Updating to OS X Lion: Technology and the Spins

The decision to move to Apple’s OS X Lion was not easy. Frankly, I was a little timid about moving to the first step in what I feel is going to be a whole new computer paradigm. The Cloud is above us; technology has become integral to how humans engage with the world, and to ignore the flow spells quicksand for those who cannot read the signs. I am torn between the safety of the known and the excitement of the unknown, between the mediocrity of the known and the failures of the unknown. The what ifs are piling up in my mind, and I would have felt better if I had not read George Orwell’s 1984.

The Cloud moves us towards a hive mind, wherein we will lodge our work, our apps, our photos, our favourite things. It will always be available, we will always be available. I am reading Ken Robinson’s bleak and dismal view of the education system and the planet’s future, and it has bummed me out. The youth are without employment, the old people will become ultra-conservative, there will be a class war, no one is learning anything worthwhile but soon enough machines will infiltrate our bodies via nanotechnologies that we cannot even imagine….arrgghhhh! I am sure that Robinson will shed a silver lining soon, but the darkness is bleak and hope is a rare commodity these days. Are children in schools really being led down a path without fruition, and will they rise against us all when there are no jobs and nothing else to do?

Me? I want to forget all of it. I want to pretend that the kids are alright, that I need not worry about being a few dollars in to Mr. Visa for a month or two because I have a great job that can pay the bills, that I should not fret about whether teaching will even exist by the time I had hoped to retire to shoot photographs in my twilight years. Good luck. Where is my apple tree? Where is my house? Where are the kids I might like to have if I didn’t hate children when I am not teaching them? Stop this camel, as I feel rather sick!

Ironically, I also loaded my first four sheets of 4×5 film into the Riteway film holders because I want to attempt shooting the school tomorrow morning for the 2012 yearbook cover. I have put off loading the film for the same reasons that I avoided loading Lion: I was afraid of where the first step might take me, and what the implications might be. What if the 4×5 negatives are complete failures? What if they are so good that I never want to shoot digital or medium format again? What if…what if? Regardless, it should be an interesting exercise of creativity to attempt to take my first large format photographs. I am not expecting much, but perhaps that is what makes the learning process enjoyable – failure with incremental successes over time.

Maybe the only way forward is to accept the change as inevitable and to reassure myself that I will always want to remain on the edge of that change. I may relish the good old days, too, but the future unknown will be what it will be. Our only option is to engage to the world that will unfold before us while we attempt to retain the private joys that we hold dear. The photographs in this blog entry show  a juxtaposition of old worlds and new technologies. Neither Egypt nor Vietnam are strangers to upheaval, so perhaps such willingness to let the new fall into the landscape is that next step that we all will take.

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