Sunday, May 20, 2007

laptop freedom (?)

Do you remember life sans Smart Phones and Bluetooth? Before broadband and wireless connection and Sidekicks, Blackberries, and laptops? I hardly do. Carry-along technology is so common place today that we take it for granted. But I was clearing up a bunch of old files and came across the blurb below—the first thing I wrote when I was setting up my first-ever laptop.

Reading what I wrote 'back then', in the pre-common place days, I remember how excited I was by my perceived new found freedom—the ‘freedom’ I sometimes curse now as a ball and chain.

    "So ... this is the first time I have used my new laptop and already it has changed my life. You may think that’s a rather extreme statement—that I’m prone to hyperbole.
    Well, okay, I admit that on occasions I have used the term millions when several would have been closer to the truth. Or that I’ve claimed to have gained a ton when I really meant 7lbs. And that I’ve even said the party was a blast when I actually found it a superficial bore and couldn’t wait to get home.
    But I am not spinning a top when I tell you that this machine, notebook, laptop—whatever you want to call it—has changed my life in an instant!
    You don’t believe me? Well let me tell you that I finished a 50-page report last night, sat in bed puffed up by pillows, with my sleek black notebook perched on top of a silk peach cushion. First thing this morning I walked to the coffee shop—laptop in hand—for a pot of hot ginger peach tea and a cranberry nut muffin where I finished editing a proposal. Then me and Conan (yes I’ve named him/it/her) drove here, to the park, to feed the ducks.
    And as I write this, I’m sitting at the picnic table closest to the edge of the lake, where I’ve just finished proofing the article I have to deliver tomorrow. I am no longer chained to the one table where my desktop sits … I am free … in the park, breathing fresh air, feeding the ducks, and writing away ... "


Cazzie!!! said...

Yep, and I am watching my fdaughter dance to her Fairyland music as I type this to you...and I will soon be dancing with her too :)
Love my laptop too.

Becca said...

I would never have believed how dependent I have become on my portable technology! But at the same time, it is a blessing and a curse to be able to "work" anywhere. I find it harder to have a true vacation, because it's so easy to take work along, just so I don't get behind.

Still, it's all worth it, when I can work poolside in Florida during the winter, rather than being stuck in the midwestern snow!

Deirdre said...

I had a laptop several years ago, for just a short time (belonged to the boyfriend at the time), and loved the freedom it gave me. I'd sit in my car during work breaks and write fiction. I'm hatching a plan to get another before too long - my front porch is an ideal writing place.

There are so many gadgets I wouldn't know how to live without anymore. Microwave oven, cordless phone, cell phone, DVD goes on and on. Life isn't so simple anymore.

kj said...

bibi, i completely agree. i love my laptop. i remember reading something by richard bach when he first starting writing on a computer. i didn't at the time and i was fascinated that he said it had changed his life. now in understand. i don't always back things up (technically deficient, i am) so that creates some risk for me, but i so thankful to be able to write and create and communicate with you whereever i am.

:) !

Anonymous said...

My screenwriting partner still uses a typewriter! I, on the other hand, could not do without my Notebook. Although I do agree, it makes it more difficult to 'escape'. Trick is, to leave it at home - along w. Smart Phone!

Pamela said...

I haven't even graduated to a laptop. ...much less all those fancy gadgets

EGADS... I've turned into my mother.

Ant said...

Well, I'm much more concerned that you called the thing "Conan" (imagery of Big Arnie and sweaty pecs is all over the place now...)

Laptops are fantastic - speed of typing vs. pen-writing, and the "always on" connection to the biggest library in the world are the two things that I love about the age we're in - and laptops give you the added mobile freedom to that...

Plus my job would pretty much not exist if it weren't for all these funky gadgets too...

Kiyotoe said...

Ahhh...those were the days right. Like they say in the drug trade (from what i hear in the movies of course)... "the first hit is free".

In other words, first you get hooked, and then you start to pay.

I once had relationship like that with my cell phone, her name is "Domino". And now i can't get her to leave me alone. :(

Ian Lidster said...

I feel fortunate because I am not one of those in my generation who is intimidated by technology. I guess, in my (our) business it becomes a matter of course. Though, when I got my first laptop a few years ago, I hated the tightness of the keyboard after the desktop.

Ces Adorio said...

Bibi, another mind stimulating post and I am just agog to reply.

Well, I can see that life would be difficult to do these things without peach (silk peach cushion and hot ginger peach tea :-).

I cannot wait for the day when I am rid of lap tops and cell phones. I can’t wait to retire. In this day and age of instant messaging, people connect with each other more frequently, yet these interactions are shallow and superficial. “How u doin’?” or “u doin?” a text message comes in. Well, my reply would be, “I was fine until I received this grammatically incorrect greeting, now I am irritable, please stop sending me text messages unless you are eighteen or younger, if you are then you got the wrong number.”

I think it is wonderful that we have these amenities and information is readily available. Yet, these advances could also be abused. A lie or untruth could travel thirteen hours faster before the truth could even be summoned and these technologies help perpetuate lies and untruth. The Internet is also misconstrued by so many as “authoritative” just because it is “published.” Consider those juvenile and corny chain emails. Professional and intelligent adults forward them. If they were actual chain letters that needed to be mailed, they would have not seen a spit-licked stamp, now they get forwarded to mailing groups. Email is rude. The fact that it is electronic gives a false entitlement to the sender that the recipient, is not doing anything else but sit in front of the computer waiting to reply to read and reply the email. If the sender does not receive a reply within his perceived time schedule, he picks up the phone and ask: “Did you receive my email?”, “Are you mad at me?”, “How come you did not answer my email?”

