Sunday, February 1, 2015

Can't Stop the Signal

By all measure, I am no savvy expert when it comes to fully realizing the usefulness in technology and advancements thereof. I leave that to the savvy experts. Yet, I find it bizarre in this day and age of the 21st century that there are still those who have not embraced the potential. I find it especially worrisome with media companies and publishers who do not nor understand how to use or maintain an online and social media presence. This includes even the simplest capabilities of email, as they continue utilizing obsolete means for submissions and correspondence. Snail mail? Really? Email takes a split second to send, and another to receive an immediate response. I don’t have the time or the inclination to wait for the Pony Express to arrive 3-6 months later, if at all, with your acceptance or rejection.

I am old enough to remember when the Internet/World Wide Web (WWW) was in its infancy, and equally feel privileged to have experienced first-hand that new virtual frontier. I was in college. My buddy “Dan” (his real name) was going to the computer lab, and invited me along. I had no reason, other than to goof around. Sitting before a behemoth of a desktop computer, I clicked on the Netscape Navigator icon…and, literally, an entire world opened up. I immediately set about looking up, and printing out a forest, of song lyrics. (Like many, only later after the discovery of more risqué material did the downloading of song lyrics no longer hold my interest.) A few years later, during my short stint in education school, I even wrote an essay for an English class entitled, “Internet As Pop,” that when reread comes across as supportive yet also very dated.

Back home, my buddy “Pete” (his real name) was the first among my friends to have an America Online (AOL) dial-up connection. I had no clue that such a thing existed; I had just clicked on an icon on the school’s computer. Thus, I had not realized the need for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) subscription when setting up my own family’s home computer, as we sat futilely clicking on the Netscape icon trying to reach the sacred lands of the WWW. After such laughable trial and error back in the day, nowadays none of us barely even need to call tech support when the wireless goes down (at which points seems like the dark ages of the 20th century returned).

As it is, I am a reluctant techie. I was never going to read the news online; undoubtedly, I have contributed, even in the smallest way, to bring about the end of hard-copy print journalism. Even when I worked for a community newspaper, I was checking the news online rather than reach for my own news source. As for social media, I was never going to join; now, a handful of websites are checked daily. And, I was never going to embrace digital publishing; now, I have several eBooks ( (I also was never going to blog…you see how that worked out.) When my buddy “John” (his real name) got a DVR, I thought it was some sort of voodoo black magic to pause and rewind “live” television; these days, I don’t know how I lived without it. So, while my curmudgeon heart bitterly protests about newfangled fancy thingamajigs, I still reluctantly accept them as the way to the future.

But, how anyone can continue being tech unaware and/or unacquainted in the 21st century is beyond my comprehension. (Unless, of course, you’re living in a cave denouncing western civilization, butchering innocents and beheading opposition out of some misguided 7th century ideology, as your message of jihad is spread by technology developed and utilized by the former. Then you’re just a stupid Islamic terrorist who deserves some good old fashioned 20th century reckoning.)

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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