Those Were The Days…….

Posting has been light of late, for which Sparrow Chat apologizes profusely.

The reason: integrating a new laptop computer into our meagre network, and a larger flat panel monitor for the rather aging Dell 3400S desktop that has been the mainstay of Sparrow Chat production for the last three years.

Of course, the geeky among us will snigger at the idea of taking so long to achieve such simple tasks, but happily the millions of non-geeks out there (with whom I proudly ally!) will understand how complex – not to say, excessively irritating – the whole process can be.

One expects to plug in, switch on, and go to work. None of it! Just deciding on a suitable screen resolution – for both laptop and desktop monitor – becomes a frustrating business when every webpage suddenly looks totally different. The new 19″ flat panel made Sparrow Chat look all squashed up in the middle of the screen, or alternatively, fat and blurry when set to the low resolution used previously. At one point I was in favor of consigning the darned thing to the garbage and reverting to the old, yet trusted, friend it had replaced. Yes, I do mean that hernia-inducing, lump of cathode-ray tube so reminiscent of an early post-war television set, which, like its 1950’s cousins somehow provided a warmer, more welcoming, picture than the sterile, pixelated, ice-images resulting from today’s modern technological achievements.

This digital age is not all it’s cracked up to be. Any audiophile worth his stack of redundant Long Playing vinyl will tell you that the sound from a stylus whirling through a groove at 33rpm is far more satisfying to the ear than an MP3 player squawking its baseless rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth. Britain’s most prestigious Hi-Fi manufacturer, Linn, still sells as many of its top of the range Sondek turntables, at around $2000 each, as it did in the 1970’s (when I owned one). This, despite the product it is designed to play being obsolete for over twenty years.

Sadly, the old Commodore 64 computers, around at about the same time, couldn’t match today’s Inspiron laptops – so we are stuck with the digital, for all its many drawbacks; not least of all – the geeks, who smirk at our ham-fistedness in taking a week to perform what they can do in a couple of minutes.

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