Saturday, 15 October 2011

Becoming a technosaur

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Years ago I remember trying to explain to my dear old Nan how a fax machine worked. She found it really hard to understand how a machine could transfer a copy of a document via the telephone line, and I struggled to explain it in all honesty, but considering she was born in 1912, the year telephones first started to become available in the UK, it must have been hard to get her head around it.

It was that sort of thing that made me promise myself that I would never become one of those people who didn't understand the newest gadgets and how to use them.  When I started work aged 17 I had to use a typewriter and a duplicating machine (no photocopiers then!) a huge, noisy contraption that would print duplicates from a specially prepared carbon sheet.

Then years later I saw my first facsimile machine which was basically a huge metal cylinder that the document would need to be wrapped around, the machine would be turned on and a needle that would move along the cylinder as it spun around. If you were lucky it would work first time and the fax would be sent, but more often than not I'd have to do it 2 or 3 times. From that point on, things have changed rapidly and it's been a challenge to try and keep up with it all but flipping 'eck that fear I had of falling behind has already started to happen while I wasn't looking.

I recently heard a group of friends talking about their iPhones, iPads and iPods. I don't have an i-Anything so I had nothing to contribute to the conversation and I felt slightly out on a limb. There's also been a couple (okay, a few) occasions when I've been late for an appointment or social event because I couldn't find the address. Yesterday I spent 40 minutes driving to Bolton for a meeting, then spent a further 40 minutes driving around Bolton before I found the right place. The fact that my written directions had fallen onto the floor of the car didn't help, but I couldn't help thinking that this year I should ask Santa for a satnav.

And yes, I know it's not the end of the world or anything - I'm not saying that - but that promise I made to myself not to become out of touch with technology is becoming more and more difficult to keep.  The thing is,  I don't know how to stop the gap increasing even further. Much of the new technology is financially out of my reach and that's what going to be my downfall.

It's difficult to imagine how far technology will have advanced by the time I'm a grandparent (which I hope won't be for quite a long time, just in case my daughters are reading this *cough*) but I'm looking forward to my grandchildren trying the latest gadget to me.