Friday, October 21, 2011

iTried iCloud, iCried

First, the software upgrade ate my homework. Then, the corrective download wanted to take over the computer and run things its way. Meanwhile, this blogging service, operated by yet a third decided to reformat everything, without asking.

At times like these, the simple things are instructive. Like walking the dog.

From a distance, one cannot tell who is walking whom. The leash is attached at each end in an inconclusive way to her neck, my wrist. She reveals no hint that I might actually be in charge. A walk is an opportunity to explore old territory, sniff-out the history of this particular lower sycamore trunk, for example. Devices? Her water bowl back at the house.

Yesterday in Soho. Three guys get up to leave the table after lunch and immediately grab their phones, which have lain on the table.  They walked out in a line, Abbey Road-style, sniffing at their screens. Looking for what exactly? A message from the boss, a spouse, a partner? An offer, opportunity or prognosis?

It has come to this: we are terrified to leave home or office for a couple of hours without our phones, without our network. Not only that, but, instead of talking to someone else on the phone, we are now talking to our phone. And, whatever we click on one device goes through the Cloud into the other devices.

Why? Because.

Do we have our device on a leash, or does it have us? Who is walking whom? 

There must have been a point, early last century, as fewer and fewer horses and buggies appeared in town, and cars began to have their way, that people must have thought it would all pass. In the early Fifties, as TV emerged, and our grandparents clung to their favorite radio shows, they must have thought the same: it will fade.

But, we seem, not exactly resigned to our fate, but actually to be enthused by the whole thing, as if we are terrified of being seen as "old-fashioned," as if there is no chance that we might be leaving something behind that is truly irreplaceable.

What is that?

Better google it.

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