Digital nirvana devices: later pally

An unexpected “aha moment”. Today was day two of installing a zone-based central a/c system here. Power needed to be cut for awhile, so our iPhones and iPads were fully charged. Only the iPhones have cellular connectivity in addition to wifi = online work meant iPhone work.

pen and iphone

I needed to do some online fiddling with an online subscription I have to a journal coming from Cambridge University Press.

[Aside: since I’m an Oxford M.A., I and others of my ilk refer to Cambridge as “The Other Place.” Less charitably, since UK-speak refers to them as “the two ancient universities”, Cambridge becomes “the ancient redbrick” {also UK-speak, redbrick being anything not Oxbridge}]

Up in came on my iPhone 6+. But where was the dropdown for adding a journal subscription? Nowhere. To make the long story short, back and forth on the iPhone, twenty minutes wasted, no joy. Power came back, up came Big Iron (the iMac], and in seconds I got everything done.

So yes, I could get work done, sort of, on the iPhone. But not the kind of work I needed to do today. And it reminded me of a column I’d read in The New York Times by Nick Bilton about the death of the pen. You can see the whole piece here, but here’s what aroused my ire:

“Until recently, financial transactions were among the last holdouts for the pen. But these days I pay my utility bills by opening an app and signing a screen. When I go to my local coffee shop, I sign an iPad with my finger. Theory, Apple and dozens of businesses I interact with have all eliminated pens (and styluses) in lieu of a finger and a screen. And, a couple of months ago when I bought a new home, I signed every document but one (which needed a notary public) using my iPhone. Think about that: I bought an entire house on my smartphone.”

Er, Nick, I’d rather not. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it. How much longer did it take? How many false starts and frustrations? I know I’m at least as comfy with my iPhone as you are. You did it, but at what cost?

That’s the point about tek boosters. A glorious future, death to the old, in with the new. Sometimes new is better. Sometimes new is worse. Should I be impressed you did that whole purchase on the iPhone. I’ve done house purchases the pen and paper way, and I know it’s a damnfool thing you did. For that job, the iPhone is not the best tool. Period.

While digital is an important part of life, is totally impractical to make it  all of life. Tek boosters and millenials, you’ll learn.

I’ve been ages 17-35. You’ve not been 66. So listen up.

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