Thursday, October 05, 2006

How long could you survive without a computer?

Who's asking: Jen Lechner

I sense some mockery behind this question, but I'm answering it anyway just to prove that I'm above being baited.

Obviously, I could survive indefinitely without a computer. My great-aunt Agnes, who passed away this week at the age of 101, never used a computer, as far as I know -- though she was a telephone operator, back in the days of manual connections. (Dad has a very nice tribute to Aunt Agnes on his blog). Her mother, the legendary Annie K., lived well into her 90s without the benefit of computers.

If someone took my computer away for good, I'd get a job at McDonald's or Wal-Mart, where I'd get better health benefits than I currently have and be forced to deal with live human beings. Then again, I'd probably have to take up serious drinking (and possibly more serious mood-enhancers), so I might well end up dying before my time.

But no, my current lifestyle would be impossible without a computer. It would have been impossible even ten years ago, before everyone was on e-mail and high-speed Internet allowed for the electronic transfer of giant files. Alvin Toffler predicted this in a book called The Third Wave, published in the early 1980s; he foresaw a time when people would all work at home, and only congregate for social purposes. As a society-wide prediction that's probably an overstatement, but it's certainly how I live now.

Which is why I bought a new laptop yesterday. It's not a significant upgrade over the last one, except for having an internal wireless modem, but it cost approximately half of what I paid for my last machine, and weighs about half as much. The nice people at Capitol Computers were able to remove my old hard drive, so I lost nothing (I was particularly concerned about my iTunes library, which is now safely loaded on the new machine).

So the answer to this question is that I could survive indefinitely, but I couldn't live very long.

5 comments:

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

You can back up your iTunes library on an external hard drive too ya know. And you should. I do think of you as a girl who backs up her data, or at least her tunes that is. And that's a good thing.

AnswerGirl said...

You're right. I have a jump drive I used for regular backups, but now that I have this extra hard drive, I will be conscientious about backing everything up at least weekly.

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Kewl. Now if I can only get you to release your inner Mac. But we don't have to go there....

Jennifer Jordan said...

Holy hell, chick! Near disaster averted with flair! You faced this with a bravery and stoicism I never could.

I did all of B'Con without a computer but only because I knew one awaited me upon my semi-triumphant return.

AnswerGirl said...

I'm an anxious person (e.g., that whole jaywalking thing), but once the worst has actually happened, I'm good in a crisis...