The Anti-E Campaign

That most insightful of bloggers, Gerard Oosterman, has penned a compelling piece. You get insight yes, but incite too. He wants a revolution. Turn the clock back to the days when people communicated directly with one another. Do away with phones that have no copper wire attached. Reject the new E-goggles. Or should that be E-Googles. I confess I am not entirely sure what the spectacle is all about. It must have passed me by. My vario-focals are challenging enough without being wifi’d.

I have a degree of sympathy with Gerard. The modern world is definitely not for the faint-hearted and technophobic. I have recently bemoaned the car I bought last year. Everything is electronic. Whatever happened to tappets and feeler gauges? Bring bank the crank handle for this old crank.

Am I the only person who never, ever backs up their phone? I only ever did so once – for Mrs. Ha. She lost everything. I have never heard the last of it and I have never been near a back-up button again.

Why is it that one of my laptops allows me to print PDFs quite happily and the other does not? Why is it so damned difficult to update the firmware on my camera? On my new one I have not even managed to discover what version I have installed.

But pause a moment. Would you, as Arty Old Bird Val might ask, wish to return the days of the variety show on the television? Would you prefer a Cathode Ray Tube to a flat screen? Supposing Slade made a come back? Or The Bay City Rollers? Do you really want carbon paper back in your typewriter? Copper wire was always good for one thing. Being nicked. Same as the lead on the church roof. Perhaps we can turn the dial back just a little bit or, to mix horribly my metaphors, stop the pendulum swinging the wrong way too far too fast.

Could we eliminate just the iPad? Let me keep my Kindle at least. Maybe Facebook could be disposed of quietly. But then where is my daily dose of Painted Trillium? Could we revert to the Walkman rather than the iPod. The shortcut might be to send Apple to join its maker, Saint Steve. But what of Google? As a kid we had googlies. If you are not up on your googlies, shame on you. Here, lifted from Wikipedia, is the essence:

While a normal leg break spins from the leg to the off side, away from a right-handed batsman, a googly spins the other way, from off to leg, into a right-handed batsman (and is distinct from anoff break delivery). The bowler achieves this change of spin by bending the wrist sharply from the normal leg break delivery position. When the ball rolls out of the hand (from the side near thelittle finger, as in a normal leg break), it emerges with clockwise spin (from the bowler’s point of view). A googly may also be achieved by bowling the ball as a conventional leg break, but spinning the ball further with the fingers just before it is released.

Do you want to go back to the age when a search engine was the train into town to check if the local library had a reference book on the topic puzzling you? (The answer was always either a) no or b) The book is out. Come back in 4 weeks.) Finishing The Times crossword could take months!! We might be back with Subbuteo instead of Sudoku.

I think the compromise may be that we simply do away with the mobile phone. I vividly recall the first mobile phone in our office. Mobile was something of a misnomer. It was the size and weight of a brick. It came in a leather case. It was then that the infamous phrase was invented “I’m on the train”. Well skewer me sideways, what a useful piece of kit. Now Mrs. Randall could collect Mr. Randall from Platform 4 bang on time even if there were a delay at Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh for points failure. Once the thing shrank to the size of a fag packet and let us all play Tetris during conference calls the world was doomed. Now I can even ask my phone to direct me to the nearest Big Mac. It will speak to me and occasionally it may even get the answer right. Now I have never asked Siri how to get to the Golden Arches because if I want to eat cardboard I’ll chew a chunk off my IKEA study table. But I did ask once whether there was a YSL locally for Mrs. Ha. Fortunately Siri hadn’t a clue.

The only downside would be that I couldn’t see how much my pension fund had lost on a daily basis. Perhaps however that might cheer me up. I am, by the way, the ultimate contrarian indicator. If I buy, SELL!!! If I sell, BUY. I am invariably right but 3 weeks too early. Or late.

Gerard is, as I write, fomenting revolution down under. Of course it may take some time. He has despatched a pigeon to me with the details of where to meet so as not to be late for the start. I am getting rid of my culottes now. If the pigeon survives H5N1 bird flu and does not choke to death as it enters Hong Kong’s air space then I shall be ready. Failing which, I shall wait for the text message. Let’s hope it doesn’t say, “I’m on the train”.


13 thoughts on “The Anti-E Campaign

  1. I’ve been a huge fan of Gerard Oostermann for ages. Well, however long it was since he and I stumbled across each other on the ether, intraweb call it what you wish for lord knows…maybe a year or a bit more? Does it matter? No of course not. The fact is that he always has something either really funny, or, something really thought- provoking to say. As it happens, mostly it’s something of both which is why his posts are so brilliant- they not only leave you laughing BUT thinking about them long afterwards.

    I’ve just spent the day in a jungle. As the sweat poured off me, as my knees, back and everything else ached, as the mosquitos bit into my wobbly thighs (TMI) did I once give a damn about my sodding phone? NO of course I didnt’ and this is the thing…if you are spending a full life, if you are doing something that you really enjoy, if you are physically busy (dying) a mobile phone is the last bleedin’ thing you want/need/want.

