter of cables that has taken over my desktop and limited my workspace while providing hiding places for enormous dust bunnies. (See below).


The view from behind the Mac Mini

DSCF1885                                           Another view behind the computer

My second alternative is the IMac, an ultra modern, sleek design with a new monitor and a wireless keyboard. No  more mouse with the big red eye, and no need for the two external rectangular speakers that currently occupy space on my desktop. The system would be faster, and when the technicians come to my house to fix my latest problem, as inevitably they will, there would be no more polite, but none-the-less slightly snarky, comments about my “Museum Quality” technology. The price, while not requiring an arm and a leg, is still quite high. I would have to save my pennies for many months.

Having the newest and the shiniest can be very tempting, but more satisfying is having technology that serves your true needs, to the extent that is possible. I am still looking for television programming that has no commercials, does not require expensive and exotic equipment that must be replaced every two years, does not require a DSL speed not offered in my area, or relocation to a different city.

Because I am a relatively practical person, I will spend the next few months contemplating the fate of my aging computer before purchasing a replacement. My computer needs haven’t changed. The systems have.

I am also facing the not-yet-necessity of replacing my vintage car. This one is a bit tougher, and certainly a lot more expensive. There is sentiment involved as well as indecision on my part.

It is difficult to avoid anthropomorphisizing  -Yeah, I know, awkward -a machine you have lived with for several years. On some level it becomes part of the family. I have been known to name my cars. I feel sad when I sell them and I try to make sure they go to a good home.

I’ve also found myself thanking my washer and dryer for doing a good job and not leaking all over the floor or setting the clothes on fire.

For now, the computers and the car remain. We’ll have to see what the future brings.