Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Small Step for …

Yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon.  I used my calculator to subtract 1969 from 2015.  Seems like I should be able to do simple math in my head.

Has technology helped us or hurt us?  Calculators and calculator apps on our smart phones, tech that was unheard of in 1969, is almost a necessity now.  Do you reach for a calculator for even simpler math problems, like determining how many days between today and Tuesday?
There is more computer power in a flip phone from 2010 than there was in the lunar lander in 1969.  I guess you could say boomers invented this time-saving, convenient technology, but did we intend for it to replace our brains?

I just read a newspaper article about maps; more accurately, an article about how teens in the GPS era might never have seen a map and probably wouldn’t know how to use one.  I grew up on maps, love looking at them, folding them, writing on them.  My road trip rituals used to include ordering maps and guidebooks from AAA.  Now I don’t even own a map, but I definitely know how to read one and I prefer larger format maps on a laptop to the tiny ones on my iPhone.
I don’t trust GPS voice directions, however.  I prefer north, south, east and west to left and right and I am silently horrified when travel companions can’t relate to compass directions.  A very smart travel buddy on a recent vacation didn’t realize we were south of our destination at one point; and his GPS routed him through the middle of a city on the way home, adding miles and time that I saved by mapping my own route.  He is much older than the teens mentioned in the newspaper article but he has also become dependent on modern tech.

By the way, when is the last time you read a newspaper on paper.  I read the afore-mentioned Washington Post story on my iPhone.
Am I a tech boomer?  Not so much.  I respect and use technology but my four year old phone is ancient by iPhone standards and I wrote the first draft of this post on paper.  In cursive.

One small step for man, one giant leap for my brain.

2 comments:

Linda V. said...

I gave myself a project a couple years ago, to collect actual paper maps (the old-fashioned folding kind) from all of our "to visit" bucket list. It morphed into getting a map from EVERY state in the union. I succeeded but not by receiving them in the mail. The State of Washington no longer provides maps to travelers, not even at their Visitors Centers. I actually found it at an estate sale. BUT I do have maps from every state, and several from Canadian provinces. Since they are so rare these days, they are kept in a plastic expanding file folder. I don't trust GPS either, it doesn't allow for spontaneous stops.....recalculating. When possible, make a legal U-turn.....

It's a lost art!

elizinashe said...

I dig a map too. and I remember being taught the whole North, South, East West thing...good skills to have. Linda, I'm glad you've collected maps. It's the little things that really are a lost art. Like writing, sending a card, reading a map and so forth. Where will our kids be without those skills? At some point, all this technology will crash for a bit, and where will we be? Just sayin...