Tech is great, but come on

At what point has it gone too far? I have my macbook, iPhone, bluetooth mice and keyboards, Quad Core PC running Windows 7, a GPS for my bike that syncs wirelessly with a power meter (and another for my wife’s bike), with some friends I text more than I talk on the phone, and unlike most people on this faculty I know the difference between “reply” and “reply to all.”

But six months ago I committed Facebook suicide. If I used to be your friend, sorry, I’m not any more. I haven’t started Tweeting. I’m not going to buy a $500 video game/screen, no matter how many times Steve Jobs calls it amazing. But this is a step beyond all that: A new iPhone app, already available for Japanese, will sense your dog’s barking, translate it into English, and tweet that to whatever idiot wants to follow your dog’s twitter posts. Log in to your iTunes account in a couple months and look for “Bowlingual.” BTW, today is not April 1.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

I’ll be the first to admit that I spend more time than I think I should on tweaking settings, making a Keynote animation flow just right, or analyzing the power data from my bike computer. One of the challenges of all this digital noise is balancing the useful with the useless, the productive with the productivity-sucking bits and bytes floating through the air, gobbled up by your wireless card and your brain. Do I really need to follow your dog’s moods? Apparently 300,000 downloads of this app in Japan suggests that more than a few people think I should. What else do we spend our eyeballs on? Have you asked yourself this question? Has anyone else “repented” of a part of –all of– their digital life?

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  1. Joe Burnham April 10, 2010

    I’m not sure if this counts as repentance, but I recently made the decision not to get an iPad, because the only itch it would scratch is my love of new gadgets. Everything it can do my iPhone and MacBook can do just as well, but the iPad wouldn’t enable me to retire (aka give them to someone else) them both (even when combined with a dumb phone).

    Obviously I’m still a Mac-addict geek, but I’ve admitted it and am establishing some boundaries for future purchases. Surely there’s some repentance in that.

    • Jeff Kloha April 13, 2010

      I think 10% of total iPad sales have been to the tech people here on campus. I admit to wanting one after I played with someone’s. But, like you, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with my phone. Too much stuff to deal with already.

      I think a repentance that stops something before it happens is better than a confession spoken after it happens.

  2. Rob Kuefner August 11, 2010

    I wonder as well about all this technology… I remember when working at the Sem library (don’t know if you working with me that day or not) when I ran across a cartoon in an old Fort Wayne Sem student newspaper. It showed Luther sitting in an easy chair, remote in hand, in the bubble it showed Luther saying “I’ll work on those 95 Theses tomorrow.”, and below the caption read “If Luther had television…”
    For all that technology affords, how much does it prevent us from being in the Word, and connected to our families and spouse… this coming from someone who also loves his computer, ipod, kindle, etc.

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