Whether we like computers or not they invade our homes, work, and school. Setting aside the internet for a second, computers decide when we can access easy information like an address book, homework assignments, and even a calculator. How many times have you used the excuse “My computer ate my homework" and really meant it? Well, I have used it more than once.
The first thing that comes to my mind when preparing a presentation for class or work is to do it on Powerpoint, my favorite computer program. I love this program because it looks really fancy when I am done and it is not hard to use. For the five minutes of the presentation I feel like I have accomplished something requiring computer intelligence even though in everyday life I have a hard time checking email.
There are many games to get addicted to and many programs that are disguised as games that make computers seem like a fun pastime. This is all a ploy. People make these programs so that they hook even the most anti-computer person into computers and then convince him that he ‘needs’ to keep adding new “toys" to his computer. I do want to stress that computers are an important part of our advancing culture, but the obsession and dependency is nothing more than a marketing scheme.
A lot of media and just general people put a lot of emphasis on the use of computers. Jobs look for computer literacy as a requirement and some bill paying services suggest online payment as a good alternative to good old fashioned snail- mail. It is easier for companies to teach a computer literate person their trade than it is to teach a person skilled in their trade how to use a computer. This all leads to the same conclusion: A person is more efficient and more useful if they have computer skills over any other skill.
I hate computers, but you would never know it because I spend more than seventy- five percent of my time at home in front of the computer. I have the phone right next to me, my cd player, and all the books and resources I need so I never have to get up. I have spent so much time in front of the computer in the past year that when I am bored I just sit at the computer because I feel that I have to be there.
I used to think that Bill Gates and other technology geniuses were trapped in a quick money industry that would vanish within a decade or so. Well, I am now convinced that they are part of a high conspiracy (called advertising) that has convinced us (the American people) that we “need" computers. Not only do we “need" computers, but we “need" to keep making them better by spending more money to promote a technology that causes glazed over eyes, pale complexions, and sore fingers.
The internet is a completely different story. Being a senior graduating in December, I spend a great deal of time on search engines trying to find a job and setting up contacts within my industry. There is a lot of great information on the internet that is great for research for school as well as non-school education. The problem lies in the fact that anyone can make a web page and solicit their ideas as facts. This becomes a problem especially when writing papers and being able to have solid sources to back up a thesis.
On the other hand, if you have a web page that promotes a certain topic or educates people in a positive way you need to be prepared for comments or even attacks from the significant number of “bad apples" that use the internet. There is not a lot of ways to control who goes on your site and who doesn’t without charging, so the dilemma remains; How can I address my page to a variety of people without suffering the consequences of denial and abuse? There is no way, just deal with it and don’t take things too personally.
When I think of buying a computer I want a machine that allows me to type my papers and research the internet. That’s it! No monkeys jumping through hoops when I log on. No computer lady saying “Good Morning Jennifer", no passwords, NOTHING! Now most of what I think of computers is probably out of pure ignorance, but I am very comfortable with my ignorant life.
So in the end we cannot escape computers, but we can second guess ourselves when choosing to buy one, use one, or suggest the use. When you are faced with the decision to add a new program to your home computer, resist. Let computers simply be one detail to your life that makes things just a little bit easier. Just remember: When your computer blows up, it shouldn’t mean that your life has blown up.
Jennifer Kittell is an experience freelance writer and co-owner of a successful web design business. Our business specializes in the layout, design, and production of quality websites. http://www.mustardseeddesign.com