Monday, July 21, 2014

'Luddite' suffers without computers, mobile phones

Image: An 1812  reward poster for Luddite attacks in the Leeds area - courtesy fellow bloggers at

THE  term “Luddite”, originating from anti-machinery protesters in 19th century England, has found a new life in the computer age to describe those who resist technology.
It's often said with  curled lips, raised eyebrows or a shrug of distaste but a certain Ormiston man  wears it like a badge of honour.
The man and his wife are now in their seventies. They refuse to get a computer or even a mobile phone.
Bob, asking for his surname to be withheld, talked yesterday about their increasing difficulty in day-to-day life.
“We are increasingly marginalised – there are so many things you can't do – and I guess we are getting a chip on each shoulder,” he said.
“You can't get a letter published in the paper because they get them by computer and turn them over on the website and you can't even get the arrival time of a plane over the phone any more.
“The only contact with a lot of companies and services appears to be by computer.”

BOB was scornful of “anti-social networking” because he said the better form of communication was face to face – “and we are losing a lot of that”.
He said he had briefly used computers in the early 1990s when working as a counsellor with a federal government agency.
“We used to sit down with the people and get to know them but as soon as computers came in we were staring into the screen all the time and not talking to the people anymore,” he said.
Bob admitted that with four daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren he often faced family pressure to catch up with technology.
However, he was adamant that he would not change. With the hope of solace with like-minded folk, he sometimes thought about starting a  “Luddite club”, he said.
Bob was disappointed that his faith in the traditional newspaper Classifieds was not rewarded with a sale for the telescope he advertised.

THE Lumina 200x and collection of 60 hardcover books on astronomy and space exploration, at an asking price of $150, had not attracted a call, he said.
“The telescope was my grandson's but he quickly lost interest and the books belonged to a friend who had a stroke,” Bob said.
He said he had contacted an astronomy group to see if they would be interested, especially in the sizable book collection, but did not receive a call back.
In closing, Bob issued a word of warning to mobile phone users, quoting a neurosurgeon's suspicions about a possible link with tumours around the ear.
And he said the federal budget was another of his current concerns as it did nothing for the environment but seemed to add up to more freeways and more cars.

This colum  appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor the Redland City Bulletin.

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