Around 1811, a group of workers angry about the technology of weaving looms formed bands of disguised workmen who broke into factories and destroyed the textile machines. Today a “Luddite” is one who mistrusts technology and tries to avoid it whenever possible.
Why I am a Luddite
As most of you know my recent book, Celts and Kings, has been widely acclaimed. Several friends in my writing organization suggested that I open up a Myspace account and advertise my novel and website on it. People flow to Myspace.
I went to the Myspace website thinking that it would be a great place to advertise my book. After all it was free. Unfortunately, it took me several tries to get the basic information about my book on the site. My computer kept crashing because I am still using Windows 98. This operating system is slow and my machine is also slow, but in general the job gets done and I see no reason to upgrade.
I guess this make me a Luddite because I am still using an antiquated system and I resist new technology. However, there are several advantages to using Windows 98. First, no one writes viruses for it anymore. Second, the operating system cuts out a lot of ads and other spam that flood newer operating systems. This is especially true on my mail server, Yahoo. When my dial-up account loads another ad, I simply go to another page and the slow ad never gets loaded on my machine.
At one point recently, I did go to a computer store to check out an upgrade. Sadly, they were only selling Vista systems that I refused because of all the problems I hear my students are having with Vista.
So getting back to Myspace; I opened up an account. After several system crashes, I managed to get the info about my book on there. I could only hope that people would read about my great book and buy it. I had nothing to lose. At least I did manage to get all my info on it.
However, I also got an email from some 26 year-old woman living in Russia telling me that she had added me to her profile (whatever that means.) She would like to hear “a word or two” from me. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, I had no way of finding out who this person was because of Myspace system crashes.
Among the many reasons (and there are many) not to respond to her email was the knowledge that any of my overseas emails and phone calls would be monitored by Homeland Security and who needs that hassle. Also, my Luddite paranoia suspects this email is a scam.
More evidence that I am a Luddite is that I don’t use cable TV or satellite. My rabbit ears work fine and as long as I can get PBS, I am happy. I did tell my cable providers that when they allow me to choose my channels rather than having them force me to buy several channels I’ll never use (such as shopping networks, etc), I would consider cable. Unfortunately, they did not agree to that. I suppose though that when they change to high definition TV in a couple of years I will have to do something.
I still use my 96 Saturn, which get 44 miles a gallon on the road. Rather than buy a new car at 177,000 miles, I had the engine rebuilt which is, I guess, is recycling my car and a lot cheaper than buying a new one.
Eventually I will probably have to upgrade my computer, maybe three or four years down the road. Maybe I’ll make it a Macintosh. Anything to avoid the typical problems and glitches that come with Windows.
So am I a Luddite? Probably, and proudly so.