Saturday, August 03, 2013

Life In the Fast Lane

By Keith N Fisher

Are you old enough to remember life before the microcomputer? I remember a time when a computer filled whole rooms. (Many rooms.) In those days, socializing was done in person. Facebook hadn’t been invented. The guy who started Facebook hadn’t been invented either.

Writing in those days was done on a ribbon typewriter. I had access to an electric one, then I got a manual. Pushing the keys down gave me strong fingers, but mistakes usually meant starting over.

My typewriter sat on my desk. It was too cumbersome to lug around. Now I can write anywhere. I take my computer with me. I’m writing this post from my front porch on an 11 X 9 netbook. I just finished my Dutch oven blog and tried to log onto the Internet, but there was a problem.

Something is wrong with my router, it keeps flaking out. My computer can’t find it, until I shut it off and turn it back on. It could be some kind of conflict. Perhaps somebody is stealing my bandwidth. I’m not sure, but it’s such a simple temporary fix. All I need to do is go back in the house and reset the router.

How many of you remember when watching television meant getting up to change the channels? Lately, I’ve been known to sit quietly in front of a blank screen, because I can’t bring myself to get the remote from the kitchen.

Still, a writer can use those moments to plot his story. Writers can write anything, anywhere, but how did I become so dependent on technology? I don’t answer the house phone anymore. There’s a phone is in my pocket if I need to make a call. I can go for a ride on a hot day and crank up the air conditioning. What did we do when I was a kid?

Writers have it easier these days. I know, they didn’t have to market back then, but I can submit a book in seconds and never see my words on paper. Then I can build a following by posting something witty on Facebook. I can correspond with my writing peers and make appointments for book signings. I can do all these things in the bathroom, before I take my morning shower.

When I think of how we got from then to now, I’m reminded of my pile of computer parts. Most of that stuff was cutting edge back in the day. Now it gathers dust, because I can’t seem to throw it away. I think about the old Commodore 64, the XT and the AT I had. I remember needing a math co-processor to do graphics. At one point, I went from and two-foot tower to one half the size, then my first laptop. Oh, baby we were stylin.

Occasionally, I fire up my old 486 with the co-processor, and play with Windows 3.1. It was leaps and bounds ahead of what came before. Typing on a manual typewriter, pushing lead around a sheet of paper to make a blueprint, and playing solitaire with a real deck of cards.

Well, enough of my blabbering. It’s time to bite the bullet and go reset the router.

Good Luck with your writing—see you next week.


jaclyn weist said...

It wasn't all that long when we had green cursors on computers and I remember my first email address!! I was so excited. Now I have four and use two of them regularly. Crazy times!! Now where's the remote??

Nicole M. White said...

When I was in middle school in 1979 my father was going to Stanford. At home we had a glorified electric typewriter. On the side of this "typewriter" were two slots to put the plug the phone hand set into (remember the big round ends on phones back then). Through this device we could log into the computer at Stanford (which took up a huge three story room) and play a game. Sometimes I'd even "chat" with student at the other end. There was no monitor, everything typed out on paper with perforated edges. So, it's no wonder that decades later I had no problem texting, facebooking, twittering, etc...

Weston Elliott said...

Yes i remember having to walk to the tv to turn the channels. Now we have a box that makes it impossible to turn channels without a remote. Technology is great, but it sure us bossy