Resistant to Change

When I was younger and more adaptable, technology just didn’t seem to advance at the rate it does now.  I started out with vinyl records:  albums and 45s.  Eight track tapes came along briefly, and I was the proud owner of a stereo with a turntable on one end and an 8 track player on the other.  Cassette tapes had longer staying power, and I especially loved my (large) tape player/recorder with silver buttons on the end that pushed down to record, play, rewind and fast forward.  And we can’t forget my transistor radio!

These old standbys were there for my entire childhood up until I was a young adult.  In high school, the Walkman became popular but that wasn’t a big change…just a smaller receptacle.  I could handle that.

My brother and me with our grandma - back in simpler (groovier) days.

My brother and me with our grandma – back in simpler (groovier) days.

Then CDs came along.  It was 1985, I was married (first time) and in my first apartment when I decided it was worth the money to buy a CD player.  I wasn’t sure they would last, you see.  I had already experienced the war between Betamax and VHS and knew that some technologies just didn’t stick around for long.  (I also waited until I was married to buy my first VHS player…with my first-ever remote control, which was connected to the front of the player with a wire.  I believe it cost around $500!)  I was still young and adaptable, and welcomed these new-fangled gadgets, finding their interfaces to be intuitive and easy to use even without an instruction manual.

And again, things stayed as-is for a long while.  I could handle this, no problem.  Telephones started to change a bit – first there was the rotary phone (oh, it took so long for the dial to rotate back from 9!) and then touch-tone, which was awesome.  Then it got a little confusing…you had phones without cords, and then phones you could take with you in your car (huge…about the size of a brick).  Sometimes the names were interchangeable…wireless phone, car phone, mobile phone, cordless phone.  Eventually the cell phone became popular (and smaller every year, it seemed) but for while I would still hear people call them car phones or mobile phones.  It took me a while to understand the difference between that and a simple cordless phone that you kept in your house.  This was when I started to back away from the whole phone thing…I had hearing aids at the time, and the original cell phones just didn’t work with hearing aids.  You were also lucky to find either a cordless or cell phone with a volume control; without that, I couldn’t hear at all on a phone.

I had a volume-control phone (touch-tone, with a cord) that I used growing up; I also had a square box type of amplifier that used a battery.  It went over the listening part of the phone handset with a strap.  It wasn’t perfect, but I could use it on phones that had no volume control (which was most of the phones out there at the time).  Once cell phones started becoming popular, I just didn’t even take the time to learn about them because I couldn’t hear on them.  It didn’t take long for me to be one of the only people I knew who didn’t have a cell phone, and certainly had no idea how to use one.

When DVDs became popular, that wasn’t a difficult change.  The technology was pretty easy to understand, and you could do so much with a DVD that you couldn’t with a VHS tape.  (And no more rewinding, praise God!)

But advances in music moved so quickly that I quickly fell behind.  We never used Apple products, so when MP3 players became popular, especially the iPod, I was completely baffled.  I didn’t understand how to get the music on the player, and most of them were so tricky to use.  (I still don’t really understand them, to be honest.)  All my music was on DVDs and I didn’t want to take the time to convert them to MP3s and transfer them and blah blah blah…and I didn’t want to pay again for music I already had.  (I already went through that once when we upgraded to CDs from albums, and it was annoying then too!)  I didn’t have an iPod, so I wasn’t even sure where to get music from since the iTunes store seemed to be the only option.  I kind of threw my hands up and stopped trying to understand it all.

Computers…well, I did okay with those.  I wasn’t one of the super-early computer users, but I was geeky enough that I had a computer in ‘91 or so, with DOS as the operating system.  I remember Windows being introduced and just being blown away by it.  I happily upgraded as each new version came along, and I did my own work on my early computer (I can remember paying $200 for 2 MB of RAM…which gave me six whole megabytes, woo hoo!)  I added a modem when they became popular, and learned how to connect to the internet and use newsgroups (there were no browsers back then).  It was fun and I liked the challenge of learning it all.

When browsers came along, I made a homepage at Geocities and started learning HTML.  I wrote our first business website in Notepad, after taking an online HTML class.  I kept up pretty well, learning about CSS and JavaScript…and then things just took off, and left me in the dust again.  It was a huge deal for me when I redid our site last year and converted it to CSS – it’s probably still very basic compared to other sites out there, but I did it myself and I can make my own changes when I need to, so I’m proud of it.  But I feel very ancient now when it comes to understanding how websites work.

I had to have Dave explain Bluetooth to me over and over, and it still confused me.  It took me a long time to understand Android and my (hacked) NookColor tablet and how to get around; what applications were and how to use them.  I learned, but it’s nothing like it was when I was in my 20s and happily teaching all the ‘old ladies’ I worked with at the time how to use an electric typewriter, telex machine, Wang word processor, fax machine (oooh, fancy technology for the times!!) and Xerox copier.  At 48, I’m probably now the same age those ‘old ladies’ were back then.  And it terrifies me to think of re-entering the workplace with young people using all the social media and apps and software and who knows what.  I can’t believe I’ve reached a point where technology befuddles me.

All of this came to mind because the past three days I’ve been switching from Windows XP to Windows 7.  And yes, I know that Windows 7 is now old news…but it’s bright and shiny for me.  As with everything else, I resisted the change.  I knew a lot of the old software I used wouldn’t work on Windows 7 and I didn’t want to have to learn it all over again.  It took me forever to change from Office 97 to Office 2007, for crying out loud!  I’m using Quicken 2002, QuickBooks Pro 2001…I used to use Eudora for my email until just last year (many years after they stopped making it) until I forced myself to switch to Thunderbird.  Even that makes Dave chuckle…he does all web-based email now.  I do use Gmail, but I like being able to organize with folders for all the email lists I’m on.  So I stubbornly keep two email programs going.

Not only did I have to learn a new operating system, but I had to learn a new program for working on the business website.  Yes, I can still make changes using Notepad but with the site being CSS now, it’s easier to use software.  I was using HomeSite, which I loved, and now I’m learning Expression Web.  And it’s okay…slow going, but I’m learning.  It’s just so much harder than it used to be!

I’ll hear Dave and Eric talking about Gingerbread, Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich and chuckle to myself.  It took me a while, but now I know they’re talking about different Android OS’s.  So I’m not throwing in the towel, and I’ll still stubbornly try to keep up with the times.  But man, things used to be so much simpler.  Give me a cassette tape and a Walkman and I’m good to go.

However…you won’t hear me complaining about TiVo.  Now that’s some new technology I welcomed with open arms!


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on March 7, 2013, in Not Related to Hearing Loss, Observations and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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