Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Change is progress? Love it. Hate it. Have to deal with it. by Kaye Spencer

One would think enough time had passed that the electronic v. printed-on-paper debate wouldn't be quite the issue it was a few years ago but, alas, I encountered this very debate just a few days ago. *sigh*

So, for what it's worth, this is my perspective, and it's mostly a commentary about dealing with change.

There are two main reasons people read: 1) to be entertained and 2) to research/learn about a topic. For me, the medium by which I am entertained or by which I gain knowledge does not change my reading experience whether I'm reading via electronic print or paper print. I will couch that comment with conceding that if I need the map or illustration in a particular book, I will choose paper-print over electronic. Yes, the 'feel', the 'smell', and being able to physically turn the pages/touch the pages of a paper-printed book is part of the reading experience for a good share of the reading public, but I believe a time will come when kids no longer have those experiences. While it's sad to me, it's also part of the technologically progressive era in which we live.

I have a plethora of paper-print books and electronic-print books. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. I don't prefer one over the other because each medium meets my reading needs in its own way. The medium by which the printed word is conveyed is simply in is current stage of evolution, which is really the crux of the debate: the evolution of technology. Evolution means change. Change means letting go of familiarity. Letting go of familiarity means leaving your comfort zone. People are "creatures of habit", as the saying goes, and we find it difficult to let go of the things we're comfortable with in order to embrace the latest technology. Every generation since time began has faced this.

I remember this type of phone in my grandparents' houses when I was a kid, which means it was cutting edge technology to my mom, who, now at 82 years old, has seen a lot of telephone technology, and she has mastered the latest: an iPhone 6. *grin* It's all a matter of acceptance.

I'm a prime example of someone who doesn't deal willingly with technological changes. My introduction to the age of computers was on an Apple IIe then I upgraded to an Apple IIGs, albeit grudgingly.

Image courtesy: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_IIGS_Woz.png

I skipped the Mac stage and went straight to PC. That's when I fell madly in love with Word Perfect. Then the unthinkable happened. Microsoft Office took over the word processing world. I fought the Word, but the Word won. So, under duress, I accepted Microsoft Word 2003. Then the evil Word 2007 stepped onto the street. I strapped on my guns, donned my poncho and flat-topped cowboy hat, clamped my teeth down on a stubby cigar, and assumed the squinty-eyed Man with No Name stance. I faced Word 2007 at high noon with both guns blazing, and I ran that bad boy out of town. But to my great chagrin, his younger (and faster-on-the-draw) brother, Word 2010, rode into town, and... Bang, bang, he shot me down. I lost that gunfight, but I made a miraculous recovery, and I will move on to the next update with a new computer in a few months.

We tend to fear, and initially reject, what we don't understand. I will admit that while I have embraced electronic print books wholeheartedly, I have a small collection of 100+ year-old paper-printed books that I cherish. I will hand these down through generations of my family with the hope these books are a reminder of how far technology has evolved.

Until next time,


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