On becoming a Luddite
I was a pioneer in the computer industry. I operated an IBM 360 series machine. I published one of the first computer magazines, Infosystems. I started my own company on an Apple Plus machine, if you can believe it. I am a published techie of sorts.
Remember the story in the dead of the blizzard in February when I agreed to reinstate Comcast cable because I was snowed in and could not take the silence any longer? I called them and requested that they bring back the box. Well, it is now May and I just got the box in the mail.
They could have mailed it to me long ago.
So, I plugged it in and a message appeared: Your service is not programmed, call this number…
I asked my wife to call because 1) my blood pressure goes up at the sound of Comcast, and 2) I knew I could not control my temper.
I sat on the couch and listened as she had the Comcast person speaking on the Comcast digital speaker telephone.
COMCAST: Your box isn’t programmed.
ME CALLING TO MY WIFE: Ask him why they sent a box that wasn’t programmed.
WIFE: What must we do?
COMCAST: I can fix it, just read to me the code on the back of the box.
WIFE (with flashlight and reading glasses): You mean the number that begins with SNJ XQL93684PQ?
COMCAST: That didn’t take. Is there another one.
WIFE (Hanging on the flashlight and box with Comcast Digital Speakerphone resting precariously on the TV shelf): Is it this one: SNX KGL45780BZ?
COMCAST: That didn’t take either. Is there a barcode on the bottom of the box?
ME SAYING IN THE BACKGROUND: For Christ’s sake.
WIFE: Yes, here is the barcode” SNL K240DCSHJ.
COMCAST: Nope. You must bring the box to our office and get it programmed.
Today, I bought my wife an iPod at the Mac store.
I gave it to her for Mother’s day (early). Trouble is, she and I could not figure out how to open the plastic case in which we could see the iPod.
I went on line and found hundreds of people talking about how to open the iPod case.
I swear that I am now becoming a Luddite.
“I can’t open my iPod package”
“The Luddites were a social movement of British textile artisans in the nineteenth century who protested—often by destroying mechanized looms—against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their entire way of life.
This English historical movement should be seen in the context of the era's harsh economic climate due to the Napoleonic Wars, and the degrading working conditions in the new textile factories. Since then Luddite has been used to describe those opposed to industrialization or new technologies .
The Luddite movement, which began in 1811 and 1812 when mills and pieces of factory machinery were burned by handloom weavers, took its name from the fictive King Ludd. For a short time the movement was so strong that it clashed in battles with the British Army. Measures taken by the British government included a mass trial at York in 1812 that resulted in many executions and penal transportations.
The principal objection of the Luddites was against the introduction of new wide-framed automated looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers.”
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Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada