Alwyn Van Niekerk
Alwyn Van Niekerk

The paradox of technology

“Advancement” and “technology” are words typically mentioned in the same breath, and in most situations technology has made our everyday lives much easier — no more standing in queues in banks, no more taking cheques to people for payment and no more expensive phone bills to communicate internationally.

People tend to forget, though — or are just not aware — of the fact that these great things don’t just happen. There’s plenty of hardware and infrastructure underneath all these life-changing services that need to be configured, maintained and kept up and running 24x7x365.

I love technology, I love programming computers and I love making hardware improve people’s lives, as that is ultimately what it was designed for, but on certain days, technology seems to have it in for you. You know those days when you get to work, and your PC won’t even start up, nothing seems to work, and no matter what you do it seems just to get worse and worse?

I had one of those days today. It resulted in a brand-new installation, and an overall zero productivity rating for the day, but I did end up with a brand-spanking-new look and feel to my trusted old laptop, which will ultimately support me without flaw or complaint for the next three months or so before it requires a bit of tender love and care again. A small price to pay for the incessant playing, tweaking and tuning that comes with opening the “hood” of your computer — something I invariably do from time to time.

Unfortunately the reality is that these machines still require effort and raw man hours to stay up and running. Even without the tuning and playing it demands downtime to align the technological planets. In many ways I guess this compares with the regular service intervals of a car or a motorcycle, with which these machines unfortunately cannot go without, but given all the great technological advancements we’ve made, is it really that much to ask to have another small piece of technology to enable us to reduce the amount of pain it takes to get up and running when these “service intervals” occur?