Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reading into the Future

As an avid reader and writer, I am always interested in new technology pertaining to these disciplines. But as someone in, dare I say it, midlife I am sometimes torn between familiarity and innovation. Communication technology has exploded in recent years and it can be difficult to keep up—psychologically and financially. We used to have telegrams and telephones to communicate, but now we can email, text, tweet, Facebook chat, blog, Skype, video conference, or simply call each other on our cells.

A couple of weeks ago, I met a friend for coffee at Starbucks. While I waited for my latte, I scanned the large room and noted how quiet it was. Then I realized why. Almost every table was occupied by a customer sipping a drink while working on a laptop or texting on a cell phone. My friend, who had arrived before me, was immersed in her book, which she was reading on her Kindle. I found the scene ironic given the fact that coffee shops used to be places where people convened to talk face-to-face, whether for business or pleasure.

The world is changing quickly, as it always has. We can embrace these changes or we can resist them. When I’m a senior, I hope I’ll become a person who gets excited by innovation, especially if it will make my life easier and more pleasant; but at the same time, I understand the seniors of today who don’t have the patience to learn how to use yet another gadget, or the desire to spend their retirement income on the latest technology.

Just as I’m starting to think that I’d like a Kindle or an iPad, there’s talk of a new kind of book (still in developmental stages) that allows you to read, research and interact all at the same time. Have a look at this video clip to see what I mean: THE FUTURE OF THE BOOK.

New communication technology offers new tools, which are meant to facilitate our lives. For the most part they do; however, one of my greatest grievances is not that I have to learn something new, but that there is the potential for more cords, wires and plugs in my house. Everything needs a charger and every charger needs to be plugged in. We already have a web of wires that seem to emerge from each socket in our home, required to charge all our electrical gadgets such as cell phones, portable phones, iPods, laptops, eBooks, Gameboys and PSPs, digital cameras and recorders, portable DVD players...and the list goes on.

Technological innovations certainly enhance our lives but they can also cause aggravation, which includes complicated and time consuming instructions and many, many wires. I’d like to see a computer chip that can be plugged into our brains while we sleep to download instructions, and a super charging device that would allow us to charge every single gadget out of sight and in one place—under the bed perhaps. Oh, and how about implanting anti-theft, anti-breakage software into the product, or in us? That could save some aggravation too.


  1. Not only do I understand the seniors of today not wanting to learn another device, I feel that way myself sometimes. It's hard to keep up!

  2. Hah! Was that ME by any chance, reading the Kindle?! While I absolutely love my device -- and it has exponentially increased my reading -- I do hear you about wires. As I tidied my son's room today, it seemed that I spent a lot of time untangling and neatly wrapping up wires. Somehow those cords seem to be the antithesis of good technology.