Drowning in a Sea of Technology

"Technology has exceeded our humanity"
Creeping Technology?

It amazes me sometimes how dependent we have become on technology.

Today I was at a client site, and their network guy was on the phone with Barracuda debugging some issues with their firewall/web filter. I overheard most of the conversation. Barracuda would have him adjust something, and he would respond with whatever result came up. At one point I heard him say, “Well, looks like I lost internet completely. The backup server should have kicked in but it didn’t”, or words to that effect.

Just then, I overheard another employee – who was trying to use the internet – snort and exclaim “Piece of junk!”.

Really? Have our expectations of technology really gotten to the point that a temporary outage makes something a “piece of junk”?

Just a few years ago that same employee would have been digging through boxes of files in some sort of dark, dusty warehouse somewhere instead of sitting at his desk with all of the world’s knowledge at his fingertips. At that time I’m sure he would have longingly dreamed to have the kind of convenience he has now – yet now it has become the norm for him. Anything less is a “piece of junk”.

Visitors are checking the Laptops at 'Infocom ...

It reminds me of a comedian I saw a few years ago on one of the late night talk shows. He related the tale of an airplane flight he had taken. The flight attendant had just made the announcement that the airline had just installed a wi-fi network on the plane, and now the passengers could have internet access during the flight. The guy next to him got really excited, pulled out his laptop, and started working.

A few minutes into the flight the wi-fi network, or perhaps the satellite they were accessing, went down. The guy with the laptop let out a huge sigh and slammed his laptop closed. In response, the comedian looked at the guy and said, “Look buddy – we are sitting in a huge metal tube, floating on air and traveling at hundreds of miles per hour (which I think is miraculous), and you’re pissed because something that you didn’t have last week isn’t working this week?”

Of course, the comedian made it into a joke – which I can’t do here – but the sentiments are exactly the point of this post. How did we become so dependent on technology (or worse yet, a slave to it)?

Power Outage
Power Outage (Photo credit: mrapplegate)

Another example from my own life – a couple weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon (yes, I was working), we had a power failure. Now I can – as a kid – remember when having a power failure was kinda fun. There was an odd kind of excitement when it happened, and it was way less of an inconvenience . Of course, “back then”, far fewer things were dependent on electricity. We easily coped.

In 2012, a power failure is not fun. At all. Our water is pumped using electricity (during the winter even our in-floor heating won’t work – pumps too, ya know?). The garage door won’t open. I can no longer work because our internet access is gone. Half of our food is in a freezer in the garage – lose that and we lose a lot. Good luck trying to drive anywhere – when the power’s out, it just ain’t gonna happen unless you don’t mind looking for hidden back roads.

I did spend about 30 minutes trying to find a portable radio and batteries to see if I could pick up any news. My phone worked, but none of the news sites I usually visit had anything up-to-date, so I figured the local radio stations might have a clue what happened. It took 30 minutes because 1) I had left my cycling radio at work, 2) I could not get the first radio I found to work, and 3) I could not find good batteries. I have now made sure that situation is corrected.

So, are we (getting /have gotten) too dependent on technology? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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Comments

    • Sally Cat
    • December 8, 2013
    Reply

    How Often Do Navy Sailors Get Internet Access? I know they can’t use internet on the ship, so how often does that mean they have to wait? Do they go on a ship for 6 months and not use it at all during that 6 months? Is that how it normally works?

    I ask because I found a Navy friend of mine on facebook. His last post said he can’t use the internet on the ship, so at the moment I can not contact him at all to ask him anything. I have to wait until he has internet access again to reach him.

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      Actually, satellite based Internet access is possible aboard ship. Routine personal access is severely limited due to cost and for security reasons. When he might have access from shore will depend upon the next time that the ship is in port.

      View Comment
    • City of lost souls
    • December 18, 2013
    Reply

    How Does Internet Access Work On Prepaid Phones? I’m thinking about getting a prepaid phone and i was just wondering how internet access works with that. is it just the same as regular minutes or what? i’m thinking about going with a major company. i was hoping to find something with unlimited texts and internet, or something relativily close.

    View Comment
      • Admin
      • December 18, 2013
      Reply

      If you go through AT&T, you can add a text and internet plan onto your pay as you go account. You you don’t add this on, using your internet will drain your account in no time. I don’t believe other service providers allow you to add service bundles onto their pre paid plans.

      View Comment
    • City of lost souls
    • December 22, 2013
    Reply

    How Does Internet Access Work On Prepaid Phones? I’m thinking about getting a prepaid phone and i was just wondering how internet access works with that. is it just the same as regular minutes or what? i’m thinking about going with a major company. i was hoping to find something with unlimited texts and internet, or something relativily close.

    View Comment
      • Admin
      • December 22, 2013
      Reply

      If you go through AT&T, you can add a text and internet plan onto your pay as you go account. You you don’t add this on, using your internet will drain your account in no time. I don’t believe other service providers allow you to add service bundles onto their pre paid plans.

