End of an era…

There comes a time when the old passes away, often to the premature glee of the young, and the next era begins. The writing was on the wall with Apple’s iPhoneification in Lion, and, as usual, Microsoft copies it with the SmartPhonification of Window’s 8. (Gawd, I wish Microsoft could think for itself!)

We old timers, (I’ve been around the Apple computer since 1978) knew this day would come, and here it is… computers are now “appliances” – more like toasters than tools for most of the population.

Most folks just want to surf the web; watch video; chat and maybe put a cute balloon of text on some of their photos. Billions of snapshots are shared with friends daily. Junk mail crams inboxes. Thieves lurk; con-artists abound. Rumor and lies mix with “personalized facts”; the sane and intelligent bemoan the silly bleatings of the herds of sheep.

Some few folk really are artists; most are pretenders to the title – The Thomas Kinkade’s of the world, selling “genuine faux pearls” to the masses.  Some folks really are rich, but the email you got promising you $15,000,000 if you will just send along your bank account and social security number, isn’t gonna work out for you.

Today, most never use the computer as a tool, but more like a fancy television. And the less control they have; the more like an appliance it becomes, the more the huge companies can control what the appliance does; what it serves up; how you get it; and most importantly, how much you pay, pay, and continue to pay for the convenience of not thinking too hard.

The tool that once empowered us, now enslaves the new generation. They accept it, dismissing comments such as this one, with “old fuddy-duddy” and “who cares?”

That may, of course, be entirely true. I remember some of that in me, with my parents. And like them, I’ll be dead soon enough anyway, so really: who cares?

I do. It’s a lament for love lost. For a while there, in the middle of the 20th century, we were climbing higher; getting smarter; showing more compassion; being more aware.

I guess the air got too thin. Something changed, and despite (or because of) the continuing forward drive of technology, the social slide has turned downhill.

I lament the loss of fine music; the failure to read the masters; the lack of appreciation art, and the soaring of the soul these provide.

And, old fuddy-duddy that I am, I resent the homogenizing of my past; the blandness of the future. I resent the loss of my tools as the operating systems of my desktop are dumbed down to the simplicities of my cell phone.

Life goes on. I’m just sorry that I see the future so clearly now, and that there’s no way to explain your losses to you. After all, I’m just some old fuddy-duddy.