The Paperless Trail to Eventual Ruin–A Red-Ring Fantasy

I think all electronics are made with a tiny virus in them that is set to explode the moment you’re out of warranty. I have never had a computer that didn’t show signs of slowing to a crawl within six months of purchase. I’ve heard that my kids’ X-Box 360 is designed with a permanent flaw in its cooling apparatus that ensures that it will “red ring” within two years. You know what they do with red ringed X-Box 360s? They charge you $80, send you a new one and use it for parts. NOTHING ever works the way it should for long. Dammit, I need two different channel changers to work my TV, and my DVD player hasn’t been hooked right up since we moved!

Maybe I should be like my Dad and refuse to get a Kindle because it makes it too easy for the “forces that be” to cut the supply of words. He sees all this Kindle stuff leading to an Atwoodian dystopia where all hard copies are suddenly gone from the shelves, incinerated in some shady, stony basement of hell, never to be read or discussed again by thinking, breathing human beings. You know, the way we were all scared that our computer was going to eat our term papers. Except with Nazi-like book burning.

It’s too late. We’re hooked. We use technology for everything from our bills, to our socialization to our jobs. It’s never going away now. The social network has consumed us all, and then it pressed “Like”. Our wretched future has been given a cool little “thumbs up”!

But it’s not wretched, is it. We’re enjoying it way too much for it to be bad for us! No one thought cars would replace horses or that we would fly in jumbo jets through the sky. With every technological advance there is always suspicion that what is new is dangerous and will probably kill us. With cell phones it happened to be true, but that’s beside the point. What do I want, to have to walk everywhere and raise pigs and send freakin’ letters by pigeon? Certainly not! Although the pigeon thing might be cool, but it would have to be really organized or I’d end up getting responses from crazy people like Mike Tyson or that German guy in The Producers.

There’s an upside here, right? The games they’re making now are incredible looking, although I haven’t played one since The Adventures of Link. Televisions are thinner than an Olsen twin. I haven’t had to answer my phone since the 90s. I’m writing this ON MY LAP! (and man is it hard to get the ink out my skin in the shower, for all my literal, wise-ass friends). I don’t have an I-Pad, but I heard they’re super-cool. Everything should be copacetic, right?

Except that all this cool junk is made out of plastic, scotch-tape and bubble gum. You know how Dell makes their computers? They meet all the manufacturers for all the various parts in a big parking lot, where all the companies that make hard drives, screens, modems, mice, processors, etc. park their trucks and instigate a bidding war. If one company is making a keyboard or AC cord for three cents less than its competitors, guess what ends up in your configuration? I heard this from a Dell rep himself. Ever wonder why you used to pay two grand for a computer and now you can pick one up for $1.50? Because it’s made from the cheapest available materials. No matter what it is, from a laptop to a game system to a Blackberry, it cost them maybe fifty bucks. If they could get away with selling it to you for a million they would. Like cars, that have a 50,000 percent markup. Ever want to end a conversation with a car salesman real quick. Ask him what his margin is, then watch him scurry away like his ass is on fire. If they have enough money to pummel you with ads during the Super Bowl, they’re overcharging you for cheap garbage that WILL break sooner or later. Along with all your pictures, your writings, your bookmarks, your bank account and your soul.

I found this quote completely by mistake while I was looking up “dystopia” to make sure I used it correctly. It’s from the queen of futuristic paranoia herself, Margaret Atwood:

“Electronic storage is pretty fragile. If you want to keep something permanently you should probably keep it in paper form, and that is why an e-version of your will is unacceptable.” Her three reasons for keeping physical books are solar flares, grid overload and fear of running out of room on the internet because of too much porn. Sing it sister! Have you ever met my Dad?

Here’s the Atwood interview for anyone interested!video_idea_id=24257. She’s a loony old bat, but I love her. Too much porn…you can’t make this stuff up! Everyone knows there is EXACTLY the right amount of porn on the internet… For those who remember her, is she Anita White or what?

Overdue thanks to Jonathan at –I used many of his examples of mispronounced words in yesterday’s blog and he was kind enough to include the blog on his site.  Check him out, he’s got a cool site himself.

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