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Here are a few fun facts I wanted to throw out before we get good and rolling here. If he hadn't departed way too early, Steve Jobs would be a still young-ish 62 right now. Bill Gates is an actual 62. Steve Wozniak, Jobs' partner in some of his greatest accomplishments, is 67.

I mention this not just to prove I know how to execute a Google search (though, kinda cool, huh?), but to make a broader point about technology and perceptions. There is the misconception that folks of my, ahem, "life experience" level aren't comfortable with technology.

My point is, we invented it.

OK, not literally me. I mean, the Lovely Mrs. Smith and I still spend time throwing the TV controller back and forth between us, yelling "you fix it!" when we get the dreaded "buffering" alert on our streaming service.

But the idea that we (as in "not me" but a lot of people with whom I share characteristics, if not talents) don't know a bit from a byte or a hard drive from a "Hard Day's Night" needs to be viewed through a specific lens. Say, the lens on a cellphone. Much like the one a couple of folks who are or would be 60-somethings came up with.

And why I point this out is that I've had a bit of an epiphany about the welcoming of various current technology iterations into my previously less-Brave New World.

It's a matter of stages.

You know, stages. Like the Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief: Shock, Anger, Bargaining, Doc, Dopey, Tinkers, Evers. Something like that. The details escape me, but I'm firmly locked in on my Stages of Technology Acceptance.

Stage One: The Christmas Day phase. Open a new app or device and the excitement builds: I can order my chicken and pick it up without having to talk to a human being! And order my coffee and pick it up without having to talk to a human being! And get my groceries without having to talk to a human being! This is great!

OK, maybe it's a little concerning the most exciting thing for me is the "not having to talk to another human being" part. But they don't have to talk to me, so "win-win."

Stage Two: Veruca Salt phase. You know, the spoiled little girl from the less-strange, Gene Wilder "Willie Wonka" movie? Now that I know a device works and what it produces, "I want it NOW!" What do you mean shipping takes two whole days? I have to read the menu? You have to remember to turn it on? This thing doesn't work in the middle of Joshua Tree, mostly because there's not another cell tower, or living, breathing person within 20 miles?

When it comes to tools, gadgets, apps and services, I go from amazed to jaded faster than a pre-teen goes through the entire spectrum of emotions. And in the twinkling of an algorithm (OK, I know algorithms don't twinkle. Go with me here) I become the tech consumer equivalent of a football fan: I couldn't possibly do it, but I'm pretty sure it can be done better.

Stage Three: The Smartest Guy in the Room phase. There are two things on our phones we live to show other human beings -- pictures of our pets and/or kids and our latest apps. I'm not sure exactly which brings us more joy. Apps won't wreck your car. At least, not at this point.

There is incredible satisfaction in knowing you can show others the squirrels playing in your driveway from the home security cam app on your phone. Or that you're able to lower the garage door you left up, thanks to another app. That's tempered only slightly by the realization that you and your friends can now see, in living color, that you managed to lower the garage door on the squirrels. Yep, no app's going to clean that up.

Look, I'll admit to screwing up a lot of tech stuff. But then, truth be told, I've screwed up a lot of other stuff, too. So the tech may not exactly be the culprit, or even an unindicted co-conspirator here.

But most of my apps have made my life easier, odious tasks less taxing and a lot of stuff more fun. And for all its drawbacks, I enjoy the internet to the degree that I'm glad Al Gore invented it.

By the way, Gore is a spritely 70. Just throwing it out there.

Commentary on 06/22/2018

Print Headline: Three stages of tech

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