A revolution is a foot. It's not because the Big Brother is watching you. George Orwell was wrong. The government has problems of its own. Who is watching you? That depends on which side of the revolution you are on. It's not between the proletariats and the aristocracy or even the urban and rural dwellers. It's not even necessarily a divide between old and young, although it sometimes falls out that way. The real divisive point is computer savvy verses, don't know how to turn one on.
There are certain professions, no matter how grand, that just didn't switch over when all the office workers did back in the 1980's. Hence you might be the office boy at a law firm and know very simply how to bring up accounts. You may be a doctor and have no idea. Many fields of medicine still rely on the handwritten word. On the bedside at many hospitals are charts. You may be a self employed electrician, or plumber or roofer and never have felt the need to get your books on software. After all, perhaps your accountant takes care of all that. But what happens when your accountant wants to send you and email?
Email is so much nicer than a fax, because all the documents get stored one neat place. There is a copy on the computer even if you print out a hard copy. With electronic signaturing even a real estate agreement can now be done via satellite connection. No need to fly to Honolulu from New York to seal the deal. It's going to save a ton on gas, if you have the right equipment. Email is less invasive than the phone because it doesn't ring or make noise. You have the capacity to block annoying "spam" messages. I wish there were a way to block certain callers. Short of having an unlisted number, which may block more than you want, I'm not sure that's an option.
It is also annoying how the phone company charges month after month for the unlisted status. What new work would they need to do to re-create the status every month? Email doesn't require such penny ante costs. You can get a free email address and block whomever you like. You can even pick up your email on any device with a free address. You can't do that with a phone. The phone company charges for caller ID, unless it's a cell phone which shows the number on a screen. Once again you wonder how these landline providers get off charging for each and every specific thing. They are losing customers at a fast clip, as people turn to their computers for long distance connections.
The only problem is. . . .those people who still don't know what a computer is or how to use one. I have a friend who was so annoyed that his landlord could not accept his rent via paypal. He tried to explain to her she would have the money instantly, no more waiting for the check to clear or the snail mail to arrive. It wouldn't have cost her anything if she had set up her account as a personal account. She looked at him blankly because she didn't even know what an email was. No amount of explaining how simple it would be could convince her. At this point, she wouldn't even need to invest in a $500 computer system. She could send and pick up email, and electronic payments via a $200 smart phone such as a Blackberry or an iPhone. She missed the revolution.
A smart phone is the perfect accessory for a person who really doesn't know what to do with a computer. If they have no interest in watching a movie or burning a CD or doing their taxes on a computer, they can still send and receive email on a smart phone. That one object replaces so many other things: it's a datebook calendar, complete with an alarm system. It IS my only time device in my house, meaning it's my wake up alarm as well. It is my portable camera. Not only did I document my trip East and back West, but it's handy if you're in an accident or if you see a crime. You don't even have to download the photos onto another device to send them, you can email them directly off of the phone. For those friends who still use a generic cell phone, you can send text messages as well off of an iPhone.
A smart phone will replace every address book you ever ran out of pages for. There is infinite space for names, physical addresses, phone numbers and email addresses and best of all they are linked. For simple reminder notes you can bring up a key pad and write. So what's the deal with an electric typewriter? Even if you prefer using one for drafts or poetry, anything you like well enough to submit you'll probably want more than one copy of. With a computer or a smart phone anything with "memory" you can store the piece after typing it once. With a regular typewriter you either have to invest in a copy machine or have someone re-type it into a word processing machine.
Once upon a time my credit card company would send me coupons in the mail automatically when I'd earned enough "points" using their credit. I noticed sometime last year that stopped happening. I was able to get them to issue me one by calling the 800 number, but it wasn't automatic. Clearly they prefer their customers to "visit" their website. All the available prizes are shown with the number of points required. Probably 3000 jobs were replaced with the slick efficiency of the website. I can look up my own accounts, due dates, minimum payment, available prizes, and unlike my bank, it's a free service.There's no doubt it's more accurate, faster, and more convenient than making a person over the phone look up each piece of information on each card. But what about those people who can't access the internet? The gap grows wider every day.