As part of my move, I've had to set up phone service. I don't want digital service, because it won't work if there's a blackout. Just a landline, thank you very much. And not one with Caller ID (that's why I have an answering machine), three-way calling, call forwarding, differentiated rings or a timer for my coffee maker. All I want is regular, old-fashioned phone service. Why is that so hard to get?
I don't want a cell phone that surfs the web. I don't want a coffee maker that shines my shoes. My computer doesn't need to also play DVDs or CDs. Yes, I end up with more machines, but I end up with ones that do what they need to do and do that thing well, without bloatware.
Yes, there's a certain appeal to TiVo, but I have a VCR and I can use that fastforward button. It's not like there's so much on tv that I want to save permanently, any way. Besides, relying on TiVo means I'm tied to a machine, and I'd prefer to be living life.
Too many machines, too much technology leads to too many complications and a too cluttered, too bustled life. Being "plugged in" all day, every day, isn't healthy. And, of course, now we're seeing a backlash. As Steve Johnson reports from MIT's Media Lab,
By the way, another irony from the event: A couple of the new devices discussed that seemed to draw the most interest from the audience weren't new technology so much as ways to put the lid on existing stuff.Might just be easier to turn them off. Heretical, but effective.
One device let you kill all cell phone signals in any room you entered. The other was a pair of glasses that, as I understood it, make any TV screen you look at appear to you to be off, or dark.
Will there come a point when we're too busy correcting current technologies to actually develop new ones?