Chokehold of Technology

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 12, 2020

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Small Business Success, Workplace Technology

Technology is great, except when it isn’t. As written in a prior post, Magnus relocated its office. Moving furniture and artwork is one thing, moving computers, phones, etc. is quite another. We were fortunate in that our new office space was pre-wired in a way that was easily adaptable. What was unanticipated was the degree of difficulty in moving and setting up our existing equipment in the new place. We didn’t expect the amount of trouble we had in the form of system failures! The copier/scanner is heavy and cumbersome to handle and it took a hit during the move. The finisher accessory “broke” due to some parts that were bent by the movers. We had to call for service. The computer file server, in use for a number of years, wouldn’t restart meaning decades of data were inaccessible. Thankfully, we have a good backup system in place, and all the data were restored to a temporary server (meaning this issue is not resolved.) Even the postage meter died! A replacement was soon delivered, but we quickly ran out of our back up supply of stamps. There were a couple other failures of this sort, all of which provided a harsh reminder of the chokehold technology has on our lives, especially our work lives. All of these failures added to the stress of moving. They cost precious time, and wasted, in my opinion, Melissa’s and my money. We’re operational, but these failures created several days in which we were barely operational and not productive. I know these technologies are here to stay and we love them and need them. But, it is almost like they didn’t want to move and decided to remind us of how dependent we are on them. Is this artificial intelligence at a new low???

Although I am certainly not a Luddite (or, for that matter, a Neanderthal!), I am not particularly fond of technology.  In my opinion, many so called “high tech” devices are unreliable and tend to break far more often than the old devices they replaced.  For example, when Magnus moved into its original office in 1996, there was an ancient refrigerator left behind by the previous occupants of the office.  That old, ugly refrigerator never broke while we used it and was still making ice cubes at the time it was unplugged when it was sold prior to our move.  I have no idea how old that trusty refrigerator was, but I bet it will keep its contents cold for many years to come.  Magnus’ young employees are constantly reminding David and me of the age of various pieces of equipment we still use, saying things like, “that thing is older than me.”  Tired of hearing this, I recently replied with a quote from the lyrics of a song by Moe Bandy, “Beethoven Was Before My Time But I Still Like His Songs.” The lyrics are:

Don’t you know a good thing keeps on hangin’ on

If people liked it way back then well it can’t be all wrong

Beethoven was before my time but I still like his songs

This is to say that, many times, new technologies are just that, new.  They are not necessarily better than the things they replaced, rather, they are merely new.  I know I am “old school” (as someone referred to me just the other day, while ruefully looking at the Alice Cooper tee shirt I was wearing), but moving Magnus’ office and having many things break in the process has made me slightly wistful for simpler times.  And, if you’ve never heard Moe Bandy’s song, check it out.  I have heard it performed many times in my hometown, Fort Myers, by Jerry Dyke, and it mentions a slightly infamous place in Fort Myers that might be familiar to old timers.

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