Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cell Phones are for Sissies, Put That in your Hard Drive and Smoke It!

It's a conspiracy, I'm sure of it. Progress is a device created by a machine race, meant to sap any and all sentience from human beings so as to enslave them without a struggle. You're just handing over the planet guys! Swear off your addiction to time saviors or be conquered!

I'm sure I come new to this game, I don't pay much attention to progress. When calculators were first allowed in school, I shrugged and ignored it, comfortable with the idea that I'd never know the mechanics of anything if I didn't get my hands dirty. I used typwriters for years, my only contact with computers being a Commodore 64 and even that only for playing such gems as Mule and Zork. I probably bought the last bottle of whiteout ever sold.

I don't own a cell phone. I figure if I run out of gas on a dark road, the only way to get me to pay more attention to guages is to have me walk a mile or two, pay for a gas can and trudge or hitchhike back to my dead vehicle. It's hardly fair to make my wife leave "Toddlers and Tiaras", get dressed, plod to the garage and drive a few miles to pick me up because I was too stupid to take care of myself.

I don't do much IM. Most often it's obvious within a few paragraphs that my chat partner has better things to do but is unwilling to bow out, so for the next half hour until I finally succumb and say byebye, we suffer through uncomfortable silences with me staring at the monitor, and them off somewhere else doing something interesting. Besides, conversations are best had free of the need to type; in the best of times a ploddy and difficult manner of speech, unless used for fantasy sex, and then there's a reason for the spare time in between typing each thought.

It's become a world where one can live an entire lifetime without leaving home. Everything's available on line, knowledge has become googled, personal responsibility is too cumbersome so we've eliminated it.

Linda was typing a letter this morning to a certain "Fredrickson", and as she finished that word and moved into the next she noted the computer re-arranged, tidied up so to speak. Now in the recipient's name's place were two words "Fredrick son". She backspaced and retyped the name, then again moved ahead while the computer again pushed son from its parent, Fredrick. In frustration she did it again maybe 6 times before it became obvious that this was an advance, a "progression" offered by the software company meant to eliminate the possibility that someone misspell on the fly, notice their stupidity, fall into a manic depression and commit suicide by overdose, using dad's Viagra, swelling up like a balloon before finally turning into a pillar of granite. (I'd never have known Linda the real typist had a problem if it hadn't been for the yelling I heard from down the hall...poor cpu, I know the feeling)

Think about it, had computers been invented in the dark ages, we'd all be vegetables by now, all named Ole because we'd never had moved to Oleson and beyond! Think there's too many Olsons in the phone book? What if there were 270 million Ole's to wade through, looking for Uncle Ole or Cousin Ole or Pastor Ole...get the idea?
Hello operator? I need to speak to Ole! Connect me please and hurry; it's an emergency!"

Of course, even computers can only know so much; so it's inevitable that they and we might disagree on spelling and usage until one of us is branded as outdated and sent to the landfill. Now which of us would that be I wonder. It depends on whether I'm right. (and c'mon kids, we all know I'm right; getchur galoshes on cuz we're goin on a field trip to the dump)

I'd love to teach my cpu everything I know, that Fredrickson is okie dokie, and that "okie dokie" doesn't need to be underlined in red squigglies every time I open the file with the phrase in it. I could teach the computer about Okie Dokie, but wouldn't that make me a regressive and so a still more egregious enemy of the machines and the dupes that worship at their feet? And wouldn't that be like feeding those that would devour us the very information they need to take over the world?

The wunderkind addition of grammar policing isn't meant for we few who can actually spell most of our words, those that haven't let machines do for us our entire lives. It's meant for those that have shrugged off rudimentary knowledge as too pedestrian, too annoying, too much a burden on their teeny weeny brains; brains consumed by cell phone numbers and song titles and urls of websites that rip others intellectual property for instant and free personal gratification.

I have to wonder though if it's really an attempt to get the rest of us to dumb down, to make our goal the lowest common denominator that we not hurt the self esteem of those who are illiterate by choice. I'm sure I'm on a machine world blacklist somewhere, being far too self sufficient and willing to suffer the consequences of my imperfection rather than "let go and let artificial intelligence". It's bad enough when someone says "I'll call ya" and I respond "gimme a half hour 'till I get home". If looks could kill.

Why, I don't even use a spell checker unless what I've written is six pages or more and it's so late that I can't possibly proof before bed. And even then I teach it my misspelling and then correct what it pointed out by hand, so the machine is never aware that I took its advice. (Yea I know, pretty damn clever, it's true.)

I'm not giving in people. Keep your damn progress and your grammarrepairspellcheckdigitaldumpp2pdig
I'll just do it myself thanks. No freakin machine's gonna own me!

(sec....gotta microwave some popcorn...brb)

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