Douglas Adams had it that mankind was awfully proud of his greatest achievements: war, nuclear weapons, digital watches etc, and felt these were the proof of mankind’s superiority over other animal kind. Dolphins, said the literary giant, felt that these, too, were evidence of the dolphin erudition. They hadn’t bothered.
The fearful angst of those less gadget-ridden than I around me is truly something to behold. They wonder why there’s a peculiar flashing thing on my keyring, and why I had to get a phone with a keyboard. Some of them even question the need for an iPod, or the rationale behind the massive quantity of my free time spent on mucking about with PCs.
They look at me with the same pity normally reserved by newlyweds with their first litter on the way for a friend recently bereft of his testicles, or the look Hugh Hefner probably has for men he meets married to fat chicks.
The need for people to see inferiority symbolized in the material possessions of others is a matter for another blog, but for now, I want to deal with the need for people to get off my case about the amount of tech I have in my life.
They haven’t worked out that technology is neither cool nor fun if you need it. The technology that used to create the little radioactive batteries for pacemakers was cool if one didn’t have to have one fitted. Seatbelts with explosive tensioning units seem like an unnecessary folly until one sees a man on the other side of the M2 from his car. Airbags are fun, unnecessary technology until one goes off in your face, and the little ram turbine that emerges from the belly of the Boeing 777 looks like a gadget until your engines suffer a burn-out at 34,000 and your flight control systems need power.
I’m not suggesting that my over engineered phone is a life saver, but it certainly is a enabling technology with impressive applications. My iPod allows video rushes from DV cameras to be checked for sequence, plays Bic Runga in my head after a hard day’s appeasement of the boss and teaches me how to play solitaire without an undo button.