Friday, April 21, 2006

Low tech

Have this on-going romance with old things and outmoded gadgets. Colleagues here at the office have long ago switched to memory sticks in storing and transferring their computer files. And they've recently listed a 40 gb external hard drive among future office purchases. Been dreaming for about a month now of buying one for my own use. Problem is, some other expense always seems to crop up whenever there's extra money available for it. So, have to content myself at the moment with this 250 mb zip disk and the older 1.4 mb floppies.

The zip disk comes with a drive that has this small window on top and a thin flexiglass cover. One day the cover fell loose from all that carrying and reconnecting. A few strips of packaging tape now hold it in place, which make my zip drive look like the frankenstein of all zip drives. Have to carry the whole contraption, with all the connecting wires and power cables, in my backpack when there's work to be done at home or when my home pc's antivirus system needs updating. Been running this scene in my head where unsophisticated mall guards mistake my monster-like zip drive for a home-made bomb.

Still have this boxful of floppies at home. Can't imagine now how my masteral thesis got through to its final form with documents and drafts saved in these storage devices. Have a personal project of converting all my personal files (now running around 40 gb) into pdf and saving them in separate floppies. A major problem of course is the regular wear and tear of these diskettes over time. Have to take care of these museum pieces (floppies were first created by IBM in 1967) like a carton of eggs. Always have at least one floppy with me when going to the office. And that would already be like Batman carrying with him the entire Batcave computer's memory. With data contained in that floppy, my office pc can update my personal budget and parenting schedule, print out my monthly calendar, record entries in my journal, and display posts in-progress for this blog.

Kids who now play basketball with oldies like us call such things bulok (Filipino for "rotten") or panis ("spoiled", especially food). The more modern term would be lotech or low tech. The same terms would perhaps apply to my VCD collection which has been recently made obsolete by my brother's more interactive and advanced DVD discs. There's this certain satisfaction, however, in using such artifacts. And not just because one makes do with what one can afford at any given time. People now use and experience things more transiently. So low techs or technological laggards like me are left to benefit from more romantic interactions with old gadgets.

With every visit to a former partner's house these past few weeks, been taking two or three of these audio cassette tapes with me. There must be fifty or more such tapes in my old collection. These tapes had been an integral part of my daughters' musical experience until about two years ago when all my things had to be moved back to my parents' home. Was thinking then that my oldest daughter would continue playing the tapes if these were left at her mother's place, remembering our early morning preparations for school or our weekends at home playing pc games while the stereo blurted out scratchy music from these old records.

But, found out some days back that the tapes have only provided a good resting place for dust and ants. My daughter has her own CD collection now. So, plugged my stereophonic home PC speakers to this old cassette walkman from the office. And, been spending some solitary nights in Tartarus lately listening to my old cassette tapes: REM, U2, The Smiths, Tears for Fears, Smashing Pumpkins, The Teeth, Natalie Merchant, The Cranberries, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Eraserheads, Moonpools and Caterpillars, Lemonheads, Sandwich, Rizal Underground, Paul Simon, Garbage, Sheryl Crow. There are more to come. Many of these records are already out of circulation. Bet one couldn't even get CD copies of these in major stores here in Manila.

Am thinking of writing this popular tv host whose weekend program features poor schmucks like me and grants their wishes. Sure would like to have a stereo with tape decks and a CD player.

This is the song I've been singing my whole life
I've been waiting like a knife
To cut open your heart
And bleed my soul to you
I did it all for you
You and you and you and you
The Crying Tree of Mercury
Machina/The Machines of God
Smashing Pumpkins

5 comments:

roy choco said...

pre,

pinaglaruan ko yung lectiograph, sinampolanko na ilagay yung strunk and white, ngayon di ko na ma-delete. bk kaya mong i-delete dahilikaw yung gumawa

the martian said...

tol:

dinelete ko na yung strunk and white. sinubukan ko sanang ilipat yung comment mo dun sa editorial review. pero nadelete ko yung "book rating" at "shelved books" files mo. subukan mo kayang i-rate ulit yung bonifacio's bolo 'pag log-in mo. 'pag hindi umubra, delete mo na lang yung book at saka mo na lang ilagay ulit sa book shelf mo.

roy choco said...

Yun din yung sinusubukan kong gawin kanina, ilipat yung comment ko sa editorial review. Hindi ko magawa kaya nag sample ako ng ibang libro. Dapat Tolkien na lang ang ni-sample ko para ok lang maiwan.

Anyway, ang napansin ko, automatic yung editoral review na lumalabas, mukhang galing sa amazon kasi yung strunk and white mayroon.

the martian said...

tol,

ok na, naayos ko na. hindi ko kasi ma-trace kahapon yung tunay na file nung book mo. ayun, na-delete ko tuloy. mukhang yung last file usually yung pinaka-recent. so binura ko na yung redundant "book info" files.

oo, mukhang automatic na naglalagay ng review kapag available yung title sa amazon. pero ang tanda ko ay puede mong baguhin o maglagay ng sarili mong review dito. log-in ka lang, click manage applications. punta ka dun sa book info file, then fill up yung "my editorial review string".

puede ka rin pala maglagay ng picture nung book. puedeng sa blogspot mo ipost yung picture file. create ka ng entry. me icon dun for downloading pics di ba? pag lumabas, punta ka sa html view. copy mo yung url nung pic (yung href, hindi yung src). tapos yun ang ilagay mo dun sa book info file sa ning. i-define mo na lang din yung width at height ng image. tapos, puede mo na i-delete later yung entry mo sa blogspot.

the martian said...

tol:

nakalimutan kong sabihin: yung image size na ginagamit ko ay 84px by 140px. syempre puede ka namang gumamit ng ibang size kung gusto mo na mas malaki o mas maliit.