An era has just ended. No one else likely noticed it because
it was such a small era, but it was an era that was all mine and I will miss it even if no one
else cares. What I’m mourning is the longstanding era of
Low-Tech Ash. Until recently, I've considered myself a born again Neo-Luddite, but I just took
another giant step toward Neo- and away from –Luddite.
I like to think that I’m an open-minded person, so my technology aversion hasn't been out of obstinacy even though I can be hard
headed over just about everything else. More than anything, it’s been due to
the fact that it seems like 90% of the new gadgets are aimed at entertainment
and distraction. And god knows I get distracted enough without the extra help
(Oooh, shiny!). This is the same reason why I canceled cable and have to ration
Netflix to myself. Passive entertainment is my writing kryptonite; if not for
all of the hours I've spent playing games and watching Big Bang Theory (non-stop,
seasons 1-5) I might be 5 books deeper into the Aevum franchise by now.
So the last thing a person as easily distracted as I am
needed was an iPhone, right? That’s what I've been telling myself every time I
had to get a new phone and with smartphones dominating more of the market every year, it was getting harder and harder to find a plain-Jane (apologies to
anyone named Jane) low-feature phone without a data plan. And I guess all of
this is my long-winded way of admitting that Yes, I finally caved and bought an
iPhone. And what’s worse? I’m in love with it and I’m wondering how I ever
communicated before Siri.
Don’t think I jumped in all at once, however. I took baby
steps toward an app-driven life, starting with the purchase of my Nook Tablet
in February. As a writer, I've rebelled against the eReaders for years; I wanted
to have a book, a REAL book, in my hands when I read with pages that turn and
can be dog-eared to my place and that show the wear and tear that is the love
you have for them when you read them over and over again until the binding
breaks down. Not to mention the lovely smell they get after years of reading
that is somewhat reminiscent of stale milk and nursing home. I mean, really,
why would anyone want to give that up all of that nostalgia and authenticity?
When I got the Nook I promised myself it was just going to be for convenience
when travelling and to help make sure I didn't just completely let the stream
of new tech pass me by. Of course, in my luddite snobbery I was also thinking I
should be more familiar what I was rejecting so I could be armed with
appropriately snarky responses to everyone else who couldn't survive without
their iPhones and iPads (Note: Never miss a chance to prepare snark in
The next thing I knew, I was reading almost exclusively on
the Nook and I’d spent WAAAAAY more than I’d intended on eBooks. It turns out
that my frequent headaches that were due to eye strain (every book lover knows
how hard it is to get the pages in just
the right light) disappeared almost instantly when I switched to the eReader
and the neck aches I’d always gotten when I read were absent when I read on the
Nook. Long story short: lesson learned. I put my snark and snobbery aside and
admitted that hey, here’s a piece of new technology that actually HAS improved
my life in unexpected ways. Even if it did put a dent in my bank account due to
the new ease with which I could purchase books.
So I guess it’s safe to say that the Nook was my gateway
tech. Shortly thereafter I discovered that not all apps were the evil time-wasters
I’d branded them and now some of them have even changed the way I work and
increased my productivity. Evernote, for instance, has virtually replaced my
much-loved leather journal for organizing my thoughts on writing projects, and
Dropbox has changed the way I store and access my writing. I’m no longer
dependent on remembering to back up to my memory stick and constantly trying to
remember which version on the 3 machines on which I work is the latest.
This time when my phone contract was up and it was time to upgrade, my
next step finally felt more natural and less like a betrayal of my anti-tech
nature. It was time for the (insert dramatic music) iPhone 4S
. I didn't play with it much during the first couple of
days I had it; I felt the same about it as a dieter would have about a box of
truffles that showed up on her doorstep. Oh, maybe just one little caramel app
for now. And how about this little app here? It’s nougat, it really doesn't count anyway. And the more I sampled
little tastes of what the phone had to offer, the more my iTunes budget looked much like
that box of chocolates after a short period of restrained self-denial: Empty.
But the convenience! What did I ever do before without
mobile banking? Without Sound Hound to tell me what awesome song is playing at
the restaurant AND give me the lyrics? Without Pepperplate to create a grocery
list for me based on what recipe I want to cook? Without AllTrails to plan my
next back-packing trip? Without Smug Mug to make all of my pictures look like pro shots? And without Siri to type all of my messages for me,
compile my playlists for me, book restaurant tables for me, AND keep up with
all of the things I would otherwise forget?
And so it goes... While I’m still a DIY fiend, homesteader
in training, and staunch reality TV hater, I’m now also an iPhone-toting, eBook
reading, tech-flirting hipster chick.
(Is it still hip to say hip?)
Sent from my iPhone (Not really....)