Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Digital Dementia

I remember, when I was in grade school (circa: 1964), a friend of the family's (Louie B.) got me a little transistor radio as a gift.
It was a Zenith Royal 40B---hand-held.
Unlike most ordinary transistor radios it had a better sound than the average transistor (well, good for a 3" speaker), plus it had a good built-in tuner as well...most transistor radios, in addition to sounding so distorted even The Beatles sounded garbled, could only pick up strong signals---so you were also limited to only being able to listen to local stations.  But this light blue-colored Zenith of mine could also pick up anything the larger table radio could---out-of-town/out-of-state stations, especially at night.  I was living in Toledo Ohio and could still continue listening to WABC ("77 WABC") out of NYC, WLS and WCFL out of Chicago, WWL out of New Orleans...and, even during the day I could listen to some of the weaker stations out of Detroit (WXYZ, WKNR) and the 50,000-watters out of Cleveland (WKYC) and Cincinnati (WLW) (AM radio really "ruled" back in the '60s).
I remember discovering that when I held the speaker up to my ear I "could hear the bass response" (which, of course, enhanced the songs even more)...and that anytime my parents "caught me" with the radio against my ears they'd go ballistic and lecture me on "the dangers of incurring hearing loss from repeated assaults of loud rock music on one's ears".
In retrospect, of course, this is quite laughable...for one thing, all the incidents of hearing loss were the results of amplified live performances, or rehearsals either for studio sessions or concerts.  One won't "go deaf" from holding up a 3" speaker up to their ears repeatedly.
Frankly I'm sure it was their prejudices speaking and nothing based on fact. I've yet to run across a small transistor radio capable of puttting out the 150db+ that's the staple of most live performances.

But, that said, I have to mention one good aspect of the days of transistorized units and solid-state stereos replacing the ever-cumbersome tube amplifiers
...and that is---how instantaneous they were.  How all one had to do was either press a button, flick a switch, or turn a knob---and the unit would turn right on and perform for you.
I think consumer products should be like that---eager to serve their users.

Apparently that "mind-set" doesn't linger among the consumer products of today.
Flash-forward, and what do you have today?
Dysfunctional digitalism, that's what.

For example, I'll use a search engine on my computer (for the record I always use Google) and type in a subject matter
---and when I spot a site that I think might be interesting I'll click on it...and NOTHING.  The stupid search engine freezes. I click it a coupe more times, and then the page "shakes" and the arrow starts it's "spinning circle" routine.
It's like I "woke the internal workings up" and, finally, the computer is, like: "Oh...were you talking to me?"
"No. Actually I was expecting the cable box or the DVD player to bring up my web sites for me. And if they couldn't, then maybe my alarm clocks might be able to help me out...OF COURSE I WAS TALKING TO YOU---DO YOU SEE ANY OTHER LAPTOP LAYING AROUND IN THIS APARTMENT? ...Dumbass!"
(..."maybe I should ask the refrigerator to mosey on in here and bring the site up since it's such a struggle for you to do so with your lame 'dysfunctional search engine' problem...obviously a 'congenital', a defect you were 'born' with")

And then there are also computer-controlled gadgets as well
...take the cable box.  You go to change the channel, right?  You want to watch channel 38...so you press "3" and "8" on the remote control and what happens?
...the dumb cable box switches to channel 3 first---then a few seconds later switches to channel 8.

I think digital technology is so overrated
...and I don't think it's all that efficient either...computers are always "freezing up" and "locking up"---especially when trying to view overcluttered web sites and web pages (too many photographs, ads, videos, animated pictures)
...and every time you shut the units off and later turn them back on to resume doing whatever you got interrupted from, they always have to "reprocess" everything---like they can't simply "remember where they left off"
...and this "delayed reaction" stuff
Digital devices often behave like that person who, when you try to explain something to them, just "doesn't get it"
---or they finally DO figure it out...long after the fact.
...and digital devices are always showing signs of cyber-Alzheimer's---either forgetting a web page you were just on a moment ago...or recollecting the most irrelevant elements---"Didn't I delete that? What the hell is THAT still doing on my files?"

Maybe this is part of the problem with, you know, the banks...the government...hospital records
...their computer systems are the real culprits...

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