Tag Archives: technology

The psychology of technology.

We cancelled church this morning due to heavy snowfall and poor driving conditions. The word has gone out, but I’m in my office at the church just in case some poor soul who didn’t hear the news comes to the church. The coffee’s on.

This morning I was thinking about how technology and development has made us more cautious. I think of when Dixie and I were dating and then married and living in Regina. When we would visit her parents in Prince Albert, we preferred to take the single-lane secondary highways because they were more scenic and fun than the two-lane highway between Regina and Saskatoon. Somewhere along the line Dixie got a cell phone, mostly for when she was on the road. Then either the contract expired or the phone died and we no longer had that phone as a safety net. Now when we drove up to Prince Albert in winter there was always some concern about whether we should take that route since we didn’t have a phone. This wasn’t an issue before we had the phone, but after we’d had the phone it was a significant concern. I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology of that shift.

This morning there are probably elderly men saying that when they were young they would get to church even if they had to walk or drive uphill, backwards, through 5 feet of snow and zero visibility in -40 degree weather. We now have better vehicles with more powerful engines, more sophisticated traction control, and better tires than in those days of legend, yet we’re more likely to cancel events due to weather. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Maybe it’s not that we’re more cautious but that we’re more conscious, more aware of dangers that can be avoided. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that communication is so easy these days: telephones, emails, blogs, texts, Facebook… back then fast, effective communication was not such a guarantee. Even if they wanted to cancel the service, they’d have limited means to communicate that to the church community.

We can look back and say, “There was a time when we wouldn’t dream of cancelling church, no matter what the reason.” But then how do we really know? Perhaps they were dreaming of cancelling church on a cold and snowy morning in 1932 or 1873 but couldn’t, but maybe, had they eyes to see into the future, they’d have said, “Boy, I wish we’d have that kind of communication ability now!”

Technical difficulties

(Warning: mildly boring post ahead.)

It occurred to me tonight that it’s high time for another England post. However, we’re experiencing some technical difficulties with our desktop, which holds our photographs. I suppose I could just use a memory stick to move them over to the laptop. Maybe I will.  Maybe.

So a couple of weeks ago our flatscreen monitor, which we bought a couple of years ago, started acting funny. Normally, when the computer shuts down, the monitor goes into power-save mode and a blue light flashes around the power button. When the desktop is turned on, the monitor also turns on. However, a couple of weeks ago things changed. When I turned on the desktop, the monitor wouldn’t turn on, but would actually do the reverse: the blue light flashing around the power button would turn off completely and the screen would remain dark even after the computer had booted up. Only by a repeated sequence of unplugging the power to the monitor, plugging it back in, waiting to see if the blue light turns on and if so letting it sit for a while, then unplugging it and plugging it in again would the monitor eventually stay on. It’s almost as if the monitor has to warm up.

This began after a week of storms during which our power repeatedly turned off while the computer was on.  Everything is plugged into a heavy-duty surge strip, but I thought perhaps the monitor’s hardware had been adversely effected by the frequent power surges.

Today I plugged the monitor into the laptop and bing-bang-boom, it worked fine.

Not long after this (or possibly at the same time), our internet connection starting acting up.  Suddenly, the computer was giving “weak or no signal” alerts on its network connection. The wireless network adaptor (an alternate option on the desktop) was picking up the campus wireless, but only a very weak signal, which it constantly dropped.

I had one of the school’s computer people over to check it out, thinking it was a problem with the line coming into the house.  But the land line works well and is very fast when connected to the laptop. So the problem is the desktop.

It’s either hardware or software.  I’m not aware of any major software updates or changes in the last couple of months. Thinking my ethernet card was worn out or broken, I borrowed an ethernet card from the school to see if that would make a difference.  I haven’t installed it yet, but I’m not holding my breath.  After doing some online reading today and speaking with one of the school’s computer technicians, I’m worried that perhaps it’s the motherboard going.  There seems to be some kind of power loss going on.

I know nothing about motherboards.

However, I would consider buying a new motherboard if a) it would be cheaper than replacing the whole desktop, and b) it’s not too complicated to install.

I’m looking at you, Toni–what do you make of this?

At any rate, I’ve started transferring about 80GB of data from the hard drive to the external hard drive, just in case things go bad.