30 November 2007

My name is Jane Doe and I'm a recovering Luddite

You first have to recognize you have a problem.

It took a long time to get there, but I think I finally hit bottom. I have been out of the tech field for several years and the distance has affected my personal life. Looking back, I can see how I got to this point, but am not so sure I want to reform.

I'm a Luddite of sorts. My husband is well into denial that he is a full-blown Luddite. I'm not totally against technology, but I don't want it to run my life. I don't want to be a slave to it and have it infiltrate every moment of my life.

No cell phones
No iPODs
No Blackberry
No laptop
No cable

Pretty much just an old PC with a slow dial-up modem and a cordless phone.

Then my tech-enabled brother showed up and started the 12-step program. See, he's totally tech savvy and is embarrassed that his sister is so Cro-Magnon. Especially since I used to work at Intel at one time. They've probably erased all evidence that I ever was employed there.

My brother has every gadget. Fast computer, cell phone, Ninetendo gamey things, Wii, etc. I'm not saying these are good, mind you, just that he's on one end of the tech spectrum and I'm on the other.

I'm not sad about it and don't really think I have a problem. A three year-old with an iPOD, now there's a problem.

So, what's a little brother to do when Big Sis is in the dark ages?

Buy her a cell phone.

Now I'm totally connected...or so the salesman said. I have a pre-paid cell phone that won't even work at my cabin, which is one place I might actually use it in case of emergency. The salesman was so confident and cocky that the area at my cabin was covered, and even my brother didn't believe me when I told him that there is dead air at our cabin. "Oh, no m'am, your area is in our coverage." I'm sorry, I wasn't going to let these two make me feel totally in the dark ages and ignorant, so I had him check the coverage area...since he offered to show me on their computer that can check any address GPS-like and just PROVE it's "covered."

Low and behold, upon closer scrutiny (zooming into the area where my cabin is) it shows a dead spot. In fact, the entire lake (which is nine miles long) isn't even on the map since it's all grey in the "not covered area" where my cabin is supposed to be. Not so smug now are ya boys! My brother merely responded that he couldn't believe that we are so completely backwards that we can't even get cell phone coverage at the cabin. It wasn't that the cell phone company was lacking, it was us.

That's the point. Greta Garbo had it right. When I'm at my cabin, I want to be alone. If I want to use the phone, I can always drive down to the end of the road and use the phone...that area is covered.

See, it's not so much that I'm a Luddite as it is I value my peace and quiet...quiet time with my family, not a gizmo.


Ray from MN said...


I'm kind of a Luddite, too. But I have an excuse. I'm a geezer.

I finally did get a DSL connection, largely because I can talk on the phone and use the computer at the same time. And because the fee to my provider went down, I pay about the same as before with much better service.

The best kind of technology. Cheap.

Anonymous said...

My husband is in the tech business so we have it all- cells, bluetooth capability in his car, DSL, 3 computers, 2 gaming systems...of course, we have 3 older kids who need to do research, papers and homework on the PCs.
All that said, we aren't slaves to the latest technology and we impose limits on the kid's use. It makes things easier, but you can bet if we get a cabin, it'll be a much "lower tech" outfit!! We have been looking for a cabin for a year, and almost all of them don't have cable- heaven! You're very lucky to have a place to go away to and spend quality family time.
I say, for now, be proud of being a Luddite.:)

Adrienne said...

Ray - I'm more of a geezer than you are and I'd like to graft a laptop to my thigh. Instant access - don't ya know!

However, children should be kept away from such nonsense so their little pea brains have a chance to develop correctly.

I don't need blue tooth or a super fancy cell phone but I would love to have a GPS system for my car.

swissmiss said...

You're pretty tech savvy for a geezer. Did you get Guitar Hero III for Christmas?

Lisa and Adrienne:
Ah, truth be told I kind of wish my kids were old enough to hand them a game, close the door and just sit peacefully by myself for a few minutes ;}

And, why hubby's work doesn't give him a laptop AND cell phone is just beyond my understanding.

My aunt has two close friends who don't even own microwaves or dishwashers. Those are dyed-in-the-wool Luddites! I just don't want to be sitting in a restaurant with one kid on the cell phone and one listening to an iPOD. There is a place for everything. Moderation!

I just wonder how I'm going to handle all of this once my kids get old enough to know all these things exist. Kind of makes me wish the end of the world was near ;}

Ma Beck said...

