30 January 2024

Technology - improvement or hindrance?

I sometimes think modern technology, such as computers and the internet can be a double-edged sword. I am all for progress, after all, without it, we'd all still be wearing sabre-tooth tiger cloaks and be killing woolly mammoths for our supper. But I guess through every generation of progress there have been pros and cons. Take the industrial revolution. It took production output to the next level for factory and mill owners, but at the cost of exploiting their workers. I feel today with the internet we face advantages and disadvantages of different kinds.

Computers, mobile phones and the internet have drastically changed the world we live in. At the touch of keypad we can look up answers to any of our questions in a heartbeat (assuming we have good broadband connections). We can instantly convert dollars to pounds, look up US presidents at the time of Queen Victoria, the next train from London to Edinburgh, the best hotels in Sydney, the weather in Guatemala or get a supermarket delivery. We can send emails, attend meetings from home, glance at our bank accounts or arrange bank transfers. We can reduce the wastage of paper (and thus save the planet) by having online accounts for utilities and other companies we deal with, rather than get hard paper copies sent to us through the post. We can "visit a street" on the other side of the world and see what it looks like.  There are so many more advantages.

BUT. There has to be a but. There is a lot to be said against it. For starters what happens when there is poor or no broadband connection and you cannot research something online or send an email? What happens when you have no mobile phone signal and cannot contact someone urgently to tell them you are going to be late or not show for a meeting with them? What happens if your computer dies or your mobile smashes on the ground and you cannot transfer money or receive online paperwork until you can fork out for another computer or mobile? What if you mis-type an email address and the person you are targeting doesn't even get your message or some stranger finds out things about you?

I have noticed with the younger generation (I am not naming names, dear daughter of mine), that they tend to religiously contact colleagues by email and then wonder why they get no reply for days or weeks on end. Where as I would pick up the phone, dial and get my answer there and then. I am advised that NOBODY does phone calls these days. It's all done by email. Similarly, when seeking a quote for work to be done or goods to be provided, an online request form is de rigeur. Again, I would pick up the phone, dial and ask what they charge!!

I am afraid I still insist on bills being sent to me, rather than having online copies, as I always worry, if my computer goes down or dies, I won't have anything to rely on.  I am sure recycling paper will still save the planet, given that we have already chopped down millions of trees and already have a load of paper hanging around waiting to be recycled. I do have an online bank account - it seems almost impossible not to these days, but I have to have 100% of my wits about me not to be scammed in a moment of sleepy lack of concentration, when I receive a phone call from a stranger purporting to be from Amazon telling me I have just paid £4,000 and do I want to stop this purchase and hand over my bank details.

Another disadvantage of the internet is social media and the way it can put stress on children's lives. Once kids were bullied at school but it stopped at the school gates. Now, with mobile phones, kids are getting bullied round the clock, even as they're turning out the bedside light at night. On the plus side, CCTV cameras,  Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and Face Recognition cameras can fight crime and solve complex cases in much shorter times.

I sit on the fence on this one. There are good points and bad points. What say you?

19 January 2024

Winter blues

It's already the 19th of January and I have just realised I have not posted anything at all since December. Life seems to get in the way sometimes, although I cannot really boast of anything exciting. 

It seems as one gets older, there's a lot of bad news flying around and stuff to deal with. There have been two deaths in recent weeks - one the sister of my best friend and the other an old friend/neighbour of my parents whom I have known for nearly 40 years. The first had specifically requested no funeral. I attended the funeral of the second last week. 

I have also been following up appointments on my own health and saw my gastric consultant on 4 January. She wants to do another gastroscopy to stretch a stomach valve which should help with the acid reflux I get from time to time. I last had this procedure back in September, but it needs doing again as it did not do the trick last time. The gastroscopy was due to be done today, but because of a mix-up with the appointment's department, it never got registered, so has been delayed until 2 February.  It's probably just as well there was a mix-up, as I have gone down with a dreadful cold - I haven't had one in years - and am feeling sorry for myself. I've lost count of the number of times I sneezed yesterday (probably well over a hundred) and I feel as if someone has attached a permanently running tap to my nose. I know I'll survive, but together with this cold snap in the weather, it is making me listless. 

To cheer up a rather depressing post, I got the train up to the Midlands to visit my niece and six-week-old grand niece at the beginning of the week, thankfully before any of my cold symptoms appeared. She got lots of cuddles from Great Aunt Addy. She is such a poppet and has an amazing head of hair. See what you think....