Thursday, October 23, 2014


With our advanced technology, it is amazing what we have come to accept as the way things are, leaving us to just shrug our shoulders.

For example, we've all seen this type of error come across our computer screens, often at the expense of a lot of work.

Aren't all errors unexpected?

Are you some of you setting out to make mistakes?

I am reminded of the time, years ago, that Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors a press release that included the following: 

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft...for no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day...(and) for some reason you would simply accept this.

There is no doubt that we all benefit from technology. 

And look at the impact it has had, with industries that have risen and fallen within our lifetimes.

The video rental business did not exist prior to 1980 and is all but extinct. 

Ditto the compact disc.

Remember your Sony Walkman?

How about your boombox?

I know a couple of you readers remember these...

Even music downloads are looking like their days are numbered, as streaming looks to be the delivery model of the future.

To everything, there is a season. 

For the record (those are pretty much gone, too!), Pete Seeger stole that line from a much older lyricist.

Does anyone even have a home phone anymore? Ever see a pay phone these days?

Where the heck does Superman change clothes?

Remember when you used to have to develop film?

And now cars warn you when you're drifting out of your lane.

Yes, the world has changed.

But we may want to be careful how much control we cede to technology. 

I am not rushing to have my home security controlled by my phone, for example, especially when my naked selfies are not even secure on my phone.

After all, as scary as the thought of a nekkid photo of me is, remember how scary it can be when the technology takes over:

I'll be back!


  1. I feel that I myself am probably only months away from being obsolete... if I'm not already.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  2. Does that mean that the McCarthy Model T-1000 is just around the corner?

  3. I miss the days when you twirled the coiled wire while sitting next to a phone chatting up some girl... or when a backyard mechanic could dope out about anything. And I refuse to give up my CDs... my cassettes, however...

    1. What bothers me most about the trend is music is that people settle for such low fidelity.

      A CD has ten times as much data than a download, and people do not seem to care, yet they are rebuying their DVD's on Blu-Ray t0 get the enhanced picture quality.

      The art of listening to music is dying...and that is sad.

  4. I have mixed feelings about modern technology. There's a lot to like, but I think computer companies are capable of producing far better products that what they do and I think they could do it more cheaply. I'm convinced that the computer companies purposely program defects into their systems that require us to pay for upgrades, security systems, and eventually buy new computers sooner than we need to. I wouldn't be surprised if most computer viruses are developed by the computer companies themselves.

    I don't know about a $25 car, but I do believe they could make cars not only that could get better mileage, but they have the know-how to produce an engine that runs on alternative energies that are practical and efficient. There are better ways to do things, but oil companies are not excited to see these things developed.

    Tossing It Out

    1. I was on a flight last week and the wireless went out.

      You should have heard the people piss and moan.

      We're not even forty years removed from when you were limited to a book on a flight, and somehow being without the internet for three hours is a tragedy.

  5. Don't feel bad, Stephen, I just jumped over into my 30s and can feel myself slowly becoming obsolete.

    You know, a couple years back we got a home phone for a grand total of 6 months, just because we figured it'd be easier to bundle our cable package together and have an extra phone line where we could be reached at home. Just in case. Boy were we wrong. Even after putting ourselves on the do not call list we got junk calls up to 10 times a day. Also, we were given a recycled phone number, and as luck would have it our previous phone number's holder was a complete deadbeat that bought a Cadillac Escalade, a Sprint smartphone, and a brand new Mac laptop with money she didn't have and never paid back, so we got collection calls at all time of day for these things, and no matter how many times I told them I wasn't her and that this was a new phone number they always called back. I called Comcast and told them about this, and they simply said sorry we can't change your number, just tell them this is a new number and they'll stop. They didn't. Neither did the telemarketers.

    After 2 months of this, we got so sick of it we ripped the line out of the wall and just let it sit there, because believe it or not it was cheaper to have phone service bundled than not. So for the next 4 months we had a dead line that did nothing simply because it saved us money. Then we changed providers and got rid of the home phone altogether.

