Portable tablets and smartphones have become totally ‘de rigeur’. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

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Nostalgia is definitely a thing of the past! Who looks back any more? And why should we? Let’s look forward to the future, for all things trending and current, desperate in that race to keep up. To be in the zone. To be radical. In the moment. On point! There is so much to reach forward for we simply don’t have time for the drag of nostalgia. But for many, the future is daunting. Especially the digital one. It’s Scary!!!

Social media has thrown down the unprecedented gauntlet, challenging our lives with its digital doctrine. WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok etc. The list is endless. It’s all out there and happening right now, under our noses! Everyone is in the mix, keeping up, or treading water, trying to catch up with the latest trends, tweets, posts, news, downloads, celebrity gossip, etc, etc. Portable tablets and smartphones have become totally ‘de rigeur’. So, with all this technology at our fingertips things just have to be so much better than they were before, don’t they? Or is the prospect of this ubiquitous, force-fed future genuinely more interesting or necessary than the solid, irrefutable past of yesterday, just because we have been told it is?

Well . . . the simple answer is yes! But who are these entrepreneurs who set all these new, global trends which are brainwashing our ‘youths’ into believing they have to have perfect faces, with perfect features and impossibly ridiculous, perfect figures that only Photoshop airbrushing and the latest filter Apps can achieve? OK, there’s an App that can fill you in and sort that out. But seriously, the youngsters today are subconsciously being groomed to live their lives through fantasy expectations in an attempt to capture a future vision of excellence!

We currently live in a world of unlimited possibilities, un-checked boundaries, and unsurpassable goals which can be achieved at whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice. And usually, those ever impatient youngsters want it now! And I mean ‘right now’!!! In startling reality, the kids these days know a great deal more about technology than their adult counterparts, and live secret lives on-line, with their own language codes designed to distract ‘monitoring’ adults.

Naturally, as evolving individuals, we look to the future for everything. We live and learn from the present, but we should never forget the past which gave us security, family values, and a conscious that didn’t betray any heart felt values on a flimsy whim! We had ‘real’ friends, we made ‘real’ telephone calls. We didn’t have texting gibberish. We used ‘real’ words that were actually spelt correctly. And used all the required letters. Remember that?

There are so many great positives attached to technology, displayed throughout real time, along with the education sector which showcases not only social development, but the advancement of medical research. We have robot production in factories that are faster and more accurate than any human. We are even developing life-like robots to replace your partner in the bedroom. And I don’t think they are intended to just fluff up the pillows!

Positive technology is also prevalent in our everyday lives with social interaction through personal, digital devices. We have phones which remind us exactly who we are! They set appointments, keep a diary, tell us the time, find telephone numbers, give directions, answer questions, store information, wake us up in the morning, handle on-line banking, play music, present literature, take and store photos, provide vital communication etc. etc, etc. Mind blowingly brilliant!

Give a young child on a long car journey a cartoon video on a tablet, and said child will be quiet for hours, which is a lot more than a game of i-spy could ever achieve!

These days we can download or stream films to watch instantly. Netflix, and other streaming platforms are the new religion. It’s great just chilling out on the sofa in the comfort of your own surroundings, with no-one talking or rustling a crisp packet in your ear. And you don’t even have to leave the house to be entertained. Popcorn in the microwave. Couch potato heaven! Yet . . . back to nostalgia . . . there was something quite exciting about trekking out to the cinema on a Friday night. It was an anticipated event. You got yourself all ‘dolled’ up, polished your shoes and hit the town, in an era where you were treated to the ‘double feature’, and could sit in the back row, canoodling for hours. A lot of that old cinema magic has been totally lost with contemporary entertainment that is just at your fingertips. These days, everyone in the family is usually in a different room watching different downloads, on a different device, including your partner!

As part of an older generation, who wholeheartedly embraces modern technology, I frequently worry at the speed of current change. It’s a great prospect to live in a futuristic world where anything is possible as long as you press the right buttons. But there is a huge divide between those who press, and those who design the technology behind the buttons!

Enduring circumstances, totally borne through fall-out from the great Covid pandemic, for the past twelve months I have been using a mobile phone that had well and truly given up the ghost. Battery dead. Memory failing. And only useable by being constantly plugged in and charged with an industrial length cable in tow. Other Half was waiting for the latest iphone to hit the shops. Or more accurately, we were both waiting until we felt safe enough to visit a crowded store frequented by enthusiastic, liberated, invincible technofans. Other Half’s phone would inevitably be graciously passed on to me, and finally, my old relic could be laid to peace!

As in all cases involving those totally ‘au fait’ and informed with the latest technology, the sales assistant at said Apple store was friendly and brilliant. He looked about fourteen! Yet, as there are never any instructions accompanying devices theses days, said assistant ran through the lightning workings of the new ‘superphone’ in about ten seconds flat, assuming Other Half would instantly memorise the various directional finger swipes and commands necessary to operate such a state of the art appliance.

Once home, we both stared at the very expensive blank screen and wondered how the heck it worked! In the absence of a home button, the new phone was entirely touch sensitive. Luckily, Other Half has an inherent knack of challenging technology and soon had the basics in hand. However, there was a major problem with the ringtone! It was barely audible. And no matter how many times we monitored the device with test calls, the ringtone remained almost non-existent. “How am I supposed to hear the phone ring?” questioned Other Half, naturally worried about missed calls. The very first ringtone was loud enough, yet after the initial jingle, it faded dramatically.

After searching the internet to resolve the problem, and following various and obvious measures to increase the volume, it became apparent that the phone was far too clever for its own good. Operating with a full facial recognition footprint, the new phone automatically knew that Other Half was holding it. Therefore, it decided that a loud ring was inappropriate. The phone is programmed to mute its ringtone when in hold, to promote unnecessary noise pollution. Of course it rings perfectly when put down at a distance, or in another room. How clever is that! Bit too clever, maybe???

Without the genius of these geeks who create and understand current technology, the average ‘Joe Bloggs’ can be lost in the wireless wilderness. By proxy, to all intents and purposes, we are being controlled by the future. Occasionally, nostalgia raises its flag and resurrects something from the distant past, creating a revolutionary born-again trend. It’s called ‘retro’, yet usually only really appreciated by those who saw the ‘original’ the first time around. (Hit me with those flares!) Vinyl records for example, how cool are they now? And they are currently making a massive come-back. But where have all the record players gone that we used to play them on? I bet the Geeks have got them all stashed away! Controlling the craze!