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The Interwebs. The GPS.

Did these magical new wonders steal some of the wonder out of life?

I've been working on IT for 15 years now (I'm 34) and I'm starting to believe that all this immediately and instant access to information is doing some unplanned harm.
At the touch of a button we now have access to the hard earned multi-generations accumulated knowledge that, among other things, took us to the moon and contributed to the better mouse trap.
I'm somewhat convinced that sites like wikipedia are contributing to make us dumber as a species with its fast-food-like factoids.

And what about GPS? Every time I use the device I feel I'm betraying my first love, the Map. One thing that infuriates me about GPS is that I can't get lost!

What do the old and wise among us feel about this brave new world? Is technology really making this a better place?
 

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Scotch induced reply

At nearly 52 years of age, I am approaching the threshold of "old goat-dom" and have some mixed feelings about technology and computers. I believe they are a wonderful tool and can save a lot of time when searching for specific information. Same with GPS.
However, we as a people must never lose sight of how we got there in the first place. One should know how to look up information in reference books, be able to find North without a map or compass and adjust the gap on a set of points (in the field) without a dwell meter or feeler gauge.
Knowledge is wonderful stuff, but wisdom and self-reliance are priceless. I grieve as I walk with my family around our neighborhood and see the other homes with a monitor's blue glow illuminating the window coverings in each room. These families are interacting with others thousands of miles away, but never get to know each other.
We usually return from our walks and enjoy some time together in front of our outdoor fireplace just chatting, roasting marshmallows and stargazing.
My children are allowed to use the computer for a limited time each day and I feel pleased when they'd rather play in the back yard as a family or help me build something instead.
I enjoy spending an hour or so a day perusing this forum and appreciate the knowledge I can glean from others with more technical (or life) experience, but I don't let it prevent me from spending time with my loved ones or running the Bonnie through its paces either.
Reciprocating engines, tires and life all require balance.
I believe I have just enough left to pour one more Scotch before retiring for the evening...
 

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Old I can do. Wise? Not so much.

There are times when I turn my cell phones off. I have never owned a GPS unit, but I live in a state with very few roads. I communicate most often electronically. I love FI bikes and refuse to go back to carbs. I have an iPod but it selects what I listen to randomly - I choose the songs in the pod, not the order. I have 2 digital cameras and have mastered neither. I collect antique pens and watches, but wear a digital multifunction wrist monstrosity with a serious dearth of style. I have a '71 Beetle that I love to tinker on, but wouldn't trust on a 100 mile trip. I haven't mastered being Green yet.

The point? If technology benefits me and makes my life more enjoyable and less complicated, I'm all for it. If, on the other hand, technology makes my life difficult and takes away from what I want to do, forget it. There is no rhyme or reason to which techno gizmo I will like or use.

As far as getting, lost? Use the map.
 

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I can't help suspecting that they said the same thing, felt the same concerns, when clay tablets gave way to scrolls, and scrolls were copied into books.

I got a GPS for Christmas. It definitely has its uses. But it also has an 'off' switch.
 

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I don't own most of the gadgets. Not because they scare me but I hate the consumerism the has taken hold of us as a race.

The latest, the greatest, the fastest, the smallest.

I am over the "got to keep ahead for the sake of keeping ahead" generation and the debt that it results in.
 

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When I left school I went to college learning a skill in motorcycle mechanics & outboard motors because I loved the engineering side of things and was always fascinated on how things worked especially motorcycles. I've been lucky over the years making a living on the things I love doing, maybe its the challenge of getting things to work. My son now 18 is taking after me and loves art so he is at college learning art & media, but I've always wandered what will happen in years to come as you never see courses on Carpentry or Plumbing or even training to be an Electrician, are we evolving into a society where these trades wont be needed.
As for gadgets, I haven't worn a watch for about 15 years now, there are so many things out there in the world that have the time (computers, microwaves, ovens, GPS units, mobile phones, even the dash on my Triumph) that I haven't needed one, just don't take my laptop away though!!
Anyway pour another one.
 

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Recently I marvelled at the GPS on the bar of my motorcycle and realized in only about 50 years of my lifetime we have gone from Sputnik to satellite-guided scooters.
It's quite remarkable, and I'm loving it.
 

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Being self employed..folks today want an immediate response..want it done yesterday..and want to pay you electronically. I can't imagine living without all todays gadgets if you want to stay competitive. I depend on GPS for customer directions,and i can't tell you how many times without a cell phone i would have lost a job. In todays society you snooze you lose :( There is one gadget that helps relieve the anxiety of lifes trials and tribulations ,for me it's te ROCKET III ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tLTb4P1HD8
 

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It must be a coincidence as this same topic came up in my Sportster forum. Granted I brought up Senior citizens in my reply, but I brought them up because the majority of them do not use all this technology crap that we do and they don't want to learn or have to rely on them. Here's a copy/paste of what I said cuz I ain't writing this all over again....LOL


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I just honestly and truly find them interesting. Especially to hear the hard times they've been through, etc..

