Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Start of a Blog

Starting a blog is awful. You can tell by the fact that I created this blog months ago, gave it a great look, remade my website, and haven't touched it since. Not that this is surprising to anyone that knows me now.

As a younger man I don't think I would have guessed that I would become that guy that never reads his email. I always had an obsession with technology. I always wanted to get the newest computer operating system, the newest version of the latest thing. One would think that Facebook, email, and cell phones would be an extension of this obsession.

However, currently I own an old Motorola Razr and am quite happy with it. I have become the guy that checks his email weekly instead of hourly or even daily. I don't ever check my voice mail and my answering machine still doesn't list Jacob as part of our family. (He turned three last month...) The last time I updated my facebook status was September 5th and then only because BYU beat OU.

I am impossible to get a hold of, unless you happen to run into me, or give me a call when I'm right next to the phone. Part of it is that life has gotten busy, although I know a lot of people with busy lives that seem to still update their facebook status on a hourly basis or can even stay up with the latest tweet. I'm not really sure how they do it.

Don't get me wrong. I still love technology, and if I had unlimited funds I would still own an iPhone. (although I still wouldn't check my voice mail) But in my opinion technology has gotten too social...the first computer which my family owned was a Tandy 2000. It had no hard drive until my parents upgraded it to a whopping 40 MB hard disk some time after purchasing the computer. It had a blazing processor capable of running at 4.5 or 9 Mhz. And most importantly it had no internet. It was just a box that did what you told it to.

You would give it a list of instructions and it would simply perform them. Exactly how you asked it.

For example you would write something like:

10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 END

And it would. It was marvelous. I spent hours programming on the computer and it is where I gained my continued love of engineering and software programming. There is something about the predictability of a computer that I found addicting.

Before you say "But my computer never does what it is supposed to!" Let me explain what I mean. Computers do exactly what people tell them to. Exactly. And if a person, say a software developer, says to do something stupid, it does it. This is exactly how we ended up with Windows ME and AOL. Often a user of these complex machines doesn't know what people have told their computer to do, and that is when it seems unpredictable. But every weird behavior your computer exhibits has a logical explanation, even if it is difficult to figure out.

I find that consistency refreshing. Then came social networking. Now people have become more the experience of a computer. And with people comes unpredictability. For example no matter how many times I say to my kids:

20 CLEAN "Your Room"
30 BRUSH "Your Teeth"
40 PUTON "Your Pajamas"

It doesn't seem to have the same level of predictability. The same is true of interactions with people over voice mail, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Let me be clear that I don't avoid being social in general. I'm just not sure if I want to mix the social with my computer.

So I'm rebelling against social technology specifically and not technology in the grander scheme of things. And this is why I never answer my email. I admit it makes me sound crazy but we are all a little crazy.


  1. the only contradiction is that you said all of this on a blog... a social website.

  2. I know it is ironic. It's okay, I probably won't post another blog for 2 years.

  3. Don't wait another 2 years! I want to hear more about what you and your family are up to. Miss you guys...

  4. Woo Hoo! I have enjoyed seeing all of the new pictures. I can't believe Jacob is 3! I hope you keep the blog updated when you can.