Technology has changed the way we live day to day, but is it for the better? Columnist Glenn Mitchell takes a closer look. (File)

Mitchell’s Musings: On the slow boat to a faster way of doing things

Columnist Glenn Mitchell examines the ‘improvements’ tech has made in our everyday lives

I’m not a total technophobe —well, some might say otherwise—but I’ll admit I’m slow to adapt to new modes of communication.

I was certainly late to the cellphone phenomenon (I guess it’s here to stay after all), and when the company finally supplied me with one it was a flip phone, which I utilized, again, for way too long. You can only whip it out and proclaim “Beam me up Scotty” so many times and get a laugh.

Have you ever tried to text with a flip phone? Even on an iPhone, which I now have by the way, I text so slow it’s like I’ve never seen a keyboard before even though I passed Typing 9 at Fulton Junior Secondary in Polson Park, which I later parlayed into a journalism career (unlike the Foods and Nutrition 10 course which I also passed but, sadly, my cooking skills never earned me a dime, let alone any respect).

I figure they must have Texting 9 instead of Typing 9 these days but then again I think that skill set comes much earlier so maybe it’s Texting 3 or even Texting Pre-School.

Again, in the you-can’t-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks department, I think Canada went metric in the ’70s when I was a teenager. Ask me how much I weigh (actually don’t, this coronavirus is tough on the waistline)? Or my height? Or even my kids’ weight and height? All answers would be in good old imperial measures—pounds, feet, inches etc. Just like you’d see in golf, CFL football, lumber or flyers for ground beef.

They now measure forest fires in hectares so I haven’t known how big one is since the ’70s.

Apparently there are 2.4710538147 acres in a hectare so I could just do the math. But I don’t.

Even in 2020, they tell us to social distance two metres or six feet. When I checked with Siri, she told me the metric suggestion is actually 6.56 feet so us old-dog imperial types can get closer than the whippersnapper metric types? Maybe that’s why the younger set isn’t getting as sick as us older folks?

Hey, just another conspiracy theory to add to the growing list, but it fits into the theory that the metric system was out to get us old farts from the beginning.

Thanks Pierre.

I still say we’re the only country in the world that bakes in the sun outside in Celsius but cooks in the kitchen with our ovens in Fahrenheit. But I digress.

I’ve eventually gotten used to computers, digital cameras (although there is an Underwood typewriter and a Nikon FM2 camera somewhere in my house) and even joined Facebook reluctantly several years ago (although mostly just to monitor not post), but not Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok or ACompleteWasteOfTime (I might have made up the last one).

I prefer a newspaper and book in the printed form but do monitor CNN, Fox, MSBNC, CBC, New York Times and Vernon Morning Star (check out the opinion section when you can) websites on a regular basis to stay informed and appear presidential (actually Trump is more into Twitter I believe). I usually like to read the news stories online but I catch myself checking out the videos more and more. One media insider told me it will be all videos on the internet within a few years. Yikes.

He’s probably right as we humans will always take the easier, lazier route if we can, so now not only will the internet, with the help of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple etc., destroy democracy, local economies, local media, eventually our communities and now literacy itself are at stake.

Talk about the circle of life.

We’ll soon be illiterate cavemen marvelling at how technology has improved the way we draw on the walls of our respective caves, wondering what it all means for our future lives.

Where do we go from here?

No wonder I’ve been so slow to adapt to technology all these years. It’s not good for us gol’ darn it. Why do they have to go changing everything?

Gee, maybe I should write a letter to my MP about this.

Now where’s my pen?

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.

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