    As long as I have a camera and some sort of wonky internet connection to the outside world I’m happy 😀

    • I am waiting and beyond excitement to view your next lot of photos from the jungle and some more about the days of the Yorshire farm. By the way Lottie, what is TMI?

      • Too Much Information but of course that all depends on ones perspective. TMI is never enough for me, the more info the better as far as I’m concerned. I can’t produce any more photos of the farm so I’ll to make some pictures instead! The jungle was jungely, this huge, massive green space that demanded every ounce of energy that I had and more. Can hardly walk tonight, can hardly breathe even but I’m back for more in a couple of days. Serena (my third) said today ‘Mum, at last I’m seeing the real Bali, or at least the Bali that I thought it would be. It’s the best day of my holiday so far!’ That’s what you get for bringing your children up in the middle of nowhere! Forget the sunshiney beaches, the tourist spots and all the rest! I feel very happy to hear her say that after all these years. Thank goodness I got something right!

  2. I shall be happy to offer a lengthy reply which you will be able to read no later than June 15th, failing the post losing it along the way. 🙂
    The e-life is so non-contact. I hesitate to even consider what will outmode our zero and one existence.

  3. Ha, ha. (:
    The old crankshaft and tappets. My first car was a Ford V8, single spinner 1949.
    It came to grief when in order to brake I had to pump the brake pedal. The car’s braking system needed bleeding and the master cylinder was as crook as Rookwood. I had made the last payment when I came to an intersection and my pumping the brake pedal was not fast enough to get traction with the brakes on the wheels.
    It was a write off. I was 17 or so and saddened beyond consolation.
    Ps; Rookwood is Australia’s largest cemetery.

  4. Should I feel guilty? I am reading and commenting on your post on my IPhone. I wish I knew how to write IPhone in very small type.
    Every innovation can be abused or misused. I suspect that every invention, designed for good progress has had a downside too. So how far back do we wish to go. The internal
    Combustion engine has been one of the main causes of pollution leading to global warming. Do we go back to before that?
    The problem is our arrogance in thinking that we can control everything and the next invention or innovation will solve the problems caused by the previous ones.
    While e- technology can certainly lead to isolation it can also open up our ability to connect.
    I use Skype to speak to my relatives in the UK. Yes I could send a letter and that would be very good. But actually seeing my brother in real- time in the virtual world is really quite remarkable.
    The question for me is how do we learn what is helpful and positive. How do we protect ourselves from what degrades our humanity and is destructive of community and the common good.
    Now I feel more guilt( thanks s lot) because I have made all these comments without reading the article that was the subject of your post.
    Isn’t it great that I have my iPhone here so I can now go and read the article.

    Can you back up your cell phone? I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe it happens automatically when i synch it to my Mac.

    • Rod, you are of course right. I suspect Gerard was being gently provocative (but maybe not!) and I was teasing him a little with my response. I don’t doubt that innovation and creativity are good if properly adopted and applied. The challenge is to get the balance right. You can not put the genie back in the bottle. I use Skype too. Sparingly but with a great deal of satisfaction. I can’t use it to speak to my brother as I believe ‘the other side’ lags in technology but makes up for it in spirituality. I suspect he is happier there. He resolutely refused to use ATMs and would rather queue in a bank to deal with a real person / cashier. Technology was not his forte. I hope you enjoy Gerard’s article. He writes very well.

  5. an’ here I thought a googly,… was me using the search engine 😉 .. Andrew, . and I use technology when I need it, (please let Facebook disappear without a sound .) .and How Darest Thou have a Kindle… I’m a bookophile ,,.. (sounds a bit disgusting but it only means I love the feel, taste (?) and look of a book.. not a plastic thingy) … anywho… great read… had me laughing my head off.. (not seen it have you?) xPenx

  6. As frustrated as I get with technology, I would hate to go back to non-e days. I love my Kindle, iPad, computer, cell phone. My husband is considering a vacation without a computer. I am thinking withdrawal. I don’t know if I can do it. This was a funny post. It makes me think! 🙂 AH yes, no spell check! Yikes! 🙂

  7. Interesting. Sadly I can’t reply in the same witty vein, as I am hugely ambivalent about so-called progress. I could live merrily without the internet and indeed after leaving the UK did so for a number of years as a personal rebellion (nor did I want to pay a fortune for expensive dial-up). But here I am. Sadly embracing what little it has to offer. Has it added value to my life? No. I can do nothing now that I couldn’t do before with fax, letters, landlines, well-equipped libraries – mmm thomas cook railway timetables drooool – and mail order catalogues. I am none the wiser and none the richer.

    I have no iPad or Pod. Just a Hal desktop, a Hal laptop pro, and a Hal phone. And two printers. One of which will not scan photos to Hal. Why does Canon not add drivers for Apple to the wretched printer? Also, it does a hissy fit whenever I print from Pages rather than TextEdit, so I have to pull the plug every time (or Marconi reset if you prefer the jargon).

    New cars and computers? Pffff. Why do you think I have insisted on keeping our 1974 Series III LWB for the last twenty however many years.

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