In the past six years or so, I’ve migrated through four devices: Sony PRS-600, Nook Color, Nook HD and now an iPad mini with Retina display (my late entrance into the ecosystem of Apple products is a whole other story). On the iPad I have the Nook, Kindle, Kobo (for my Sony library), Scribd and, of course, iBooks aps.
Although I’m a something of a technology slut, I still do love the fruits of Johannes Gutenberg. Nothing can replace the experience of holding a real book in your hands, flipping its pages, reading a handwritten note in the margin, finding an airline boarding pass stub (which I habitually used for bookmarkers) from a long forgotten journey, or browsing the spines of a bookshop’s wares, like a calming walk through the woods — which, I guess, is an apt simile, since books are made of tree pulp.
But the sad truth of the matter is that technology has a way of forcing us forward. Jihadist audiophiles love their vinyl, but it’s hard to listen to a Clapton 33 1/3 LP record album blasting at excessive sound pressure levels in the car while speeding down the highway weaving through traffic with the windows rolled down. So too with books.
I have to confess that from the very start, e-Readers have allowed me to read more and more often than I had fallen into the habit of doing. All too often my wish list books remained on the shelves at home, waiting in vain to be read. Technology allows me to carry my entire library with me in a back-breaking 12 ounce package and, like in my college days, I’m usually hip deep in three or four books simultaneously. Right now, I’m reading The Lonesome Dove Series, Driftless, Warren G. Harding, a how-to book on e-publisher marketing and the manuscript of a novel I’m working on —
Seriously, I’d have to do a weight-and-balance calculation before I took off in a Cessna Skyhawk with that much tome tonnage in my briefcase.
Like Dirk Rangley. a character from my novel, In the Black: 1965 – 1969, asks: “After all, which would you rather do, pal, screw Bridget Bardot’s brains out or read reviews of her movies?”
Books are great, but reading is the real joy.
Originally posted on my goodreads.com blog here.
“It is becoming easier to believe in evil spirits than to endure the capricious reliability of modern technology.”
Today marks a special anniversary — but more about that later.
Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opium of the masses.”
I say, Technology is the peyote of Americans.
I must confess that I am nearly always astounded at every new techno-marvel I invite into my life, though not without some healthy up front skepticism. “Really, how good could it be?” is usually followed by “how did I live without [insert gadget here]!” MP3 player, DSL, GPS, XM Radio, HDTV, DAW, smart phone, DVR, Bose L1, Sony eReader, Blu-Ray, flux capacitor — whatever — it is usually an astounding leap forward. We truly live in an amazing, Technicolor, high-definition, 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound dream world.
But hallucinogens are not without their downsides. Technology, too. First off, it has to work.
I know, I know . . . . how demanding and picky of me. But when good technology goes bad, it is a nightmare, a bad trip.
The special anniversary? Today marks two nearly continuous years of having one or the other of my Line 6 Variax guitars (http://bit.ly/coSqOs) in the service center vainly trying only to get them to do what they were designed to do . . . . Two years . . . . It is to the point where the service tech has been telling me that if he gets them working properly that I should get rid of the guitars, pronto, and just dump these problems on someone else.
But I don’t want to. All I want is the guitar that Line 6 advertises. It would be easy to blame the technology, but it is an amazing design . . . . when it works.
Why doesn’t it work? Don’t know. Who are the A&P gypsies and why are they chasing me to the edge of the cliff by the waterfall, over which I fall into the water and start to drown until I wake up in a cold sweat? Don’t know.
I tried to contact Line 6 using my AT&T Tilt smart phone, but the call kept dropping after I pressed 3 . . .
Marx also said:
“The abolition of religion [technology?] as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”
I say, All I want are the peyote dreams I am promised.