Thy Geek Shall Inherit Thy Earth

by Lori Dwyer on October 23, 2012 · 4 comments

I don’t watch TV.

My children are slightly addicted to it- I don’t care to admit just how much of a coping mechanism it really is for my little boy– but it’s been a couple of year ssince I’ve steadfastly watched a TV show. I don’t have it on for backgorund noice- I prefer music or, mostly, silence. I get my news and the majority of my digital entertainment from the ‘Net. And I’m entirely not alone.

 TV– as we knew it– is flailing and running hard, occasionally stepping on the heels of the Internet but not quite keeping up. How can a medium that established most of its own rules forty years ago possibly compete with what we’ve got here online- a worldwide network of opinion and information that moves and evolves as quickly as it does, whose rules are essentially user–made and Google–enforced?

My TV is now more just another portal for my Internet than the ‘member of the family’ people once, almost terrifyingly, referred to it as. If any device in the TinyTrainHouse is a member of the family… it would be the wifi box.

That doesn’t feel like something I should be proud of admitting, and believe me- I’m not. But it seems to be true, none the less. The humble black plastic box with its flashing lights– mostly green, but occasionally blinking a frustrating red, the landline in TinyTrainTown being as unreliable as the mobile reception– connects to my iPhone and iPad, laptop and printer. It also connects to our TV, the Apple TV box that plugs into into, and the PS3 Sony gave us to play with a few weeks ago (much to the Chop’s delight). The PS3 is much like that really huge TV in that it’s a device designed to be paired with a wifi connection. It’s another server for the worshippable ABC iView and Yahoo7 catch-up TV, and I can Tweet, FB and YouTube from it. The huge bonus is the 500 gb that comes installed, so you can save games straight onto it. The drawback is that now I’ve got another online account for potentially buying and storing data like movies, music and games. With iTunes, LG, XBox Live and Sony PS, it’s bound to get confusing somewhere.

A recent addition to the wifi’s own little family (my electronic second cousin’s, maybe…?) was the Logitech UE Air Speaker . It blows my mind slightly– it connects to the omnipresent wifi network, then plays music directly from the iThings or the laptop or anything else hooked into the wifi network, without needing to dock anything or attach anything. Logitech gave me one on loan, and I actually haven’t even touched it since I set it up– everything from volume to song selection, to bass and treble, is controlled through the device you’re streaming from. And it plays real music– the type of definition in sound where you can hear someone sneeze in the background of Ben Lee’s Catch My Disease, and I have to turn down the bass lest the thump in the walls wake my sleeping son (who’s almost as impressed with the Air Speaker as he is with the PS3).

I upgraded from a PC, complete with hard drive tower, to my (now quite broken) laptop about eighteen months ago now and, in all honesty, it’s difficult to imagine having my work stored on something so static, so difficult to move around. I’m almost starting to look at my chucky, cumbersome laptop the same way- my iPad is so lightweight that my habit of carrying it everywhere has become commonplace.

Techno-Chop, the iChild.

And why not, when everything’s so connected and portable, and iThings can do almost everything, including unlocking doors and… well… iPleasuring you.

My house is so ultra–connected within its own little network, sometimes it scares me. If I close my eyes I can imagine tendrils of thin, glowing blue light twisting and zagging across my house, a ball of them tangled like string in my living room where most of those inter–connections take place. I’ve become a digital consumer– I buy movies, games and music that never actually psychically exist rather than wasting money on shiny discs that, as a friend recently pointed out, are really just expensive drink coasters.

In some ways, I love being so connected, so social. I love having music that seems to stream from nowhere, from having technology at my fingertips and working to its most efficient. At the same time, it rankles me, sends pulsing ladders of electronic annoyance up and down my spine. Running an ionizer in the main area of the house– the Bermuda Triangle of my living area, where microwave, wifi, cordless phone and digital TV all fight to hook into wavelength– helps only slightly. It’s only really being outside, in the sunshine and fresh air, letting the wind blow the static away, that provides any relief from the sizzling overload that feels as much about the psychical properties of all those signals bouncing around the room, in and off aluminum walls, as it does about the potential for social burn-out that comes wit being always accessible, always email able or Tweetable or– heaven forbid– actually contactable on the old–fashioned landline telephone.

It feels as though we’re at some balancing point, some tipping point in society where a wifi connection goes from being something of use to something of necessity; approaching a new status quo where living in a household even more connected than my little shack currently is will be the norm.

In light of the Aus Digital Future conference that I attended not long ago, I’m wondering how many years it will be, from this point in, that we decide a personal designated ‘switch off’ happy hour is a really, really good idea. Maybe not even just to distance ourselves from that constant social connection. Maybe for the health of our insides, too. Surely there’s only so long all that static charge can build up in a person for, before it needs to find a release.

*Nope, not a sponsored post- just telling you about some cool stuff I got to play with recently.

post signature

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

what can I say it costs about $60 for a 1tb external drive go buy one, back up your pics to it and relax!!


Kylie Purtell October 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

I love how easy it is to connect everything these days, but at the same time it is a little bit scary. Nearly all of my entertainment comes from the internet so if my wifi isn't working it's like the sky is falling. But I'm sure it can't be good for our health, as you say, all of this magic wifi running past our bodies.

I do admit to watching a bit of TV though, but only because we have IQ and it means I can set and forget lots of shows to record and on those rare days when I don't feel like internetting I sit down and watch while the munchkin sleeps.

What scares me most is the fact that my 11 month old is currently obsessed with mobile phones, she loves to handle them and look at them from all directions, and she also loves to play with my ipad, swiping the icons back and forwards, back and forwards, and sooks when I try to take it off her. I'm pretty sure she will own one herself before she's 3!

Reply October 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

I didn't own my own computer til I was 20, now – ten years later I spend the majority of my time on them and people think of me as some kind of 'computer person' (fools! I'm still convinced my laptop is just some kind of box full of magic that connects me to the internet.) I'm looking to move soon and my main concern, the one thing I'm really in a tizz about (only because I haven't started house-hunting yet!) is how long it will take/how difficult it's going to be to get my internet connected.

I don't even read real books any more – I got a kindle for my birthday and since then I ahve not read a single paper book, yet before kindle – I would have called you mad for even thinking that such an outcome could be so.

I feel sometimes like I should take a break from it, but it rarely seems to happen…


Spagsy October 23, 2012 at 8:45 am

I'm not proud to admit it but we didn't have heating when we first moved in to our house but had our Internet hooked up within 12 hours.

I have anxiety around all my digital music to be honest. At least the CDs are tangible and can be played anywhere a cd player exists. My music only exists on my iThings and while I love the appleTV if my hard drive takes a dump or catches a virus that infects my back up the past nine years of music will be done too. With a CD I know how many I have too. Over the years I have lost music.

I'm also very worried about my photographs. I have thousands of photographs that I haven't printed. They only exist on my hard drive… Seriously videos and pics of my kids that are priceless to me. I used to scrapbook. I haven't scraped in six years. I have started going through and have a folder on my desktop to "upload" and print off but it hasn't happened yet. (maybe this is the procrastination anxiety??) I've put it off a long time.


Previous post:

Next post: