Friday, February 13, 2015

A Traveling Ludite

I remember the first time I heard the term "Ludite." One of my all-time favorite bosses and I woman who I greatly admire used the word to refer to her challenges with adapting to new technology. I remember laughing at the phrase, thinking to myself that technology wasn't such a big deal. Now I know that I too am a Ludite. Or perhaps, a Ludite-lite.

Josh has always been the techie one in our partnership. At home, he was in charge of setting up our wifi and connecting our complicated TV/stereo/projector system. He also installed fancy light switches for us with different buttons corresponding to various lighting combinations, most of which were labelled inaccurately leading me to push every button until I could turn on my desired appliance. Still, I didn't truly embrace the notion of being a Ludite until a few months into our travels.

Technology and travel go hand in hand these days. We can check-in for flights and get boarding passes that live on our cell phones. We buy SIM cards for our unlocked iPhones and top up on prepaid calling and data plans in each new locale. We even get our paper mail delivered to us via the internet. And yet when things don't work seamlessly, I lose my shit.

Like the time I was making a photo collage of our travels in Tonga to send to my nieces and nephew. Inexplicably the app on my iPad decided to flip one of photos upside down. Just one photo, mind you. It was crazy-making. What should have taken a few minutes took more than an hour as I tried to outsmart my cranky app. Finally I succeeded in sending the postcard via Postagram, but I was convinced that technology hates me.

On several occasions, my blogging app Blogsy has spontaneously deleted an entire post as I tried to fix a one last grammatical error before publishing. After nearly a year of using the app, I finally discovered -- inadvertently -- that it saves my revisions within the app, allowing me to revert to an older version with a single click. If only I had figured this trick out before retyping several blog posts by memory and with no shortage of swear words.

Each time Apple releases a new iOS, I am confounded by the prospect of updating all my apps. I lament the fact that some of my apps will no longer work on the iPhone 3 which I got second hand from a friend. Google Hangouts, my favorite app for calling the US while abroad, won't work on my phone anymore. And although another sweet friend has given me an iPhone 4, I can't use it until Josh sets it up for me lest I go mad trying to do so myself.

And as for my technology working together to make my life easier, I'm certain that is just a fantasy. I had a fitbit that I couldn't get to sync with my iPad. Luckily I lost it less than two months into our travels so I am no longer frustrated with its complexity packaged in a small lime green smiling robot. My iPad takes ages to import photos from my camera's SD card, for which I finally bought a special adapter so I could stop using Josh's laptop and email as an intermediary. That is to say, when you see photos on my blog posts just know I have spent too much time transferring them to my device and then uploading them to the internet.

Speaking of internet, man it is slow in some countries. I often have to practice deep breathing techniques as I wait for email to load, and Facebook can be impossible. Videos are out of the question and when I accidently click on one it can cause my iPad to crash when I'm connected to shaky wifi. There are times when I wish wifi wasn't available just so I could escape the frustration of having it barely work.

For someone who loves to create graphics, write blogs and stay connected with friends and loved ones over the internet, I am in no way, shape or form good with technology. I muddle along because I cannot escape the reach of technology, nor can I ignore its usefulness even when a simple task takes me ten times longer than it should. Still, I draw the line at Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. There are just some things that this Ludite isn't ready to adopt, no matter how cool they seem.



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