Also, this new technology has created a new class of criminals and felons: Internet scammers, identity thieves, spammers and hackers, purveyors of pornography, and never mind the cell phone being an affront to civility. Computers and cell phones are just like the microwave and refrigerator, they make life very convenient, but more than half of the people in the world do not have them. Sorry I used up so much of your comment space. Did I tell you that I love this technology and yet get irritated by it? :-0

Keshi said...

laptops make life seems longer :)


Anonymous said...

An old chum Pen said...

"My laptop warms my
- Pen

In a kind of Dorothy Parker kind of way.

kj said...

whoa! pardon my intrusion (bibi, forgive me!) but ces, i see email pretty much like the phone. you get a message, you should respond within a day or so, generally.

i don't get mounds of junk emails, so mine tend to be from people i don't mind hearing from. esp at work, email is one means among several to communicate and plan.

as for my laptop, purrrrrrr.

(thank you bibi. i coulnd't help it..)


Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

It is nice that you can work in this manner. I might enjoy my job more if I weren't chained to the desk.

Bibi said...

Wow ... I'm behind. Thought Id already responded to some of these.

Cazzie, hoep the dancing went well!

Becca, I so relate to the 'harder to get away' comment ... but poolside does compenate a little, huh? ;-)

Deidre, yes, some of those time saving gadgets just allow us to do twice as much. But I'm not sure I'd like to do without them full time either.

KJ, and it's nice to communicate right back to you (from in the garden, under the wisteria) ;-)

Mikeym, I know people who still use typerwriters too ... I hated them even before computers came on the scene so I'm darned sure I'm not going back to one, LOL.

Bibi said...

Pamela ... I'm told it happens to all of us at some point (yikes). My best friend just turned into his father, so it's not gender specific ... if that's any comfort. ;-)

Ant, I love those options and wouldn't want to put you out of work! But I still love libraries that have hard copies too ... I could get lost for hours in a good library.

Kiyotoe, love it ... the first "hit" -- or I should say, I love how you described it! Um, cell phones come with a remarkable gadget called an Off button ... just in case you're interested. LOL.

Ian, yes, I know that feeling ... I work off four different keyboards and it often takes a few minutes to adjusttttt ... seeee what I mean?

Bibi said...

Ces, LOL, great comments. I too love and get irritated by it all. And I'm old fashioned enough that I MUCH prefer eye to eye contact than constant and often pointless texting. But I seem to be in the minority on that. I wonder if the art of conversation and even writing as we know it today, will also disappear in time.

Keshi, well, I'm all for longer life ... as long as the quality is great!!

Bibi said...

NotPercy ... Pen's missed you old chum! Excellent DP take ;-)

KJ, no worries. You purrrrrr away girrrrrl.

Ultra toast, I agree ... there's no earthly reason why human beings should be shackled in cubicles (or pen-size offices with no windows). They're just the contemporary version of the old fashioned typing pool and are not conducive to creativity.

*If I made a million typos in my responses it's because I'm at the beach and am distracted trying to keep my dog from jumping on the laptop. TTFN. :-0

Keshi said...

hehe thats what I meant :) Cos laptops gets the work done faster, we have alot more time for other things.


Frank Baron said...

I guess I'm the token dinosaur. I don't have a laptop and if I found a bluetooth I'd hightail it to the dentist.

I hate, no, let me be more precise - I despise my cell phone. I don't carry it with me and I don't know the number. I use it only when my main line goes down - about once a year.

My battles with my computer are the stuff of legend (and many columns).

But if you're happy, I'm delighted for you. :)

Romeo Morningwood said...

Like Ces I have a love hate thang goin' on with tech-NO-logy.

Before the transatlantic cable was laid it took two weeks, as in the case of Lincoln's assisination, for news to get from Washington to London.
Tragically now I can watch horror stories like 9/11 or school massacres unfold before my very unblinking eyes.

I have a hard time watching my beloved English language devolve into most of us it drives me absolutely CRAZY to see how everything is lazily contracted into mutant vernacular glyphs! WTH!

However, being able to blog or talk to people around the world is, in my humble estimation, beyond wonderful and closer to magic.

Not long ago I was a bona fide luddite and damn foolishly proud of I could kick myself for waiting so long to get hooked up and connected.

There is no way to stuff this Jin back into the bottle so we just have to make the most of it.

Bibi said...

Keshi, true!!

Frank, I know a few other dinosaurs :-) ... and I too hate cell phones, although I always carry it in case of emergency (but it's turned off!)

Homo Escapeons, the love-hate thing seems pretty common. I'm with you on our disappearing literary standards. I get quite discouraged at times because it's pervasive and every time the dictionary is reorganized, it comes with new slang and shortcuts, and misspelled words now adopted as 'correct' because they're commonly written inaccurately. But maybe I shouldn't get started on that one ... although if ever I find 'irregardless' or 'accrost' in the dictionary, I'll become a hermit.

dinahmow said...

I can take my quill and some ink to the park and sit 'neath a tree and write verse until dark.

But I still think I'd like a laptop!

Bibi said...

Dinahmow, there you go ... that works too. ;-)