Today I am at a conference for work. My table is beautifully set with an ‘Elmer’ cloth, covered in an array of freebies for delegates to take with them. My display boards have been updated to include information relative to this audience. The laptop is open, ready for me to signpost them to a host of different sites where they can access free information and resources.
Wait a minute – what’s happened to the WiFi? Great signal, but local connection only. We have no internet. Aaaaarrrghh!!!!
I don’t know the web addresses I need to share with all these lovely people, they are in my favourites – not my ordinary internet favourites, but the favourites on my ‘work’ system that I can only access through the internet. A quick scrabble through my diary (yes, I do still use a paper version sometimes), notes and leaflets gets me a short list of places I can ask people to write down and look at when they get home. I’m feeling very frustrated and unprofessional. How did we do exhibitions and conferences in the old days, before the internet? I must remember to produce a paper back-up version to bring out with me, even if it is only screen shots in a display book.
Technology has had such a huge effect on the way we live our lives. I know other people have noticed this – I’ve seen other people’s blogs, posts and tweets about it and thought ‘yes, very interesting’. It’s only when your own technology lets you down that you start to scream.
In a recent blog John Scalzi talked about the reasons he still has a landline at home. I’m with him 100% – I love having a telephone line that is not dependent on electricity, batteries, airwaves or my technological skills to enable me to have a conversation with people. I like having a big chunky handset I can tuck under one ear whilst I make notes during a conversation.
We have a lovely old bakelite telephone in our front room. I really love seeing young children trying to figure out how to make a call using the old dial. They usually poke through the holes, expecting to find buttons. When they realise they need to turn the dial, they struggle against the weight of the mechanism, their fingers slipping and failing to complete the circuit. They marvel at the weight of the handset and don’t understand that they have to stay next to the telephone if they want to talk – you can’t carry it any further than the length of the cable. I suppose any technology that isn’t familiar is difficult to learn at first.
I’m going to hit the ‘publish’ button now. Who knows when this will be visible to the world. Think I’ll take a walk and try to find a WiFi signal.