aNewDomain — I have a new printer. Got it last year, on sale, while I was modernizing some of my technology. It was a good deal, worked well – as long as it worked.
Today, it took me 90 minutes to print 3 documents. I had to replace an ink cartridge. The actual taking off of one bit and replacement with another, not that bad. I mean, $40 bad – home printing is a scam to gouge you on expendable resources, just like gas engines profit auto dealerships – but then the printer became a massive paperweight.
My computer and my printer are the same brand. There should be no communication problems here. But the printer refused to tell the computer it was online. I could copy, but not print.
People love Volkswagens, the old ones, because you don’t need a degree in electrical engineering to figure out you’ve blown a fuse or need a new spark plug. The mechanical problems have mechanical solutions that are pretty easy to come by.
Are we really better off with new vehicles that require technicians to work on?
I remember my old daisy-wheel printer from the 1980s. It wasn’t perfect, but when something went wrong, fixing it was a snap. Mechanical problems, no problem. It just took a little troubleshooting, and I could bring it back in minutes.
Not this new printer. This thing just sat there and wouldn’t tell me what the problem was. I turned it off and back on six times, rebooted the computer, glared at the printer menacingly, left a nasty review on Amazon.
After the sixth try, the printer finally said it couldn’t find a wireless network (I don’t even have the option of plugging it in, which is what I want to do; the convenience of wireless is irrelevant if it never works). I unplugged the effing thing, plugged it back in, and now – 90 minutes later – I have the class roster documents I needed to teach class today.
But look: In those 90 minutes, I could have taken three sheets of paper, a technical pencil and a ruler, and just drawn the damned things myself. I could have fit the columns all on one page and still have names large enough to read.
Makes you wonder. Is technology really such an improvement?
So my annoying morning, who cares really, right?
But these problems are endemic to life in America, and they’re ruining society.
Is it really better to steal your music from the Internet, better to listen to it on personal devices?
The sound quality on your MP3 player is ridiculously low compared to a vinyl record. Listen to your favorite album on a turntable sometime. The difference is stunning. Also, thanks to the Mp3, the experience of all grooving to the same jam, lost forever.
Meanwhile, music artists make 0 dollars from music sales – if they want to make living anymore, they need to tour.
And then there’s books. Is it really better to download free e-books? Because you people made E. L. James a household name. Meanwhile, only the most commercialized fiction has any shot at a real publishing contract, and every hoser in America struggles to become a famous author.
You might as well buy powerball tickets.
Even porn is out in the cold. Who pays for erotica anymore when there are a thousand aggregators offering free, full-length movies to fulfill any niche or kink? Porn used to be the last-ditch place for solvency. When the bottom dropped out of your profession, you could get a camera and live-stream your private life. Now, who cares? Porn actors get used up and cast aside for someone younger and hotter.
We’ve all become porn actors, desperate to get by, working our low-wage service jobs but dreaming of a middle-class existence that doesn’t exist anymore. Technology really hasn’t made life that much better, come to think of it.
I don’t know. Maybe the Luddites were right.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias.
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