Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Technology Musings

On the way to work this morning I listened to the new John Sandford novel on CD. Last week it was Pat Conroy's South of Broad (highly recommended!!!!). So, for 43 miles and an hour and a half, my car tells me a story. Then at night, I repeat the process.

Last night I woke in the middle of the night and did some reading on yet a different novel, this time the new Jonathan Kellerman/Alex Delaware. This time I read on my Kindle. When I fell asleep, the Kindle turned itself off.

Frankly, it's been forever since I read a novel ... printed on paper. If I have time to read, which I mostly don't, I don't want to schlep around a big ole hardcover and even the paperbacks today weigh a pound or more. And if I'm awake, I'm probably knitting, so I need my hands free.

So the Kindle. (Thanks, Jake!)  Anyway, the Kindle is about the size of a paperback book but half the weight. Amazing, amazing! But it's a different life and requires some life-skills adjustment.

For one thing, your library exists in the ether. In this case, all my New Yorkers (or at least the ones I haven't read yet) are stacked up on my menu instead of next to the bed. So are the next four novels I'm determined to read. (Whoops! I just bought the new Karin Slaughter, so make that five!)

To get a new one, I go to the Kindle store (on the Kindle main menu) and hit the "buy" button. Then, once it's in the menu, a matter of seconds, I can move between all my reading material with the movement of one finger. And the darned thing even "dog-ears" my place in each book -- it knows what I've already read and haven't. Like I wish my IPOD worked but it usually doesn't.

And now when I want to turn a page -- and by the way, the "print" on the page can be adjusted by size depending on how my eyes feel on a given day -- I hit "next page" or "back."
So, will future generations only get their reading done electronically? Who knows? Will they miss the smell of a new book?

And those same generations -- will they know what the words "hang up" mean? After all, we don't hang up the phone any more -- many of us haven't had a telephone for years-- we end the call.

Now that vehicle ignitions are push-button, will our kids ever know the pleasure of putting their brand-new ignition key into their first new car and turning it -- the power of feeling that engine turn over under the power of your fingers? Or will turning that key become the equivalent of turning the crank on your Model A?

And what about phone exchanges? Do you remember when you could look at the first three numbers of a phone number -- no, not the area code, that's New School -- the three numbers after the parentheses and before the hyphen. Remember when those numbers told you something, like what part of town the caller lived in? No more.

So, here  we are -- the whole world is technological. Except for my knitting.

I just continue to wind yarn around my two sticks. Over and over, knit and purl. Around and around. Occasionally I knit two together, or slip a stitch. The most high-tech thing I do is use one long needle to Magic Loop.

If my grandmother could come back for a day she'd have no idea where to find a book or how to start a car, but darn it all, she could pick up my knitting and go to town. Knitting is one thing that's changing every day and at the same time hasn't changed at all since my grandmother learned to knit 100+ years ago or since men and women learned to knit fabric for warmth 2,000 years ago.

And as long as I can keep knitting, I don't really care how to turn on my car. It can just stay in the driveway.

Oh, the picture? That's Kerrigan and Emma, hanging out at the lake last week. Do you think they care about technology? Not hardly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a new Karin Slaughter??!!! And never mind that you got a kindle and somehow avoided mentioning that, bless your heart.

And why are cars push button anyway? It's so weird