I got an iPad mini for Christmas. I am still figuring out how it works. And it has made me think about how many gadgets I actually own, and how important Internet connectivity has become to daily life.  At home I have a laptop, a NetBook, a Kindle, a PSP, a Playstation 3, a mobile phone and an iPad that all connect to my wifi.

I cannot imagine life without email, or Internet access. Whenever we go away anywhere, the first thing I do is find out how to connect to the hotel’s wifi – and whether or not it has wifi influences whether or not we choose to book it.

I also cannot imagine life without my NetBook.  This little gadget I take everywhere with me, and I do most of my writing on it.  It has become such a part of my life now that I find it difficult to write without it.  I certainly could not go back to the days of scribbling stories in pencil in the back of school exercise books, which is how I did it in my teenage years, and indeed back then could not imagine writing a first draft any other way.

The Internet has changed the world.  We can all connect with each other through cyberspace.  It has incited revolution in countries where oppressed citizens can see what life is like in other places, and collectively decide they don’t want to put up with this anymore.

It has made research a great deal easier.  In the old days, if you wanted to write a book set in, say, the French revolution, you had to go to the library and make use of the card catalogue to find books on the subject.  Now you just do a Google search.

It has made self publishing easier.  Anyone can upload a manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing and publish a novel.  Whether or not they should is a whole other story, but I’ve already blogged about this recently so I won’t go into it again (see my post here if you want to know my views on this).

My mobile phone I have also become hugely reliant on.  I still have a paper pocket diary, but I find myself keeping track of appointments on the calendar on my mobile phone far more often than I refer to my diary.  I don’t leave the house, even briefly, without my mobile phone, just in case something happens and I need to phone for help.  In fact, the mobile phone has proved to be an even more world-changing invention than the Internet.  Just about everyone in the world has one.  We’ve been to remote villages in third world countries where people live very basic lives, but still everyone has a mobile phone.  From what I understand, the charities that work on trying to improve communications for people in poor remote villages across the world find it easier to distribute the old handsets that are thrown out to the people in these villages than to dig up the landscape in order to install cables for land lines.  There are now more mobile phones in the world than people, apparently.

Of course, technology often fails, and every time there’s a power cut, whether it be at home or at work, I am reminded how dangerous it can be to completely depend on technology.  I have more than one alarm clock set just in case the power fails in the night and the alarm fails to go off.  I back up my writing on several computers, and to Dropbox which I can access from pretty much every mobile device.  So if one computer goes kaput I can access my files from elsewhere, including battery-operated devices in case the power fails.  This is also why I have a paper address book and a paper diary – if technology fails, I don’t lose everything.

The speed at which the world has changed in the last thirty years is frightening.  But changed it has, and whether we like it or not we have to adapt to the changes.  We all have houses full of gadgets.  That’s the way things are these days. For most people in the Western world, the energy required to power these devices is taken for granted.  But what if the electricity ran out?  Permanently?  How devastating would that be for this changed world?

There’s a story in there somewhere…



2 comments so far

  1. Linnea on

    Whenever we have a power failure we talk about losing access to the world through our many gadgets, not to mention what it would do to our home-based business. Eek. Don’t want to think about it.

    • sayssara on

      Hi Linnea

      Yes, the mere thought is panic-inducing. We have come to rely so much on technology we can’t imagine life without it.

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