Stupid Computer! Wasn’t Life Better Without Computers?

Computers, cell phones, and all those other electronic devices have changed our lives so much.

Life is so hectic now. There is no denying that now days we need to do things faster in order to stay competitive. Perhaps we have the computer and other electronics to blame for it. There is also the added headache of when that computer doesn’t work right.

Why do we need the headache of computers? Weren’t we all just better off before this beast took over our lives?

Several years ago, I had an opportunity to talk to someone who had literally been in a jungle for several years.

He told me how much life in America had changed from his point of view. In a matter of years, cell phones which had once been rare were now carried by nearly everyone. Nearly everyone used and needed a computer. Society itself had changed. I think it was a bit of a shock to return home as he might as well been off the planet where he had been.

As interesting point, when he returned to the jungle, he took a computer with internet access with him. There is nowhere safe from this beast anymore. Not even the jungle.

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OK, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I remember. What do we need these stupid computers that are always breaking down for anyways, and weren’t we better without them?

Computers do stupid, dumb, repetitive jobs for us.

For example, if you want to send wedding invitations to 1000 of your closest friends, you could sit down for a week (or two) and write those addresses on the envelopes yourself. Not too long ago, this is what you had to do. Now, a computer can print addresses on those envelopes and personalize the invitation itself in minutes. It can even do it in your own handwriting! You now have time to think about more important wedding things (like what shade of white the candles at the reception should be).

It beats 2 cans and a string
Computers have really improved our ability to communicate

Computers save us time finding information.

At one time, if you needed to know something that was in a file somewhere, someone needed to find the file cabinet the information it was in and bring it to you (if you were not the lucky one that had to find it yourself). The larger the number of files, the longer it may take you to find them. A computer can search a database and return the information in less time than it takes you to tell it what you need to know.

How many of us search Google for all sorts of information nearly daily? Can you imagine having to go find a book at the library every time you needed to learn how to do something on your computer? Now you can just search Google and find out all sorts of stuff on using your computer. Oh wait, that’s a bit redundant. Just pretend this paragraph was about gardening, plumbing, cooking, or fixing the flat tire on your bicycle. If you need to know how to do something, you can use a computer to find out how quick.

Computers can save us time from getting lost.

GPS and cell phones with GPS in them are fantastic. On one trip to Toronto and Canada, we spent about 12 hours of our vacation lost. Either we either were going in the wrong direction or were on the wrong road. The maps we had were not clear enough at certain points where we need it most. Now, at worst, if I miss a turn with GPS I know the quickest way to get back in the right direction. It has been a real time saver. No GPS? Google maps and directions are far better than the driver’s club maps I got. Now if Google had GPS for finding things in a store I’d never have to ask for directions.

Computers and electronics can entertain us.

I admit it. I am a video game player. All I had to do was see my first video game and I knew I was going to love video games. Personally, I like PC games best but I’ll play anything. Of course, video games are not the only way computers can entertain now.

You can stream movies and television shows to your computer and from there to your TV. More televisions and DVD players are coming with the ability to connect to the internet to do this also. Maybe someday soon refrigerators will have IP addresses too. Not so they can order milk automatically, but for the built in TV to show the morning news with your orange juice.

Computers help us keep in contact with others.

As I typed this post, my wife sent me several Google Talk messages reminding me to eat lunch (she is amazing). We can keep in touch with old friends and see what they are up to on Facebook. You can talk to someone on the other side of the planet as long as you want for free. The computer has allowed communication like never before.

You know those TV phones they had on those old George Jetson cartoons? It is possible now! It is even possible from your phone. (I am still waiting for my flying car to arrive).

At one time fast communication was the Pony Express getting a letter across the US in 13 days. Now, it takes seconds for an email to travel nearly anywhere to anyone and no one has to dodge arrows for it to happen. Then there is instant messaging and Twitter for really short messages.

In fact, I think communication is where computers have had the best impact on our lives.

No matter where in the world your loved ones are, you can see and talk to them at nearly any time. No longer is a long distant phone call so expensive that it needs to be reserved for special times like Christmas. You can most likely call Grandma right now on your cell phone without much cost. You know she will love you for it. Remember when you only called on Christmas because the rates were lower?

Video chat with webcams allow us to be places with those we care about. I have little doubt that video calls will be almost as common as voice calls within a few years. It’s great to not only talk to, but to see that family member or loved one at the same time. The quality and ease of use are improving at an amazing pace.

Computers also allow us to communicate to other we don’t know – yet.

In my post Should You Start Your Own Blog I mentioned the fact that we have never had the opportunity to reach out like we do now. I have blogs and sites that are visited by people from many other countries. I have developed a friend or two in the process. Relationship blogger Liz Strauss is a prime example and promoter using a blog to build relationships with people we don’t know that benefit both sides. It is amazing how far an impact anyone can have now with a computer.

Computers have impacted our lives immensely.

Both for good and bad. A computer can surely add to stress during the day. It can seem like it just eats up all your time. It’s true that it would be nearly impossible for most businesses to stay competitive with out the cost and hassle of computers.

But computers have added to the quality of life too.

Anything that lets us communicate more freely with those we care about has to be an improvement. I enjoy competing in games with other people online and getting to know some of them. It’s been great to not only talk to family members far away, but to see them also. It’s a lot better than a couple of cans and a string.

Who have you used a computer or technology to communicate with recently in a way you could not have 30 years ago? Why not start by communicating here and share with us with a comment.

Then go call your mom. You know she’s waiting to hear from you.