Posted by: gdevi | May 16, 2011

HP Unveils the non-computer

Read Onion’s story about HP’s new non-computer; god, these guys are totally inventive!

Now all I need is a non-cellphone, a non-IPhone, and a non-IPad.

I tell my students that I wrote the first draft of my 200 page dissertation on a typewriter, using correcting ribbon, including revisions (multiply that by 5 committee members) — and they look at me as if I am to be pitied. I bought my first laptop just to type the final copy of my dissertation. I am amazed at all this technological innovation such as bigger and bigger TVs and faster and faster computers and this and that. What is the use of all of this gadgetry if what you are able to use it for is still unbearable? What difference does it make that you watch Fox News on 24″ or 54″ TV? Or mono or stereo? Or analog or digital? Or Blue Ray or High Definition? If what you are watching is trash, what difference does it make what you are watching it on? Fix the hardware all you want, make it faster, cheaper, sleeker, whatever, but without good software — the art, the writing, the movies, the shows, the music– what good are all these hardware and applications?

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Responses

  1. Gayatri, you have hit on what I see as the fundamental paradox of our culture–that we are becoming isolated by instaneous communication. It seems that the more instantly we can communicate with one another digitally, the more isolated we become in flesh and blood. The effect of virtual living seems to be that we are becoming dehumanized. I think these rapid increases in communication technology are changing our very psychology as a species. I believe it is having the psychological effect of speeding up our perception of the passing of time. What is the use of living to be 85 years old if you are only able to experience half that amount of time?

    Pat and I have begun the process of unplugging. We have gotten rid of our home Internet, though we both still have constant access via our cell phones. (We have no land lines.) To minimize the intrusions of our cell phones, we shut off the ringers when we are at home and only check them periodically to see if there has been any emergencies. Unless someone has died, is gravely ill, or is someone with whom we actually want to have human contact, any call we receive in the evening is not answered until the next morning. We still have a long way to go in reclaiming our lives, but at least it’s a start.

  2. Thanks Darwin, Hey Pat, yes, so much of this communication leap is really running jumping standing still in the same place. But if we are to go by historical examples, I think there is a small group of folks–scientists, technical engineers, designers and the like– who really know what they are doing who will preserve the best aspects of all these changes. It is the short-term product-pushers that I find unbearable; I don’t think they really care about anything; they will push anything if it will make money for them. I think if we as a society said “no” to these Kaboom! folks, they will have to back down. What a circus, honestly. Just an over-engineered carnival!


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