For example in today's day of technology...

I did a job for a senior couple this week and I just assumed they had a computer and when I asked how their service was and if they had any questions, they told me they were too old to have one and continued to say:

1. They have no check book.
2. They go to the post office daily to see if they have mail.
3. They have no credit cards.
4. They go to the bank, withdraw money, and pay their bills in person.
5. They don't own a cell phone.

They then told me they had each other, their Schnauzer and the TV and that was all they needed.

I just think senior citizens remind us of what life should be like. Simple and stress-free. Granted they have other issues to worry about like Medicare, etc...but over-all, they seem to be content with life and can handle whatever problems arise better they anybody "our age" could ever dream of.
 

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The thing I deduce from this topic so far is that many of us do IT and scotch :D
 

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No scotch, but I'm sufficiently sleep deprived...
I bought a GPS after getting lost on the way to a show ( I provide production )...it only takes one sign being down to make for a very bad day sometimes! I didn't get a "Navigation System", just a basic, at the time current, Garmin V.
The GPS is invaluable when dirt biking or hiking and has saved my butt on the way to a few shows. But it doesn't always pick the "real" fastest route, doesn't know you want twisty roads because your on the bike today or don't want to take the mountain pass because your driving a straight truck at max weight.
I still love the paper map, especially the Gazzeteer, and often head out on the bike hoping to get lost. It's still nice to know the GPS is in the backpack when the low fuel light ticks on...
 

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There's certainly a strong case for using GPS in business situations, when you need to get from A-B quickly but a map is better for planning those detours and those spontaneous diversions.
Sometimes you set out not knowing where you want to go, just that today I will cover 300 mls. Try sticking a compass in your GPS!!!
 

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Try sticking a compass in your GPS!!!
Actually my Garmin does have a compass bearing indicator, as well as an on/off switch.

The GPS is without a doubt the most useful "mod" I've made to my bike. Using the mapping software, you can plot a quite complex route and it frees you to enjoy the ride without having to think about directions. If you do any kind of long-distance riding you'll never regret adding one to your bike.
 

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I just think senior citizens remind us of what life should be like. Simple and stress-free. Granted they have other issues to worry about like Medicare, etc...but over-all, they seem to be content with life and can handle whatever problems arise better they anybody "our age" could ever dream of.
too bad you gotta be old dirt before you are essentially forced to live simple and stress free!

:D
 

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I do not like the idea of GPS. I do not want a GPS. I have no need for a GPS. I have been lost in more than one town. The police are very friendly. I was actually lost in the middle of Boston trying to find a Triumph dealer. Stopped and told the officer that i was tired of breaking his traffic laws and could he please assist me. I got directions by way of about 7 Dunkin Doughnuts. It is actually easier to navigate by Dunkin Doughnuts than by GPS in Boston.

With GPS my story of my trip to Boston would have been, I went to Boston picked up brake pads and went home. Without GPS it was much more exciting. I had a wonderful time meeting a few of the locals and had a somewhat funny story to tell when I got home.

It bothers me to think of the experiences I would not of had if I had a GPS. I could ride from point A to point B and never experience the wonderful thing known as human kindness. In my opinion unless you are using it for work GPS takes just a little bit more away from the human experience.

Maybe if we are lucky one day we can exist without ever speaking to another human being. I think I will go home and text message my wife. :rolleyes:
 

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I grieve as I walk with my family around our neighborhood and see the other homes with a monitor's blue glow illuminating the window coverings in each room. These families are interacting with others thousands of miles away, but never get to know each other.
One of the reasons groups like the Amish reject technologies like tv, radio, telephones, etc., is that those technologies encourage people to separate themselves from face-to-face interaction with the rest of the community. That lifestyle is pretty extreme and I'd have a have a hard time living it myself, but I'll admit there's a certain wisdom in that part.

Yet another old goat in the IT biz with little use for fancy technology...
 

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LoVel, I understand your point but GPS can do the opposite as well. Thanks to GPS, my story of my recent visit to Indianapolis was "we got up, went straight to the Children's Museum (fantastic, BTW), and when we heard from my Uncle, we drove straight to meet him." We fit a lot more into the day, and saved considerable aggravation, thanks to the GPS. That's not to say I'll have it with me on motorcycle rides (I might, I might not), but it can help you connect with others as well.
 

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While I'm a GPS user on rides - download routes programmed - I have a great tendency to make the device spout out an impertinent 'recalculating' as I see interesting roadways and veer off route. Nothing ever said you had to follow the program...
 
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