    Long story short - in my experience, the home phone service killed itself. My parents, who still have a home phone, get those same junk calls all the time. I can't stand it, and frankly, the only reason they tolerate it is because they're too "scared" of cell phones. But me, and people my age are not. If they want to bring home phones back (since they're essentially free to use with most cable packages) then these companies need to stop selling people's phone numbers to marketers and stop giving them repossessed numbers. In comparison, my cell phone gets a junk call maybe once a month... that, I can deal with.

    Dammit, Jim - I'm a full time writer, not a receptionist.

    1. Do your parents rent the phone, too?

      My mother did that right up until they sold their house, no matter how much I tried to show her what a crappy deal it was.

      I signed up for Magic Jack last Christmas-$100 fir five years, I never answer the phone but have the ability to call out as long as my internet is working. The cable phone service cost me $20 per month.

    2. No, they don't rent the phone, thankfully. It's crazy these places do that. When I moved into this house and took over my brother-in-law's previous Comcast account, I found out he had been "renting" the modem like an idiot for the past 2 years. $10 a month to rent it, over 24 months, and that's basically $240 spent on a $30 cable modem. I returned their awful rental modem and bought my own on the spot.

      So does that Magic Jack thing actually work? I hear such polarizing reviews - some say it's awesome, others say it doesn't work for crap. I never know what to believe.

    3. My only two complaints about the Magic Jack:

      (1) it seems to cut you off at an hour-twice I was talking to family members and that happened.

      (2) For work, I use a toll free conference call in number that it does not recognize as toll free-so I use my cell phone for those calls. I had the same problem with the cable company service-they would charge me for the toll free number.

      I do not bother with incoming calls on it-I seem to get two or three a day with no messages left, which I assume are telemarketers. I don't give the number out-it's strictly for the convenience of a home phone when I want it or when my cell service is spotty (I have Sprint, after all).

      I think it was money well spent, and at $20 a year, it's not so expensive that I feel like I am throwing money away when I rarely use it.

      I think the people who fall for the rent phones/modem scams are the same ones who buy extended warranties on everything. They want to insure every risk, no matter how small.


    4. If it tells you anything about my brother-in-law, he had an extended warranty on every last appliance in the house (which has never had a single problem, minus the washer which had a small problem that I fixed on my own for free). He also had a $270 a month security system on our house. No cameras, no trip sensors, just a $270 a month glorified police caller. As things would have it, I have the same system. It's called dialing 9-1-1 on my cellphone.

      He doesn't care so much about insuring risk, I don't think. He's just an idiot with his money and any salesman that offers him anything will pretty much guarantee he buys the full line of "everything" they offer, no matter how stupid it is. Because he's incredibly gullible.

      This is the same guy who takes his Porsche to get his oil changed only at the Porsche dealership, which is $300. They told him they do it "better" because they're experts on their own cars, so he believes them. He doesn't even stop to question that all cars are designed the same in this regard, and you don't need to be an "expert" to unscrew one nut, drain out some oil, and screw on a new filter.

    5. Most people seem to fall for the sales pitch when it's attached to a low monthly payment. They never stop to think about what they are getting for their money (let alone the concept of the time value of money and interest income lost).

      Was that a typo? $270 a month?

      For $270 a month I could have a homeless guy live in my yard and watch the house-he'd probably cut the lawn, too!

    6. That was no typo. I even verified with my wife. After all, the bill was going to be put in her name after my BIL left. She told them to shove it.

      Brandon, meanwhile, mounted a digital security camera ($50) to the roof of his garage, which is connected to an old desktop computer ($50, Craigslist) that runs 24/7. All video is saved for 7 days, and any time movement is triggered it records and specifically saves all of that footage permanently, each as a separate file. Even just a leaf blowing across the drive way. But that's how you know it works.

      If I were in the market for security, I'd trust that over some home monitoring BS any day. And especially those ones you can control with your smartphone. Too much room for error there.