Me too!
I live in Chicago, where it's almost impossible to get lost (streets are on a grid, logically numbered, streets run the entire length and width of the city without changing names, etc. and Lord knows I hardly ever leave the city for anything) but MAN do I want a new GPS for the "toy" factor.
They just look so COOL!
(I have an old one but I want a cool touch screen car gizmo...)

gemoftheocean said...

I don't own a microwave. OR bother with dishwasher. I'm one person. I use a plate, I wash it. simple.

I do have a fairly new laptop. I only got a cell last year when someone gave me one. comes in handy when I remember to plug it in and I need to make a call while I'm on line. Don't use it a lot, but I must say it has come in rather handy. Mostly when I'm driving somewhere and don't feel like cooking dinner - then I can dial in take out Chinese or whatever and have it ready by the time I get there. Don't need a blackberry. Too expensive for what it does. GPS? I don't get that lost or have need to go out in the depths of the boonies. I do love my digital camera and my olympus recorder. The last computer before this one I got in 97. But I love this new HP laptop. And I'm glad I have it rather than a desktop. It does a lot of things for me. I also like my scanner. I think to be a Luddite as we are it helps TO have worked in a high tech industry. You know the "must haves" from the have-to-haves. I learned to program back in 1980. On a mainframe. I missed the punch card era by about a year. Ronald Reagan said "no, my generation didn't grow up with these things. We invented them!" My first computer was a Kaypro II CP/M - it had a whopping 4k memory and had two double sided DOUBLE density (yet!) disk drives. I laugh when the simpletons in Bill Gates land need a megabyte for startup file.

swissmiss said...

I grew up near St. Paul with it's goofy streets (at least according to Jesse Ventura who said they were made by drunken Irishmen) and never get lost. You can drop me in the middle of the woods and I can find my way out. GPS are neat, but are a "toy" like you mentioned. We had friends visit us from Seattle and they used a GPS to get here. All they had to do was get on I-90 and head east and they were pretty close to being here, no GPS required!

You are way more Luddited than I am. Although, I don't use my microwave nearly as much as I would imagine. Most cooking is on the stove or in the oven. The micro gets used to warm things or melt cold butter. I use the dishwasher now that there are four of us, but still hand wash a lot since my pots/pans are stainless steel All Clad and I don't like to run them through the dishwasher.

My first computer was a Mac SE. This was in the early 90s. Hubby had an old Commodore that he used when he was an engineering undergrad.

Hubby has been wanting a laptap lately, mostly to bring home work. It would need a large hard drive and fast processor to run the Solidworks stuff, so the cheapy ones they have now are not really an option. Why his work doesn't give him one is just idiotic!

gemoftheocean said...

LOL! Those commodore were a great starter computer. Operating system was nuts, but it was a great little machine for kids to learn to program animated graphics on. You know they never built any of those two suckers the same? They had a problem with the eproms getting too hot. A job I had before I went to work for Kaypro (for just the right year) was working with one of the first retailers of PCs in their early days. We carried Kaypro, Commordore and the early IBM PCs and a few others. The Commodores were popular with the schools for a bit. There was some sort of compound we'd apply to the eprom so it would stay cooler. The guy who ran the place was an ex General Dynamics engineer. Another woman who worked with me, got into GD on his recommendation, then eventually I got in on her recommendation. Jeez, those were the days.

And your husband's company are morons. Although, I expect in some ways that might work to your advantage. Unless there's a real crisis of something absolutely positively needed OT - then home time should be for home! Give those ba$tard$ and inch of "free time" and they'll expect it all the time. I've already "had it" with them flooding us with ****** h1-B workers that we allegedly "need" [yeah, to price Americans out of the market.]

swissmiss said...

Hubby wouldn't use a laptop to bring home work to work OT, but to be able to call in some days and just say that he'll be working from home that day. Problem is he works for a sort of small robotics company and each Solidworks "user" is another couple grand. Considering he's called a "super user" they should supersize him into a laptop!

I don't do OT. Resisted it all the time. Huge reason Intel and I were not sympatico. I refused a pager, cell phone, etc., which gave them every opportunity to get a hold of me 24/7. Not me. Work was not my life. Career was not my goal. I'm a loyal employee, but never was married to the company!

gemoftheocean said...

Ah, the pager. :-D Of late and happy memory. [Is there anyone that still has one?] in the 80s they were the thing. This presented lovely opportunities to mess over people who tried to back stab you.

Let's call John my idiot boss. Let's call Diane my backstabbing co-worker. John and Diane also don't especially get on well - and let us say that an employee, I'll call her "Karen" is less than impressed by John brown nosing his bosses and not standing up for his employees, and let us also say that "Karen" is less than impressed by Diane, for similar reasons.

