Friday, January 6, 2012

rubbing two sticks together

i got a kindle for christmas. last year around this time i think i posted something about why i didn’t want one...i probably still wouldn’t want one if it wasn’t for my job. e-publishing is becoming a major phenomenon, something i would be only peripherally aware of if i wasn’t so involved with the local writing and publishing community.

i’m about to turn 26. when i first started getting into music, CDs were poised to overtake cassette tapes. in early junior high computers were suddenly essential, and by late junior high the internet was...the internet. i got my first cell phone in ninth grade, by junior year they were popular and in college everyone had one. DVDs crushed VHS tapes. email flew past snail mail. a kilobyte became a megabyte became a gigabyte.

i took a photography class when digital photography was in its earliest stages. the teacher forced us to experiment with this hulking sony mavica that wrote to a floppy disc. i hated that thing and resented having to use it.

i think i initially resisted (or at least harbored mixed feelings for) most new technologies as they came about. i doubted that digital cameras would catch on. i hated typing. sometimes i didn’t see why i should pay $14.99 for a CD when i could get a tape for $9.99. i was attached to my CD collection and waited years to get an ipod. i never thought i’d own an e-reader.

i still feel uneasy trading the comfort of a physical object for the convenience of a digital file, the constant shrinking, disintegration and disappearance of everyday things that goes along with this exponential rate of technological advancement.

i accept change but i’m nostalgic for things before my time--i work on a computer but i play on a typewriter.

a kindle will never replace books for me. the smell and the weight of them, seeing their covers lying around the house while they’re being read, their spines lined up on a shelf to catch your eye and remind you of their stories.

i’m making myself open to e-books as a convenient addition to books, though. my aunt sent a thumb drive with 2,600 titles--apparently in australia you get to keep any e-book you “borrow” from the library, so i believe she copied her library’s entire stock of digital books onto that digit-sized memory stick. it included about 300 books i want to read, 30 of which i’m desperate to read. suddenly having all this wonderful reading material (virtually) at my fingertips is overwhelming but exciting.


GoneferalinID said...

I got a Nook for my Birthday. I LOVE it. I know one day we will have implants that project the words to contacts that one day will be obsolete and it will be more like the Matrix.

I use a digital camera at work that years ago would have cost a few thousand dollars that is a bit cruddy. I also use a typewriter at work to label my files. At least we don't have to etch our words in stone. although, what happens years after we are gone and all that are left are those ancient words, marked in stone?

Andrea said...

I'm a lot older than you are, but your post really resonated with me as I, too, have resisted and then accepted each digital change you've described. (The digital camera was a tough one but I needed to embrace them for work.) I have — and love — an iphone, but I still cling to books. Maybe if I had an aunt in Australia, I'd change my mind. :)

the Knottie Knitta said...

i have always gone with the flow as far as technology goes, but i think i'm turning into an old fart. At christmas, my little cousins had out their ipod touches...they were playing games and checking facebook on them. it took 10 minutes of me asking them stupid (according to the looks i was getting from them at least haha) questions to realize that their "MP3 players" are essentially just iphones that can't make calls. it seems completely ridiculous to me, and i say now that i will never get one, but it is one of those things that if someone gave it to me, i wouldn't exactly argue :)

kindle will never replace books. i would miss the smell of used book stores too much

Emily said...

goneferal--haha, that's quite the prediction. i think we'll eventually reach some tipping point after which we'll move backwards technology-wise, either to save humanity or the planet or both. i know i'm about sick of new gadgets, their planned (almost instantaneous) obsolescence and the intense consumerism that comes with all of it.

andrea--digital camera was probably the hardest for me, too. but it's great for us since both film and traditional photographic paper have a non-vegan gelatin layer.

spoony--it scares me seeing little kids use technology like that. reed's two-year-old cousin is capable of using an ipad. that is essentially a theme for a dystopian horror movie as far as i'm concerned.

Jessica said...

When I was in college, no one had a cell phone. Then I went to London for a semester my junior year. This was in 1999. Everyone had cell phones there. I saw this person on the street talking to herself and I thought, Oh, there's a crazy person. Then she turned, and I saw that she was holding a cell phone! I remember my roommate and I leaving funny voicemail messages on our phone in our dorm. I also remember what it felt like to have a mad crush on someone and stay home and wait for him to call (lame, I know). These experiences are lost somehow, and yet, I love my iPhone! Can't deny that.

Emily said...

hahaha, "oh, there's a crazy person." yeah, so many trade-offs with technology.