      View Comment
    • AZn
    • December 29, 2013
    Reply

    Do You Need To Have Internet Access To Be Able To Use A Laptop GPS System With The Receiver? I’m thinking about buying a laptop GPS system with the receiver. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be using it on the road and I’m not so sure about whether I need Internet access to be able to use it or not. Help?

    View Comment
      • Admin
      • December 29, 2013
      Reply

      No you don’t need internet access to use a Laptop GPS system. You just need to have a map program that will take the GPS information and put it on a screen for you. MS Trips and Streets, Delorme, etc. These are great little devices and get the information needed from the satelites. So all you need is the GPS receiver and the correct map software and your laptop will show you where you are, will give you directions on how to get where you want to go, etc.

      If you want LIVE traffic updates you will need another traffic receiver like XM etc but you don’t have to have internet.

      View Comment
    • Mbl
    • January 27, 2014
    Reply

    Can A Prisoner Have Internet Access And Letter Communications On A Daily Basis? Are criminals serving jail sentences allowed to have computer Internet access and writing letters to people outside ON A DAILY BASIS?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      Writing letters as many as they want a day but most prisons do not have internet access for prisoners.}{

      View Comment
    • Anonymous
    • February 11, 2014
    Reply

    Do Netbooks Require Monthly Fees For Internet Access? I want to get one, but I wont if I have to pay something monthly if I do (well, depending on how much). If i do have to pay something monthly to have internet access, how much do i have to pay?

    View Comment
      • Admin
      • February 11, 2014
      Reply

      It depends on what type of internet access you are talking about. Most netbooks have wifi built in so if you are connected to a wifi network you will not be charged and extra monthly fee. However, if you buy a netbook from a wireless provider like AT&T you will more than likely have to sign up for wireless internet access through that provider. The charge for this service is normally around $60 a month for 5GB of internet access. You probably have to sign a contract as well if you buy it from a wireless provider.

      View Comment
    • Awesome
    • March 8, 2014
    Reply

    Prevent Internet Access? I have Server 2003 as Domain Contrller and XP Prof as Domain Members. I have DSL in my LAN and I would like to Prevent Internet access for Certain Client. Please Reply me

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      Do you use a firewall? You should or you will regret big time. If a firewall is installed, it should have some sort of filtering capability. Normally you can access the firewall with a browser, run the Admin function to create a group and name it No_Internet. Put people that you don’t want to have internet access in that group and bar that group from the internet thru a policy.

      View Comment
    • Faisal A
    • March 16, 2014
    Reply

    Will I Get Internet Access? Relative is moving into a new apartment and planning to purchase a laptop will he get internet access by itself or would he have to buy a wireless router? He plans not to enroll in an internet provider. Can someone explain the whole process to me?Prefer computer techies to answer.

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      A laptop cannot create the internet for it to use. someone has to provide the internet connection. a laptop can only get internet access wirelessly if 1. the apartment he’s moving into has their own wifi access point, 2. if there is free wifi/wired internet in the neighborhood where the apartment is, or 3. he gets his own DSL subscription and sets up a router

      if the first two options are not available, then he cannot get any internet connection wirelessly. he will have to subscribe to a DSL provider and set up a wireless router.

      remember that a wireless router is only a device that enables wired internet to be broadcast wirelessly. the usual range of a router is around 100 meters. getting a router doesnt mean you can access the internet wirelessly anywhere. remember that for someone to get a wifi connection, there has to be a wifi service available in that area.

      View Comment
    • Learner
    • March 28, 2014
    Reply

    Internet Access From Cell Phone..? Hi,
    I understand that wireless internet access is achieved in computers by having a wireless card on computer which runs 802.11g or earlier version. I don’t understand how wireless internet is achieved on cell phones. I think cell phones don’t run the 802.11X protocol;They run WAP,GPRS,EDGE etc. Do cell phones also need a separate card or chip to run these protocols?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      Cell phone providers use separate protocols to provide internet access to their phones. Yes, they do require a chip to handle the protocol (as does everything), but these chips are built into the phones, there’s no need to purchase a separate card to get Internet access. Some of the more popular access methods are: EDGE, HSDPA, EVDO, UMTS, etc. There are many more, but these are the most common ones used by North American cell phone carriers.

      Also, using 802.11X is probably a bad idea, as it’s confused with 802.1x, which is something else entirely (a network security protocol designed to force you to login to a RADIUS server before you’re allowed network access), the common convention for specifying *all* wifi is just to use 802.11, or 802.11a/b/g/n

      View Comment
    • Mark D
    • April 28, 2014
    Reply

    Is There Internet Access At Navy A School? Is there internet access for the barracks in navy a school?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      Free Internet is not provided in barracks. You want cable, Internet or phone you pay for it yourself. You can find a few free Internet locations on base such as Single Sailors area, Cafes, and a few other locations.

      View Comment

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