Too much tech gets in the way of a good time

Have I got enough computers and screens and stuff?

My work car is a fine example of a vehicle loaded with tech. It’s got all the bells and whistles – cruise and climate control, trip computer, digital temp and fuel gauges, Apple CarPlay and even more whiz bangery under the hood. It’s gotten to the point where lifting the hood reveals a black plastic cover ominous in it’s dark mystery and none of the parts that make the thing go are easily accessible. Talking to the mechanics they indicate they plug the computer in *first*, then service the car….

I’ve been thinking on this ever since I sold my 2007 Pajero in favour of a 2003 LandCruiser. A no brainer folks in the 4WD community might say, but I was mighty fond of that Pajero and invested a lot of time and effort into it. But the built in tech let me down. For those of you that don’t know the story, the 2007 Pajero’s were the first ones brought out with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) designed to capture harmful stuff out of the exhaust, store it up and then burn it to a crisp in a glorious conflagration! At least that’s how its supposed to work. It did not for me. First attempt at taking this vehicle on a serious 4WD trip and the car’s computer decided it had a serious issue with the filter. Limp back to home, book into Mitsubishi – they plug in their fancy computer and 15 minutes later I’m back on the road with no problems. Not a mechanical issue – clearly software. So I get rid of the DPF and put in a chip to trick the computer into thinking all is well.

Second trip to the desert and the fucking computer does it again – and I’m left in the middle of the Simpson Desert with a car in limp mode, telling me the DPF is faulty. Not bad reporting for a component that’s not there! >:-| Here’s where it gets worse: I limp painfully all the way to Port Augusta – a journey of about 900 kms – to where the Mitsibushi guys plug in the computer and say “Yeah, your DPF is full. Just needs a burn” to which I reply  “There is no FUCKING DPF!” They had not checked the car at all. The technology had stymied us all and even the mechanics had made assumptions about the car from the computer report without actually looking.

Fast forward to the 48 hours after I’ve returned from this trip, and I’ve traded my 2007 Pajero in for a 2003 LandCruiser – with no DPF, much less fanciness (no traction control for example) and I’ve never been happier. Open the hood – there’s the engine. Simple, big and works every time. No fancy, weird stuff happening with the computer in it either.

I find this to be analogous to work at the moment. My colleagues are finding that all the technology is making their working life harder – phones, tablets, laptops and multiple systems they have to work in. I wonder when the push back will begin – the fight to get back to a more simple and less demanding experience with life. After all, the more complicated car in my story certainly didn’t improve my enjoyment of it. The simpler car is better. (and the ute I have which is even less fancy is *more* fun again!). I find myself at an impasse – as an IT guy I naturally advocate for technology, but I’m finding its not enhancing life the way I want it to. It seems that tech is getting in the way of a good time. If it’s not my Apple Watch dinging at me, it’s my personal phone, or my work phone or my email – where does this get fun? And equally – what is this adding to my life?

I’ve already sold half my computers. It was time to send them on. I’m down to a mere 3 laptops, two servers and a desktop computer. This is the lowest number of computers I’ve had in years. And I’m not stopping – it’s time to get rid of more. The freedom I’m experiencing just from this change has been gratifying. Less complexity and more enjoyment when I do use my computers. So I ask you, gentle reader – do you have too much tech in your life? Is it impacting your ability to enjoy the day, the experience or your relationships? And how is it affecting the kids? It’s something to think about…

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