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October 05, 2006

Emerging from the Dark Ages

Yesterday I received an email from the University of Michigan informing me that, although they will officially continue to offer dial-up internet service until January 2, I should not hesitate to make other arrangements because dial-up service will become increasingly difficult to use as more and more modems are removed from the UM dial-up pool. I have to admit that this email caused me some distress.

In lecture on Tuesday, the professor I'm teaching with discussed Luddism. She said that, although professors who don't use Power Point (or, I'll add, GSIs who don't know how to work an overhead projector) are often referred to as Luddites, Luddism actually expressed a political and moral vision that valued work and opposed technology only when it eliminated workers' ability to earn a livelihood. So my resistance to high-speed internet is not Luddism, nor is it even neo-luddism because I'm not opposed to high-speed internet access per se. I actually enjoy using it at school and at my mom's house.

Rather, I think David and I are simply late adopters of technology. We still use a film camera and we don't listen to MP3s. We don't have cell phones, and we use an answering machine rather than voice mail. My laptop has a wi-fi modem, but I have never (successfully) used it. I use a paper planner rather than a PDA. Our philosophy is, if the old technology still works, why drop the bucks on new technology? We pay $40 a month for our land line, which we also use to dial in (for free) to the internet. Going high-speed and cellular would triple that monthly expense: at least $40 each for two cell phones, and another $40 (at least) for high-speed internet. And that is if we get rid of the land line. I will admit that I like the idea of having cell phones and high-speed internet access, but, as a grad student, the price tag hits me in a very sensitive place!

Posted by eklanche at October 5, 2006 08:56 AM


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