More than thirty years ago, I learned about a series of “on” and “off” switches that functioned on a binary number system which was supposed to be the wave of the future. These series of numbers, ranging from 0 to 1, were going to revolutionize the manner in which we would learn. I remember having to learn how this intricate numbering system would be able to do things that were only imagined at that time. I laughed thinking that a binary number system could be more effective that the base 10 system which was so widely accepted at the time; besides, what a person could do with 2 numbers could be done 100 times more efficiently with ten. I assumed that these tiny switches that would turn things on and off to make learning easier was a scientific fad much like long division. This ridiculous system would never last!
How little did I realize that this binary number system would, thirty years later, bring me to tears.
Being born in the late 1950’s, my computer usage was very limited. It wasn’t until I had children in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that I thought that learning how to use a computer would be “fun.” Off my husband and I went to the most techno-geek electronic store to purchase the biggest and baddest computer we could find with the idea that our children could use it when they entered high school in about 10 years or so. In the meantime, my husband and I could be well versed in the computer world and give our children a distinct advantage.
Needless to say, the computer was in the electronic graveyard in a couple of years along with WordPerfect and all those other wonderful programs that would “last forever.” The state of the art computer that we had purchased merely a couple of years before was already obsolete. Words like “upgrades, and external hard drives” were to come years in the future, and when that future did arrive, the average Joe could only dream of doing those amazing upgrades himself. More than likely, when the computer you had purchased a couple of years earlier for thousands of dollars became useless, off you went to one of many electronic stores, which were popping up all over at alarming rates, to finance another computer for thousands of dollars.
In the thirty years since learning about the revolutionary binary number system, I have made every attempt to keep up with the changes that have been occurring in our cyber world. I’m sorry to say that most of the time I have always been a step or two behind the latest updates. Just when I feel marginally competent in the use of a new device or technology, it changes and I become resistant to that change. Maybe it is not that I am resistant to change but I just want things to slow down long enough for me to catch up. I have grown weary of chasing the bi-scene. I have grown weary of watching others pass me by and me being left in their cyber dust.
Recently, I feel that I am no longer in the cyber dust. I have upgraded to cyber mud that has infiltrated each and every one of my synapses and has made the working of my physical binary brain sluggish at best. Technology has succeeded. It has brought me to my knees. No longer can I be a passive learner of technology only educating myself to what is necessary in the moment; I must be an active participant in the future that is technology.