Phhhht, Technology!

Well, our phone’s been out again, which means no Internet here, since all we have access to is dial-up.  (This is not by choice, just a fact of life here in the Ozarks.)  What happened this time?   A county mowing crew clearing growth along roads smashed a telephone kiosk serving many customers.      How vulnerable we are, and how isolated I feel when the phone is out or the electricity goes off.  This is especially true since there are no cell towers close enough to give us cell phone service down in the hollow (“holler” in Ozarks-speak) where we live.   Interesting how advancing technology has caused us to depend on rapid communication, when for centuries shared words (and drumming?) were the only means of communication for humans.

Which brings up the technology we’ve been talking about here.  “Technology, and the book in a ‘brave new world!'”   By technology I mean e-books;  Kindle, Sony reader, computer screens, cell phone screens–or even audio books in many varieties.

What about books printed on paper?

I agree with David that electronic books are definitly with us to stay.  But the vulnerability of technology to damage or erasure (whether by road mowing, a wrong keystroke, a tree falling, or an electronic zap from an evil wizard) makes me appreciate books on paper all the more.   Sure they can be burned.  Worms can eat them.  Paper will deteriorate.  But here in my world today, as I walk among my hundreds of books, I think of them as a safe and secure method of communication.  They are…so…CONCRETE!   I look at them and can instantly cherish memories of the stories or facts they offer, and, in many cases,  of the fellow authors I have come to know.  I look at the unread books on my shelves (or stacked somewhere, to be honest) and anticipate pleasure and knowledge.   I look at my blank computer screen and see…nothing.  Then the electric lines or phone lines are repaired and here I am again, putting words on a screen.   I haven’t sorted this out yet, and don’t think I care to try.  I just use the technology that I understand and accept; love my books on paper, and wonder what the future will bring.


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