Confessions of a Self-Diagnosed Technophobe

15 Oct

Under less stressful circumstances and better timing, this would have been one of my shining moments of glory in which I get the chance to say “I told you so.”  Technology is dangerous. Not necessarily in the same sense as the X-Files episode in which household appliances brainwash humans into killing one another, but in the sense that it is unpredictably unreliable at the seemingly most inconvenient of times.  For me, this moment of “perfect” timing happened to be just about a week ago when my two-year-old laptop decided to stop working without any warning, thus leaving me with an empty black screen where a semester’s worth of note-taking and report-writing should have been. Did I mention that this occurred right before a week that I had three midterms and a presentation? Brilliant.

Tear-Worthy Tragedies

My personal cynicism with technology is a direct result of a lifelong collection of accumulated technological letdowns.  Cartons of ice cream meeting untimely deaths as a result of a failed refrigerator, stalling computers that ruin the chance at a unrepeatable, personal high-score on Robot Unicorn Attack, and alarm clocks that fail to go off in time for Saturday morning cartoons are just some of the tragedies that have ultimately made me the bitter, self-diagnosed technophobe that I am today.

Obsessive-Compulsive Quirks

I am the type of person who not only feels the need to bring an extra calculator to an exam, but also eight extra batteries. I am the type of person who feels the need to take the extra precautions of setting my cell phone to silent, turning off my phone, and taking out the battery in order to ensure that my phone does not spontaneously go off during critically silent situations. I am the type of person who feels the need to spam people’s inboxes with multiple copies of the same email in order to ensure it arrives.

Technology in the Workplace

The potential of failure is the aspect of technology that scares me the most. What’s even more terrifying is our continual, increasing dependency on technology for purposes and situations of even higher priority than a high score on Robot Unicorn Attack. Technology has revolutionized the way that businesses communicate and operate. Emails have become a principal means of communication because of its near-instantaneous speeds and its ability to overcome distance. Reports of high importance are exchanged electronically in the same manner as one would send a birthday e-card. Significant documents are no longer hidden away in large fireproof filing cabinets, but rather computers safeguarded by a login password. It is a daunting thought that a future computer crash could mean the loss of work-related business materials such as reports and research rather than simply a photo library of meticulously collected images of pretty shoes.

Lessons Learned

Despite recently watching my laptop crumble to a state of absolute uselessness, I can safely say that I have learned some valuable lessons that will hopefully better prepare me for future potential technological tragedies.  Such lessons?

  • Being even more “Ctrl + S happy” than I already am in the case that I am oblivious to the warning about my battery winding down to one percent.
  • Printing out physical, paper copies of important documents. The birds in the South American rain forests probably won’t be happy about the trees being cut down to supply the extra paper, but at least the most important items will be available in the case of a computer system crash.
  • Most importantly, recognizing my USB flash drive as my best friend. In case of a computer system crash, having files saved to a USB drive can help to avoid a panicked emotional breakdown that involves verbally threatening to throw said computer out a window.

These lessons were seemingly common-sense precautions that I often took for granted until my computer crashed a week ago. I may have had to learn the hard way the significance in having a back-up plan, but I am grateful that this experience happened to me sooner rather than later. After all, I’d much rather prefer to lose my music library and embarrassing childhood photos now rather than anything of potentially greater importance in the future.

by Diana Do

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One Response to “Confessions of a Self-Diagnosed Technophobe”

  1. Sarah McDonald October 18, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Great points, Diana. I understand your fear and frustration because I had a similar experience when my laptop died during the week before Thanksgiving Break in 2009. I commend your plan to save your files on a flash drive and print out important documents; however, in my experience this process is inconvenient and time consuming.

    Here are a few ways you can quickly save your files without making the birds in the South American rain forests unhappy or breaking the bank:

    – Purchase a back-up hard drive: You can purchase a relatively inexpensive back-up hard drive at any local office supply store. A new back-up hard drive will automatically save a copy of all of the files on your laptop each time you plug it into your computer.

    – Create a free e-mail account: You can create a free e-mail account on Yahoo, Gmail, or AOL and send yourself e-mails with important files attached. Yahoo provides unlimited free storage. Gmail and AOL offer 7 GB and 5 GB of free storage, respectively.

    – Check out free cloud storage options: You can securely store your files in the cloud with DropBox, Memopal, and SugarSync. These sites offer free storage for individual users. Check out this TechSplurge blog to find out more: http://techsplurge.com/910/top-5-free-cloud-storage-options/

    In conclusion, do not despair or lose faith in technology. We all have the same love-hate relationship with laptops, e-mail, and the internet. (I am personally leaning toward hate at the moment because my computer lost internet right before I tried to post this reply the first time, erasing my entire message.) Technology failures are frustrating but people are coming up with new ways to mitigate the inherent risks everyday.

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