Help! My life has been revolutionised

How have I acquired so many machines in such a short space of time - and all out of date?

DAVID AARONOVITCH, on these pages, was going on about the importance of knowledge in this modern world. How very true. We do now have instant communication, everywhere astounding IT technology. He wrote that "a revolution is taking place every bit as big as the Industrial Revolution."

He's a younger person, and only knows about the Industrial Revolution from what he's read. I was there, old son. I can clearly remember millions flooding from the fields into the factories. And I was there in Darlington on 27 September 1825 - one of 12,000 come to gape when the world's train arrived. I had a word with George Stephenson afterwards. He was well chuffed.

Now, that was a revolution, Dave. Until that day, the world had moved at the speed of the fastest horse. From then on, nothing was ever the same again. Trains created suburbs, because people could commute. People ate differently, because fresh vegetables arrived in towns. Letters were delivered overnight. How and where people lived and worked was totally changed.

I am looking round my office now, where I live and work, to see how the modern revolution has changed me. I have a quite a lot of this IT stuff. And I love it, oh yes. My word processor is brilliant, being able to move words around, start in the middle and move either way, then print it out myself. Gawd, the years I struggled to re-type, or hired housewives to do it for me. It's great having my Canon photocopier and my Sharp fax machine, both ever so handy, and my Ericsson mobile phone. I haven't used it for two months, and still can't work out how to retrieve messages, but it's nice to know it's there, wherever it is. Oh yes, in the bottom of the drawer.

My Sky digital interactive tele thing has made me the envy of everyone around. OK, all I can see is sheep, but they are well impressed. I might not have a computer, but my TV will take mail in a month and I'll be able to shop and bank from home.

My poor wife, what a Luddite, she's still using pen and ink. How she smirks when we get electricity cuts, as we often do in Lakeland. She carries on working while I scream and shout, but come on woman, get real, there's been a revolution, innit.

Funny, though, how Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey managed when they lived up here, getting books and stuff published, without any IT wonders to help them. Southey did endless hackwork for the London mags. Hardly missed a deadline. RL Stevenson, when in the back of beyond in Samoa, still kept up a constant flow of words which got printed in London.

I managed for years, when out of town, by posting copy to Fleet Street, though it wasn't very reliable. They were luckier in ye olden days. Elizabeth Barrett Browning could post a letter to Robert in the morning, get a reply by lunch, write to him again, and get a reply by tea time.

They could have done with one invention, now a 100 years old, giving instant access from anywhere in the world, which for decades has allowed hacks to file copy instantly - the telephone.

When I look around the modern world, I can't actually see how subsequent inventions have changed things greatly since the telephone. The means of communications have changed. What can be carried, found, stored, used is amazing. But it's only as good as what's been put in. The content has hardly changed, only the packaging. Good for speed, brilliant for toy playing. Billions have been made. New services and industries created. But have lives been really, truly changed by IT?

I can't see it myself, except when I go out of this room and into the back room. I usually avoid it, as I have to stagger over the dead bodies. How can I have acquired four old telephones, three types of printer, two primitive fax machines, one word processor, piles of tapes and discs, in such a short span of time - and all of it out of date? Some went out of date the moment I got it home from Dixons.

Oh no, and there's the box, dish and stuff from the ancient analogue TV the bloke didn't take away last week. In cupboards, stashed away. I have tons of computer paper and software and stuff, bought at vast expense, for systems I no longer use. No longer can use, because the buggers went and changed everything.

This is the real revolution of our times. It's called obsolescence. They build it in, so the modern IT industry sustains itself. Once you join in that's it, you've been conned and can't get out. So yes, it has revolutionised my life. I now have one room I can't use.

Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jude Law in Black Sea

film

In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops

film

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game