Responding to Shutdown Day
by Tim O'Connell
I recently saw a call for “Shutdown Day” on 24 March 2007. These folks want us to shutdown our computers for 24 hours. Don’t log on. Keep the computer off for 24 hours.
My first thought was, “What the hell for?”
“It is obvious that people would find life extremely difficult without computers, maybe even impossible. If they disappeared for just one day, would we be able to cope?
Be a part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the internet. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate!
Shutdown your computer on this day and find out! Can you survive for 24 hours without your computer?”
Now, I’m kind of cool with this. I read a lot. I have a lot of studying to do between now and the end of April to get my A+ Certification done once and for all. I’ve taken the classes numerous times but never bothered to get the paper. I also read a lot of books. Going without a PC or laptop for the day seems more than possible.
But what about my other computers? Technically, without stretching my imagination, I have a LOT of other computers in my house that I use every day.
All of the telephones in my house are digital and are either wireless or on Voice Over Internet Protocol. Computers. Do I have to shut them off all day too?
And let’s not forget about my favorite computer of all time, my iPod. I listen to music every day, usually via my iPod. Okay, go down in the basement and pull out my…CDs which I would play on my home theater…the amp and tuner and CD/DVD player being a…you got it…take away the shell etc. it’s basically a computer.
Okay…so read books, go to the gym, watch TV…wait…the digital deck…can’t watch TV without utilizing a computer…unless I want to try and pick up the old VHF/UHF channels via an antenna.
And now that I think about it I’d have to walk to the gym, because I don’t know about you, but I can’t drive without a computer…my cars both have computers in them. Walking to the gym and back, that would be a workout in itself in my case. We’re talking about 2 miles there and 2 miles back. Again, you want me to just walk around without my Shuffle? Completely dull. It’s not an overly stressful workout, but none the less, four miles isn’t something I normally do all at once especially without headphones.
Stop using computers, even for 24 hours? 24 hours…let me ask you something else…how are you going to keep track of those 24 hours? What exactly do you think all the clocks in your house are? Anyone still have an analog clock they’re winding up? Wait. Isn’t an analog clock STILL a computer? I know, I’m knitting picks but even the simplest mousetrap is a computer.
I guess my point and my question is, “Exactly how far would you like me to shutdown on the 24th of March? How many of my computers would you like me to shutdown?” I mean I could shutdown completely…but I’m thinkin’ it’s going to be a very long, boring day.
Don’t get me wrong, we do fine without technology a few times a year…we call it camping. We drove our daughter crazy with this and plan on torturing our son the same way. When we camp, the rule is, nothing you have to plug in, not even our iPods. We may use a flashlight to get to the latrines…or the hole that I’ve dug if we’re really out there…but that’s about it. Propane lanterns and stove only if there’s an open fire restriction. When we camp, we read, we eat, we might fish, we read some more, we eat some more, there’s a lot of napping, maybe some hiking or swimming, we play cards, more of that napping thing, but we really turn off the signal for a good couple of days. We do take digital pictures. I suppose if we wanted to be pure, I could dig out my old 35 MM.
You know why I’m jazzed about the iPhone? Because it’s the first step to having more computer in a smaller space. You know Body Glove is going to have something so we can strap it to our left forearms and make it look cool. If they’d offer a bluetooth implant in my skull so that only I could hear what’s being transmitted and I could talk to someone online without having some funky thing hanging off my ear? Dude, I’m so there.
So…no…not going to Shutdown on the 24th of March. It’s way too early to be camping in this part of the country.
Tim really hasn’t been reading too much William Gibson.