I’ve been mulling over how much ‘tech’ I have, and also complaining (in my head) about how much tech other people have, and what it means for the world.
Tending to people’s tech issues is what I do most days, so I suppose it should be understandable that I get a bit tired of it all every once in a while. I used to be quite enthusiastic about “cool tech” and new stuff, and all that; I was excited when I bought my first Windows PC, when I bought a webcam for said PC (way before they became integrated into every gadget), an MP3 player, back when Napster was a thing, and a TV card before “streaming” was even a word.
I enjoyed each of these things, but I ended up not being someone has to “keep up with” every new release and iteration; I enjoyed what I had, I looked after them, and seemed to have issues with replacing things that still worked, either that or it was a money thing.
These days it’s like it has all gotten a bit too much, not only on a personal level but on a global one too. It appears I’m not the only one; while there are certainly those who have been in “big tech” for years and seem likely to always be so, there are others, like those who “get out of Google” or leave Facebook, to then talk about the global and social issues these big tech companies that they once worked for, or even facilitated in their rise to dominance, are causing for the world (many of which are still yet to be realised).
I remember when Microsoft “got into trouble” over the monopoly their Internet Explorer browser had, and how they “made amends” by presenting users with a box on their screen that gave them the option to choose a different browser. That all seems quite nonsensical now; the choice was already there, you just had to know that there was one. These days IE has been replaced by Edge, and not a week goes by when I have to explain to someone what Chrome or Edge (or Firefox) is, and why they are there on their computer. Many still don’t “get it”.
Not only do people often have too many browsers on their computer, but they have too many ‘computers’. I’m certainly not immune from this casual remark, and I’m currently trying to cut down, but all too often it seems all too many people have too much tech.
Earlier this week I had to deal with a WiFi printer that needed to be connected to three iPads, two iPhones and a PC (this little lot was owned by a retired couple, they also had two cars*). For some reason their Canon printer wouldn’t function fully since their broadband router (a BT Hub) had been upgraded (I had to disable the 5GHz mode in the Hub’s settings).
*I find myself wonder these days why retired people need more than one car between them (I know one older lady that lives on her own and has two cars). Indeed they probably don’t, but like our mobile phones, tablets and computers, we each like to have our own. I’m not immune from this kind of behaviour since I own more than one computer, laptop, phone, eBook reader, coffee grinder and set of bicycle wheels.
Anyway, my next job was to a regular client, an older gentleman, who seems to get his passwords in a muddle at least once a month and I have to decipher the equally muddled notebook they’re all scribbled down in. From gmail, to amazon, yahoo, and skype, to name just a few. He has a small library of Kindles and multiple phones, along with multiple chargers and USB leads for each (each of which are either broken or are picky about which device they will work with – whenever I arrive the devices’ batteries are usually flat which posed a problem this week (as it has before) because I needed to update his phone to reconnect it to his Echo Dot (he has one of those too) but it informed me it needed a minimum of 20% power before it could proceed, and the Kindle Fire wouldn’t even turn on until it had some more juice. He also has a desktop and a laptop (the battery in that is usually flat too). He also has a small collection of USB dongles, not only USB storage ones but random Bluetooth ones too, which he seems to like just having plugged in. Thankfully he only has one printer. His phone, incidentally has at least a handful of different email apps to choose from, along with a bunch of other crap he just doesn’t need (but I guess he just likes to hoard…)
Today’s job involved another WiFi printer issue, just one laptop, a phone and a couple of tablets to reconnect and check for another retired couple. Then the husband wanted me to set up his newly acquired Smart Watch. First I tried his tablet but for some reason the App was reported as being not compatible with his tablet running on Android 11. “Odd,” I thought, and proceeded to successfully install it on an older phone which was running on Android 8. I had a similar issue with my Fitbit which required Android 7 minimum.
I got talking to this client about my Fitbit, and began talking him through the app and the process of ‘syncing’ the watch, until it transpired that he’d already had a ‘smart watch’ (of some description) and he had certainly done his research on this new one. I’m not sure why he ‘needed’ the new one though, and every feature he rattled off, my old Fitbit has.
Coincidentally we got talking about that ‘big tech’ stuff and I recalled the things I’d heard, like how Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, supposedly earned 100K last year on top of his usual earnings (and due to the Coronavirus thing)… per each member of Amazon staff (not for them, he didn’t give them a nice bonus or anything like that). The mind boggles. Another thing I mentioned (since Russell Brand has been talking a lot about this) is how Bill Gates, let’s call him Monopoly Man, has been buying up huge swathes of agricultural land; he owns more land than some countries have, and turns them over to GMO crops. He’s also a pusher of vaccines, in particular the Covid ones, although it seems he hasn’t had one himself yet. For anyone that thinks this Covid thing is just about an actual biological virus and the vaccine is to stop it, I would suggest you think again.
Given how Google and Facebook buy up tech companies, and hold monopolies and big data, and “get into trouble” (or rather, in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, get called to explain themselves) for their methods and behaviour, surely we should all be questioning not only how much tech we use, let our lives revolve, and therefore support, not only the tech itself but those individuals that have risen to power because of that support.
A name I’ve not yet mentioned, but I think ‘deserves’ to be included is Elon Musk; many people are somewhat fanatical about his endeavours, but I call to question his motives and what he’s actually doing for, or to, our planet; such as littering our skies with satellites and burning up tonnes of rocket fuel each week (it seems) with his toys; even his Tesla cars I see as some sort of gimmick that far too many people buy into.
Here is one quote Russell Brand quotes in one of his recent videos:
“The world’s richest 1% emit double the carbon of the poorest 50%”
Who are those richest, and how did they get there?
Elon Musk recently (and apparently) won the ‘bid’ to build the next rocket/craft to land on the Moon, or something along those lines. It has been said that he ‘won’ this by a large margin with the curious figure of $2,941,394,557.
Why not just $2.95billion? Why specifically those numbers. What does ‘EEG Acid Bid’ mean? Because that’s what I come up with when employing gematria. I think Elon is having a laugh; he has been accused of being on an ‘acid trip’ before now, so I’m convinced it’s not a happy accident that I found that in there, and I’ve yet to hear any other explanation for that figure.
Musk is a smart guy, I’ll give him that, and listening to his talks about things has certainly fascinated me before now. Gates on the other hand, I used to like Microsoft and how it brought use Windows for me to use on my first PC, but now I can’t help but think of him as a monopolistic tyrant that learned through his years ‘at Microsoft’ of how to get his way and manipulate the world around him, and now since not working there any more having nothing better to do with his time and money than to screw over the world.
The current system has no way of dealing with this form of colonialism (as Brand has put it), of which Gates is the face of. Brand also said:
“Huge wealth indicates a deficit.”
i.e. we should consider who in this world is suffering because of these barbaric people and what each of us do to support them. It’s no longer just about who we actively vote into power through our so-called “democratic” systems, and who we pay taxes to, and how we’re each then responsible for those systems that then spend that money on, say, bombing a foreign country.
[EDIT] Oh the irony of it (besides me typing all of this on a Windows 10 computer); a regular client left me a message while I was writing all of this: her web browser is informing her it is out of date… and she has just bought a new mobile phone and wants me to set it up for her. I immediately know her browser isn’t out of date, it’s just she’s trying to use Internet Explorer instead of Edge…