HOME ARCHIVE 2018

Technology is great, but slowing it down is even better

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I was at a location near San Antonio recently where I could not get the Astros game on TV, so I listened to it on my phone’s MLB At Bat app.

I had to listen to it because home games are blocked out in a 250-mile radius of the home team’s city. The Astros were playing the Texas Rangers in Houston.

In this case, it doesn’t make any difference in which city they play; the game is blocked out in San Antonio because Dallas and Houston are both within the 250-mile radius. But At Bat does not block the radio play-by-play, which is all I really needed.

I don’t have a wi-fi at this home away from home, just the signal from my phone. We keep it simple enough to get away, but not simple to the point of shutting out the world.

But the cellular data signal is very poor, and I doubt the video broadcast would play without a lot of lagging. I have settled for the radio version each time I go to this rare place where the data signal is nothing to write home about.

Yes, there is a place in Texas near San Antonio where 4G signals have a hard time reaching. It’s a T-Mobile dead spot. Before you inform me that T-Mobile is by itself a dead spot, I have to defend it. My too expensive Verizon data card also had a hard time getting a good signal there.

So, I got rid of it and tether the data now from one of my phones.

I was listening to the game, and it occurred to me that this would make a good column. After all, not too long ago, we were still dialing up internet connections and listening to Astros games on transistor radios.

For the benefit of my younger readers, don’t fret about the last paragraph. Those are things that you won’t have to experience, although the transistor radio part is still a possibility. You can buy new ones fairly cheap and enjoy the games and music the way your parents used to before cell phones (B.C.)

A very long time ago, an IT guy was telling me that his wife liked it better when she could just dial up an Internet connection, start downloading a large file and go to sleep. When she woke up, the file would be in her computer.

Most of us were glad to get rid of that second telephone line when Wi-Fi became widely affordable. Those of us who just had one line were reachable again by phone at night.

We live in wonderful times. My phone allows me to get around as fast as possible by avoiding traffic jams and makes sure that I do not make any wrong turns while entertaining me with music from a radio station in Europe.

But I reminisce about the earlier days, because the IT guy’s wife had a good point. Slowing things down at times is not such a bad thing.

Taking a break from the hassles of the publishing business and going to a place where a decent Internet connection is rare forces me to focus on other things, like mowing the grass and trying to find out why the riding lawnmower is not starting.

It allows me to think clear thoughts like how I dislike dealing with gasoline lawn mowers that have conspired against me by breaking down all the time. I am able to reflect on important things like putting some thoughts down on paper.

Actually, that’s just an old expression. Thoughts go into the laptop, and then slowly are sent through a lousy signal (after being spell-checked) to a cloud, where they live happily years after.

Technology is great, even when it is slow. Call me a geek, go ahead. I know I am – the old- fashioned type. And loving it. Now where is that jazz station on the FM dial