Sunday, August 13, 2006


You may have noticed I had no post up yesterday. Not because I didn't write anything, but because Blogger lost it somehow--I posted it, then removed it for some editing, and even though I tried to protect myself by saving it as a draft, the whole thing went POOF, vanished forever into the ether.

True, I could have rewritten it, but come on, I have a life outside of this. Really, I only mention this because, in the past week, I've had three posts vanish. One of those may have been my fault, hitting a key I didn't realize I'd hit, but one simply vanished when I hit the Publish Post button. Weird.

Remember the future we were once promised? The one with flying, rocket-powered cars and jet packs and transporters and big, clunky robots? The main reason none of that came to pass is, none of that stuff worked. If anybody could have developed affordable, reliable personal jetpacks, we'd all have one.

Because who'd buy something that didn't work? Back in the fifties and sixties, when bright new products were introduced to consumers, they did what they were supposed to do. If they'd never gotten, say, refrigerator technology down just right, they'd never have gone on the market. If you bought a Buick in the sixties, and took reasonably good care of it, the thing would run for years and years and years. Microwaves, air conditioners, stereos--true, some models were better than others, but the basic design of all of these things was sound.

When computers were first introduced to the home market, they tended to crash, or have unexpected blips, or otherwise not quite always do what they were supposed to do. And they still have this! The technology is becoming faster, it can do more, but it isn't actually getting better--the old problems are still there, only in newer, ever mutating forms.

Even the most hardcore computer geeks will tell you that the technology has quirks, has idiosynchrocies, has bugs. Okay. Shouldn't those bugs have been worked out before the technology was actually introduced? Nobody seems to remember this anymore, but the world worked fine in a pre-computer world--better, probably, than it does now. It's not like qwe were all wandering around downcast, miserable faces held in gnarled hands, waiting for something to deliver us from the unspeakable despair of our lives.

Ironically, as we push our technology to do more and more--faster, better, now--we wind up settling for less. Computers crash. Cellphones drop out. We accept these, but should we? By just shrugging it off, clearly our expectations have been lowered.

If we can accept this, what else can we be sold?