Sunday, 27 April 2008

Luddites and Learning Curves

I thought I would take the plunge and post my first blog entry. My friend Bob has a fell braw travel blog which I enjoy contributing to, and she, being the insightful and tech-tastic lassie that she is, 'nipped ma heid' in the nicest possible way, that I also needed to get one of my own. (She knows how much I love writing, and that it gives me a nice infusion of serotonin. She also knows that I will never print my digital pictures, and will surf for affordable art and second-hand smartphones on Ebay, rather than get myself organised to write anything at all, unless I start a blog.) She is absolutely right,and here I am!

A triumphant cry rings out, from Luddites everywhere.

I have come late to blogging. But then - one is permitted to come late to a literary genre. As a researcher, that is. Part of me is still ensconced somewhere in a seventeenth-century theatre. On a couple of occasions, the British Library posted out completely unread volumes to me - so old, and yet so new, the pages needed slitting. A finger-trembling process, I have to admit. Coming new to blogging is a little different. A whole new genre is opening up, metamorphosing and shape-shifting, before my luddite orbits.

Two years ago, I dipped a toe into the maelstrom, in the form of posting, not without trepidation, on The pace of posting started out at a brisk jog, and I had time to ponder, whilst keeping up with alacrity. (Alacrity posted from another timezone, and acts as a metaphor here, for the incredible speed and growth of the posts on the site. One day, I was happily musing on the village green. The next, I was lost somewhere in central New York. I lost my nerve, and Alacrity outpaced me. I would wake up to find a new topic, and four-hundred posts to read, before I offered my views. Blogverse waits for no luddite. You have to hit and run.

Nevertheless, I found my way to Monkbot Talk, a pacey place, but with room to ponder on one's, "grassy Knoll", and not feel lost in the crowd. I enjoyed it very much. (Hi Shelley and Evie!) Blogverse as a genre reflects a furious adaptation which would put even the most voracious virus to shame. It is supple and fluid, blatant, and yet evasive. Its history is neatly stored in archives which everyone can view. You don't need white gloves and a special ticket. I am alternately blinded by the light, and blinking in the gloom.

As a recovering technophobe, then, I am putting out an anemone-like feeler, seeing what technology can do, hitting a wall, then lurching back, to consider my options.Two years ago,I threw away my mobile, as its workings were beyond my ken. Texting was delving into the realms of the hieroglyph. So saying, I would rather puzzle out an ancient stone inscription, armed with dusty parchments, than face a mobile instruction manual. Nevertheless...I am getting there.
Now, I have an ageing MDA Vario smartphone with nifty qwerty keyboard: as fundametal to the Luddite psyche, as it is to happeinin professional sorts who can't waste time texting. A nice paradox. I can lurk in the shadow of the Blackberryists, and pretend to be one of them! My MDA is my right-arm, but am only skimming the surface of its technical fathoms, having just found the back-button last month. Bob was visiting from the US, and asked where it was. I used to switch the phone off and on again, to flit between functions. Sigh. You can see that I do try. Trying has merit.

I am sort of in Luddite no-man's-land. Purgatory would be too strong a word. I can sense the possibility of being ensnared in the barbed-wire of my technological ignorance, but I don't see Dore and Breughel-esque demons chuckling maliciously behind their hands, as I cut off the man from T Mobile, attempting to answer his call. (Maybe I would, If I wore my glasses.)

The call-droppage could clearly be down to the phone itself. However, it is in my genetic make-up to assume responsibility for all failures and malfunctions. After-all, someone with oodles of spatial awareness and an ability to count backwards in threes, better than her granny with dementia (cough) has designed the thing. phone is a style icon, and one has to forgive a lot, in the interests of style. (At least, this is the argument my daughter uses, when she wishes to go outside in the freezing cold, without a coat.) Barbie Mariposa is on her teeshirt, and pneumonia is sort of a secondary concern. (Barbie Mariposa sounds more ominous, nevertheless. Like you would need Tetracycline to shift it, instead of Amoxycillin.)

So here I am, the last person, to quote my Ph.D supervisor, ever to type their thesis on an electric typewriter. 500,000 words, and that was just the final draft! Luddite and proud. is time to place a twitching toe into the foaming briny of the unknown. :) (I like to make up bad metaphors.) Here I am, pondering about life, technology and whether or not all my contacts will be lost if I take the sim card out of my phone.

Here goes!


Dr. Bob said...

hey! There you go! Nice job on the two posts.

rowan said...

Hullo! Thanks, Bob. Yep - managed to seperate the looong narrative. Somehow, Ed. got deleted in the process, but Blogger had auto-saved him in a previous draft, so I gave him a second chance (against my better judgement) and imported him! :)

rowan said...

The time comments were posted thingy gives me a false sense of security, ye ken. It tells me that I posted my comment last night, at 10.40pm. This means that I can go back to bed for another full-night's sleep, or have twenty-four cups of tea, watch lots of reruns of "The Golden Girls" and ads for "Sheer Cover." Hmm. The former is tempting. the cold light of day, the clock waits for no reforming Luddite, and I must go get masel organized.

Bell-ringing today! Will try to get some pics.

shelley said...

Nice post...and great start!

I especially like the photo illustration. ;)

Best of luck with the new blog!

Wry Mouth said...

Row'n: should you not do a short post on Matthew Ludd, sometime soon? Just to set the tone?


Wry Mouth said...

Oop. NED Ludd. My boo-boo.

rowan said...

hey! So great to see you peepel here!

Bob - thanx for the tip on how to split my first loooooooooog post into two. Ed. is giving you a thumbs up.

Shelley - I am glad you liked the photos! hee hee. Ah thocht ane in partikyoolar wid appeal tae ye!

I can comment on Wordpress blogs from my phone, but not Blogger ones. This is sad. Any ideas from you tech-tastics oot there in the ether, wid be fell weelcome.

Wry mouth - you ar right, of course. That is inded a sin by omission. I will need to shuffle through my thesis and post my ponderings on King Ludd, and Captain Swing. Recall signing a chapter of my thesis with the latter appelation, as it was produced on a typewriter, and stiff with tipp-ex. My Professor found it funny. He had a happenin new BBC pc, back in the day, and illustrated tne merits of cut and paste. Nevertheless, I would hazard he had distinct Luddite leanings and Swing sympathies.

As I am a reforming Luddite, and am not disadvantaged in any pecuniary sense by plundering prose from Wiki...I will indeed post a wee back-dated bitty on those C18 chaps and chapesses for the archive. :)

Rowan said...

And can I post here from my new G1? if so, I am a happy bunny…