I have come to the realization that I am an analog guy in a digital world. Technology is starting to pass me by and I long for the days of when things made sense to me. For instance, I love working on cars. When one had a problem, I could figure it out in short time and fix it. Now cars have not one but several computers to manage systems such as engine fuel, to open the rear gate on SUVs and even power to the AC controls on the dash. When there is a software glitch or a module failure the vehicle becomes dead weight. Computers and software are making the average guy more dependent on car dealers and shops that invest lots of money in scanners, software etc. just to do maintenance and repair on today’s cars. I love working on my old car projects because they make sense. My VW Bug has 12 wires in its electrical system and no computers or relays. Once I finish building the engine that was flood damaged, it will run as good if not better than a car that is ‘worth’ 20 times more.
Another area where I feel like technology has left me in the dust is I loved running audio in churches. Give me a Yamaha or Mackie 32 channel analog board with countless knobs and dials and I am all over it. I can make an average singer on stage sound like a star. I can mix a band where it sounds natural with no instrument dominating the stage. In today’s world digital sounds boards are the norm. They are smaller in size and to get all the adjustments you need to make; they are in layers. You must think three dimensional in order to get to what you need to adjust. I had rather see every knob and slider in front of me instead of hunting for the right layer to make a simple adjustment. I had rather roll trax from a tape machine instead of clicking an audio file on a computer for a singer’s accompanying music. Between the fact that digital has taken over and my hearing is not as good as it used to be, I had to retire from operating audio in churches. It was time for the younger people to step up. I had come to the conclusion that I should back off after doing well than to be asked to step down when things were not going so well.
The digital world is all around us, even in how we see what time it is. Most people who wear watches has a square dark device on their arms that is connected by Bluetooth to their smart phone. Recently someone asked me what time it was. I showed them my watch which is a G-Shock which has analog hands. They looked at it and again asked me what time it was. Since there were no large digital numbers on the watch they could not interpret what the time was. I glanced at my watch and told them the time. They asked me how I could understand what time it was by looking at the two hands on the watch. My response was, ‘how could you not tell what it was?’
Don’t get me wrong, I do love most of the technology around us that makes our lives easier. They may make things easier in the short term, but they are more complex. A simple failure will affect so many other things. For instance, I have an app on my phone where I can adjust the temperature in the house. If that smart thermostat loses connection to the internet, the app no longer works, and the air conditioner can’t work either since it does not know what to do. The analog thermostat may make you walk over to it to make an adjustment but those rarely had a failure. Maybe getting up out of the chair or out of bed to adjust the temperature was a good thing. You get a little more exercise and the chance of a system failure was minimal.
I do love being able to find answers almost instantly by looking it up on the Internet. I learn a lot from watching how people do things on YouTube. But I had rather flip through pages of a shop manual when I work on a car rather than clicking on links to find the process of how to make a repair or modification.
I guess I say all of this to point out that as I get older, I appreciate the simple things more. However, I wrote this on a digital computer, not a typewriter so this was easy to do…. as long as I saved my work.
I excelled in an analog world but as digital progresses, maybe I feel like I am being left behind.