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I suppose it's because I have so much time on my hands these days that all these memories come flooding back to me.

Lost Without

Our television drive box packed in on a Saturday recently, which meant we had no television to watch at all, not even the films and programmes we had recorded onto the hard drive, as the whole box had cashed.

You know when I just read what I had written there, I never thought I would see the day when I would be talking about a television crashing; it just goes to show how far technology has come in the past few years. This subject has been well covered in the past, but consider the progress made in the past two years alone. I mean I never knew what an MP3 player was until my stepson demonstrated how the one he bought worked and how to fill it with music downloads from the net. Now that bit I did understand because I had already come to terms with that part of computer talk. I had made some CDs of my own in the past so that we could pay the music we wanted to hear and in the order we liked to have them in.

However this MP3 thing was new to us and when my wife saw what it could do she was amazed and wanted to buy one straight away. Luckily for us there were special offers on the go at that time and we bought one that could hold 1 GB of music. That worked out at a lot of songs. In fact the one hundred and twenty we put onto it only put a dent into what it can hold, so we have plenty of space to add more. It was not long before my wife was walking around the house singing along - to herself and everybody within earshot, mainly myself - to all her old classic songs.

Then just as we were starting to understand what an MP3 player could do, (this can be answered on any computer jargon program by typing MP3 into it) her son produced what they call an Ipod. Now this was quite a bit of technology, a small hand-held computer would be the best way to explain it. Yet considering the fact that we had no intention of buying one we were both just content to know what it could do and, believe me, it was quite a lot. So for our age group we decided to settle for the MP3 player and, of course, the now well-established lap top which we do not own but have used in the past. We also got to grips with an early portable DVD player which looks like a lap top computer. We bought one for my wife when she was ill in bed and wanted to watch the films on DVD that her son brought her.

The surprising thing that struck me the day our cable TV service broke down was the fact that we were totally lost without it, yet my wife still had her TV in the bedroom, as we had our old box fitted in there when the new TY drive box was installed, along with her MP3 player. Whereas I had my desk top computer and, of course, our TV could still be used for playing films on DVD. In fact I did put one on and actually sat down to watch it, rather than my usual lean from the seat in the room where my computer is to have an occasional glance at the TV in the other room. I think that was the first time in ages that I actually sat down and watched something all the way through from beginning to end. I normally pop into the kitchen and make a cuppa, or pop in to see if I have had any Emails arrive and have a look at any sites that are open on my computer at that time. We still had plenty of other things we could have done that day without having the TV on and running away in the background, like it usually is. Yet it was like there was something missing - a member of the family, even. It was eerie to say the least.

Yet, as mentioned earlier, we had plenty of other things in the house to keep us occupied. But I can't help but wonder what we would have done if we never had all these modern devices. I am of the generation who can remember when TV was in its early days and for a family to actually own one was something special. Coloured television was in its infancy, video recording alone was unthinkable let alone actually setting a video recorder to record a programme, and DVDs were something we thought that alcoholics suffered from. So what did we do in the old days before it came into our lives?

This really got me thinking hard trying to remember; of course I was a youngster in those days, so having spare time in itself was a luxury for me, especially after I had finished all my household chores. Looking back to those days, now, I remember all the visitors we used to have in our house. My parents always had people in and were always talking to them as well as helping them. People seemed to have more time for eachother in those days. I think that the answer lies there. They had more time to listen to what they had to say, more time to help out with their worries and to be more involved in their lives, a thing that is now sadly gone for ever. OK, it was good for us that day our TV service was down as we had so many other modern devices at our finger tips, but what if we had never had them? I think the answer is that we had more time for each other and communicated better with our close friends and family; something which has sadly disappeared with all this new technology. They say progress is always making our lives better, yet I can't help thinking that somewhere along the line we lost track of the things that are most important to us; people, and face to face communication with them, not by Email or video messaging, but by talking to them.

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