Today I bought a new printer. Actually, a printer/scanner/photocopier in one - a Canon Pixma MP500. I'd been printerless for almost two years - well, I'd had the printer sitting on my desk, with no ink in it. I finally came to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to be able to get a new ink cartridge and literally threw the old printer out a few months ago. (I've been getting by, in case you were wondering, by printing things out at work (not that I needed to print very often). But the time had come to have a working printer at home and to replace my scanner, which, being about five years old, was almost obsolete (I had to use it with the old operating system Classic 9, and couldn't use that on my very new Apple laptop.)
When I was in the Apple shop buying the printer (etc), I saw a tv-computer for the first time - that is, EyeTV on a very widescreen computer. The salesboy showed me how I could potentially use my new laptop as a digital TV by buying a small aerial/antenna and a modem-looking device for about $250. Then tv programs could be saved to the hard drive, burnt onto DVDs and later replayed on an iPod while travelling to work (for example).
I won't be doing that for the forseeable future although I can see that it's a very ergonomic and efficient and attractive way to go.
If I were 20 or even only 30, perhaps I'd jump at these new technologies. But having now lived through a hectic pace of changing technology for the past 45 years (since I first put on a record by myself), I can't cope with the idea of yet another total revision of the way things operate. Which sounds conservative and middle aged of me, I realise. In the shop, I was thinking about that. Thinking that I never feel that I get any one hardware or software completely under my belt before it becomes obsolete. I just skim the surface, in the limited time available to me. I have countless warranty agreements and installation CDs floating around my office, half of them redundant. I have leads and wires and connectors and haven't a clue which machine they belong to. I was talked into buying a ZIP drive about nine years ago which I used once. I still have it but I believe I no longer need it, not with the ability to burn DVDs on my computer. I have two old computers in the attic (actually three -a friend just gave an old iMac to Olle, who keeps asking when we can set it up. The mere idea of having to set up his computer exhausts me, when I don't know how to do 25% of what my G5 or new Apple laptop are capable of.) I spent this evening setting up the new Canon. Over the next few weeks I'll stumble my way into learning how to use it, only learning exactly what I need at any given moment.
Before I went away I set up an Airport network at home and out of the corner of my eye read that I can use it to relay music through the house somehow. I can't see myself putting that into action - I don't have the time or the driving need to figure it out. I'm happy playing CDs on the CD player. And tapes in the tape machine.
I've never read Future Shock, despite which I feel as if that term resonates perfectly for me. As does 'information overload'. Although I love my new laptop and my new Olympus digital camera, I feel a certain cynicism about any new technology. I've seen too much of it come and go. I'm almost braced to discover that my camera won't work with the new printer or some other spanner in the works. After all, I bought a digital video camera just four years ago which doesn't appear to work with the new G5 I bought only three and a half years later. So I now have all these recorded digital tapes sitting around in drawers which I'm unable to transfer to a computer in order to edit them and put them on DVD. Just thinking about it makes me depressed - I feel out of control, always out of step, out of time, always running behind, never quite with it. Overloaded and future shocked.