Who needs the Internet?

Fact: Everyone who is reading this is on or has been on the Internet. But those of us wearing reading glasses on to see this should remember a few decades ago, when it never existed. Those were the days of typewriters and carbon paper, cursive writing, and real signatures on things we called letters. For me, I can’t even recall the last time I wrote a letter by hand and mailed it to someone.

The Internet has made our world smaller by connecting people and countries near and far, allowing us to obtain just about anything we need with the simple click of a a mouse. I think it’s one of man’s greatest inventions, but like so many of the drugs we’ve marketed to the masses, have we become addicted to the technology?

Try imagining one day in your life without the Internet. I don’t have to, our router crashed last week while we were streaming a television show. You know, the thing we do now instead of watching programs that have been broadcast over airwaves and sent through cables connected to our homes. For the next couple days it was if someone had cut off my hands and I couldn’t accomplish anything.

The experience made me appreciate my mother-in-law’s predicament, she has no idea how to use a computer and has difficulty using her mobile phone. And because of that she is constantly challenged by our technologically advanced world. She has to physically attend her bank, stare hopelessly at the GPS on her car’s dashboard, and fight with people on the phone who want her to go online to speak with them.

In my case, I couldn’t research my router problem because I couldn’t get online. We had to use Cathryn’s phone data (Internet) to find the phone number for the electronics store because there are no more phone books. And because of our current pandemic, there is nobody available at the store to talk to you. So, after driving to Chatham to get a router that was available here in Windsor, the simple instructions that came with it required me to connect via the Internet.

That time off line made me feel like I was sitting in the dark after a power outage. I couldn’t watch TV, check my mail, social media sites, or do any research for my writing projects. We couldn’t even talk to Alexa. And if Cathryn needed a recipe she had to dig through old magazines and cook books that are buried in the basement. So, are we addicted to the internet or just dependent upon it?

I know the answer, but you won’t be able to respond to my question unless…

Ed’s Weekly Rant -Disposable Electronics

DocumentI’m not one to complain about the amazing advancements in technology that I’ve witnessed in my short lifetime, but at what monetary cost are these wondrous inventions delivered to us? I know I’m not the only baby boomer who’s noticed how disposable our electronic devices and gadgets have become.

Let me start with my personal computer. I’ve recently switched carriers, going for newer and more advanced fiber optic service that promises faster internet speeds than their old style cable competitors. My installation went smoothly but the service technician found my computer was running slow. A speed check on the new line confirmed it was my hardware.

My computer is about 5 or 6 years old (had to replace the previous one cause it was slow) and I added RAM about a year ago to speed things up. Slow response times on the internet was one of the reasons for switching companies. So why, I asked my friendly installer, is my computer continually getting slower. Updates, was his first response – think about your cell phone he said.

I’d already learned long ago not to add all the suggested updates to my phone because it becomes completely locked up and you have to get a new phone. If you think that big companies like Microsoft would never do something like that on purpose, you’d better think again. They need to sell new products to make money so it’s only good business sense to make your devices obsolete because they know you’ll buy new ones.

Just in the last couple years we’ve had to buy new computer components and  replace audio equipment because the old stuff wasn’t compatible to our new smart TV. If it’s so smart why couldn’t if communicate with our other electronics? We had to toss our Blackberry because they’d no longer service it and the Kobo because they don’t make parts for it – so much for buying Canadian.

We also have an old wifi router sitting in the basement, along with an old stereo and DVD player…who uses those anymore? We just stream everything now and ignore the hundreds of DVD’s that I wasted money on. The good news is that I made some good cash selling a bunch of movies to a pawn shop. The bad news is that now I have to buy a new computer so we can enjoy all of our other helpful gadgets that we’ve come to depend on.