Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Technology - Friend or Foe?

Here we are in the year 2014 - hard to believe. We're surrounded by so many conveniences our ancestors would never have imagined. At least we consider them conveniences. Some of us. Some of the time. I have to question whether all this technology is our friend or foe.

There's a lot to be said for the "good old days." Back in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where I grew up, we had very few things with a cord and a plug – the large appliances, a toaster, a blender, an electric skillet, one TV, and a radio. We rarely needed batteries, and we sure didn't have the mess of mangled power cords and charging devices that we deal with today. If we wanted to "connect" with someone we wrote them a letter using paper and pen – what a concept!

Growing up, I spent some time watching TV and listening to the radio. I had plenty of time left over to discover a love for books. Today I'm working full-time and writing a book, plus I'm weighted down by dealing with all of these "great" and "cool" technological devices that use up more and more of my time. There aren't enough outlets in our house to plug in and charge up everything between the desktops and laptops, iPads and iPods, phones, cameras, phones with cameras, Kindle, TVs, DVD and Blu-Ray players, cable TV boxes, GPS devices...I could go on.

Each of these gizmos comes with its own instructions, and heaven help the person who doesn't easily understand how to make them work. It's hard to keep track of what plugs in where, how to connect this to that, how to log on, download and upload. How did we exist before e-mail, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. We were content, weren't we?

Here's another stress that didn't exist in the "good old days." Passwords. Choosing a password isn't difficult. Maybe not one password, but I now have an unmanageable number of them. Why did I not see this password hell coming and plan for it accordingly? Choose a password that isn't easy to guess, they say. Use lower case. No, at least one upper case. Oops, use at least one upper, one lower, and one odd character. Make it something you'll remember. Right. And, oh, answer the security questions so you'll be sure to remember the correct answers when you're asked for them three years from now. No problem. Forgot your password? Okay, choose another. Ack!

My conclusion? Technology is foe. But wait. Would I have ever written a novel if not for technological advances? Maybe. I remember hand writing short mystery stories as a girl. Would I have stuck with it long enough to produce a saleable novel-length manuscript? Hmm. Maybe not.

So, never mind. Technology is my friend. I will shut up now and go back to work on my Bad Luck Cat Mystery – my deadline is fast approaching.

Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck Cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.

5 comments:

  1. I guess it depends on whether or not it was my choice to give up my gadgets. When the power goes out, I sure do miss it and my hot water, and being able to plug into Netflix occassionally. But when the power is on, there sure are a lot of distractions. I guess I'll have to say "friend"... for now. :o)

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  2. Hi Kay - I don't know how I'd write a book without technology. I am the typos queen of the universe and constantly change things and I'd never get any where without my GPS, BUT I cannot progran ny DVR, cannot even attach a Blu-Ray if I want it in another room and Lord Love a Duck if I have to change something. NetFlix on my Smart TV? forgetaboutit. Like the song says - Guess he's an Xbox and I'm Atari.

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    1. My husband buys things that we never figure out how to make work, like the Blu-Ray player he thought we needed six months ago that we haven't even tried to turn on yet.

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  3. Friend or for? Doesn't matter. Technology's here to stay. You can't make a river run upstream. Besides, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the patience to write a book with a quill pen.

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    1. Good point, Sandy. Does not matter.

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