Tech Trouble | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Tech Trouble | Mark’s Remarks

By on October 11, 2017 at 8:30 am

I know you are like me and you stop and think about technology from time to time.  I was just thinking about how far we’ve come in just a short time… or maybe it’s a long time and it’s just gone by quickly to me.

We are late bloomers when it comes to technology. I think we got our first little cell phone in 1998 when Michelle was pregnant.  At that time, we shared it.  It was just for emergency reasons and we really only used it as a sort of “walkie-talkie” type thing.

I remember using it in the McDonald’s drive-through once, on one of my late-night excursions to satisfy a pregnancy craving; probably my own. I called Michelle to see if she wanted a grilled chicken.  I thought I was right uptown, boy.  Being able to call my wife to verify something. From my car. Awesome.

Now, each person in my house — other than the 6-year-old — has a phone.  We text one another from the basement.  We take photos of stuff and send it to each other. I grocery shop when Michelle twists my arm.  I despise it, actually.  But I find it handy to take photos of the various kinds of rice boxes and shoot it to her. 

I never make a shopping mistake anymore.

My oldest son Skypes us from college and it’s like having him right in the room. We Facetime my mother quite often. It certainly makes us stay in touch better, this technology thing.  

You can have a group meeting with a whole gob of people in a few pushes of a button. If I don’t feel like typing in words, I can press a little microphone and speak into my phone. It translates into the text. Although a little funny sometimes (it doesn’t always come out right over text), it sure is handy.

I even think back to the early days of teaching and I can’t believe how much easier a lot of tasks are now, thanks to advances in technology. It’s the same way across the board.  Lots of conveniences and lots of efficiency.

So, I wonder why we seem to be busier than ever? Even when we are able to do a lot of stuff a lot faster, we still seem to have so darn much to do. 

There may be an easy answer. And, like I told you, I’m a late bloomer.  I’m sure I haven’t discovered some things yet that a bunch of folks have. In a couple of years, I’ll probably discover something that’s been around for five years and I’ll “ooh” and “ahh” and marvel at it.  

I also find it so funny that the more we are given, the more we want. A lot of times I go to do something or find something, and I’m mad that it’s not at my fingertips or readily available.  If things don’t go fast enough, I’m impatient. I expect my computer to do a whole bunch of stuff and I expect it to go fast.

Recently, my tech-savvy friend who always bails us out when it comes to computer issues told us we needed to leave our computer on more often.  This way, the computer would update and wouldn’t have to think so much when we actually go to use it.  You see, when we turn it off and on, it tries to update and think about a whole bunch of stuff before it connects to the internet. Thinking.  Processing. Slow. Impatience!

Then there are times I want it all to go away. Just to see. I’d like to return to simpler times.  You know, we pick up our phones to check our text or an email, and we end up perusing and scanning and wasting time we don’t have.  Remember the days people called or visited? If you weren’t home, they left a note or came back later. They called later.  

You can stop and think about how much technology has improved your life, but you can also spend some time thinking about how much frustration it can cause. Indeed, just spend a few moments thinking about  how technology has caused you pain. Just today.

Because I didn’t follow instructions, I had to wait for an eternity for this darn laptop to get to the point where I could type this column. It’s taken me at least 20 minutes to load everything, start typing, and send this column to the editor. Twenty whole minutes!

An eternity, I tell you.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.