"Karen" uses one of the loaded up Macs near John's cubicle to do some work. Takes out pager. Calls John's pager number. Punches in Diana's number. [She's working in a different building] :-D

John: Did you just call me?
Diana: [would have had to say "no"]

But this isn't the good part.

Later in the week....sit near Diana. Call her pager. Punch in John's number.

Repeat, periodically as needed for a mental lift in "Karen's" day. Just often enough so that John or Diana will get anxiety when they see each other's number come up. See John and Diane from going to mild dislike of each other to despising each other. Because each is now convinced the other is playing with his/her mind. Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain.

Don't mess with "Karen."

Adrienne said...

Gem -- LMAO!!! You are such a “pot-stirrer”. Father Bill accuses me of being one (I am) but I’m Italian so that is to be expected. You sure you're not Italian??

gemoftheocean said...

Nah. But I loved the Italians, as a general rule of thumb.

What I did was something Clemenza would have done to Tessio and Don Correleone had there been pagers back then. Just for "fun."

"Take the Canoli, Leave the Gun."

Adoro te Devote said...

I used to have a laptop. It was a gift, was refurbished, and eventually fried. My geek-squad brother (seriously, he's corporate geek squad, but not by that trade name) saved my important stuff. God bless him.

Now, I still have dialup because it's only $14.00 per month and I cant' afford more...and it works with my new PC.

I have no cell phone, but for winter might get a pre-pay one just for safety purposes. I hate being too "available", but as I have only a cordless phone at home and if the power goes out...so does it, well, I need another method of communication in case of emergencies.

As far as your cabin goes, well, while you need solitude, that's all well and good but if you ever need to call 911 you're in trouble. You may not be able to go miles to the nearest decent coverage. (Do you have a landline out there?)

Personally, for now I'm happy with what I have, but one day I'd like high speed internet, and cable I can afford. Or better, satellite.

Such is life.

swissmiss said...

Oh, together we would really be trouble. I used to do similar things...not with such psychological intrigue, but I am a practical joker and had done similar things with the pager. I'll have to find some time to tell you about when I had my lead at Boeing call the Humane Society :)

Oh, (Karen and Adrienne) and I thought I would marry an Italian. We used to attend a predominately Italian parish when I was younger. Have always liked tall, dark and handsome men (Italians aren't necessarily tall). Instead I married a German (Polish) tall, dark and handsome :)

I'm not nearly as much a Luddite as it seems to the real techy folks. I would LOVE DSL and a new computer. A killer laptop would also be great.

The folks we bought the cabin from used to live there...it was their home, so it has all the comforts of home...furnace, A/C, phone jack that we don't have hooked up, two car garage, etc. It also has really neat 1970s decor that I should take a picture of and post on my blog. Orange and brown flooring in the kitchen, etc. Way cool, dude!

How's school going? I've been limited on my time on the computer because hubby is busy writing two papers for his engineering grad classes. I guess it takes priority over blogging :)

gemoftheocean said...

Would love to see piccies of the cabin. I'm not much of a practical joker, but when I am I'm usually pretty stealthy and tend not to get caught. "Misdirection" should be one of my middle names. I didn't even have to sit up nights thinking up that one. It came to me in a flash as I was on the other side of the cubicle next to John's cubicle. All I had to do was not keep from laughing. Having attended Catholic schools I developed the knack of being able to stand behind sister and "whip a face at Roger" a la George Carlin, and get him into trouble. Well, not precisely but enough to keep me out of trouble!

Adoro te Devote said...

Oh my gosh, show us cabin pics!

A few years ago when I was looking for a house, I saw a LOT of townhomes with 70's decor. One place had...get this...70's brown shag carpeting. Seriously you would have lost an Angoran cat in that mess! (And I suspect that had happened...). It was a split-level entry so we walked up the shag steps to the mirrored wall with gold painted designs, which hid a door to a closet-turned half-bath. That was actually cool, albeit very 70's influence. The kitchen was a combination of 70's and art deco; it had the original putrid green stove/ove and fridge, copper tile to the wall behind the stove (I'd be saving that, actually!), had new tile, and really dark woodwork.

I remarked to my realtor that if I were to buy the place I'd have a retro party and have everyone take a square of fresh-cut shag carpeting as a souvenir! (Easy way to get rid of it! LOL!)

Anyway...DO show us photos!

School...a nightmare, I cna't get my final papers done, I'm fried and in a complete panic. Help!