WITHIN THE FAMILY
Technology is All Around Us
By Alex Sachare
the last person on this planet without a cell phone?
Don't get me wrong, I am not a Luddite. I enjoy gadgets as much
as anyone and am perfectly willing to embrace new technology. This
is being composed on a nice Dell computer that hardly ever crashes,
in the latest version of Bill Gates' Word, and will be zapped
electronically to our designer down on the Lower East
I can program the clock on my VCR so it's not constantly flashing
12:00; sometimes I can even coax one of my two machines into
recording a program (which, of course, I'll never have time to
watch). I was happy to ditch my slide rule in favor of those
newfangled "pocket" calculators that were so big, as I recall, the
only pocket they fit into was on a kangaroo. I went out and
invested in an electric typewriter so I could write my senior
thesis without having to pound each key. And I still say the IBM
Selectric was one of the great machines of modern
Don't try fooling me, either. No eight-tracks have ever crossed
my doorstep. Yes, Beta or VHS had me stumped for awhile, but I came
out on the right side of that one, too.
phones are different. I'm thinking of getting one just for
emergencies, but otherwise I plan on keeping it turned off. I value
my quiet time, and neither need nor want to be reachable 24/7.
Whatever it is, it can wait.
drives me crazy when I see somebody zooming along a highway at 70
miles an hour, cell phone to the ear. Hey, I just want to get home
in one piece. If your conversation is so important, pull
was at a meeting a few weeks ago, listening to a speaker about a
subject I wanted to learn more about, and every few minutes I was
subjected to the discordant chirp or bothersome beep of one cell
phone or another. At least five of them must have gone off in
various parts of the room. If my train of thought was derailed, I
can only imagine how the speaker felt.
kicker was that the speaker was discussing one of Columbia's
ventures in the digital technology world, the very world that
blessed us with those little noisemakers!
Which brings us to this issue of CCT, featuring the
first part of a two-part series on digital technology. It's a big
topic and we can't possibly touch all the bases, but we hope this
series gives you a feel for the impact it is having on the way
students learn, teachers teach and Columbia is run.