Weatherford Democrat

February 3, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Life in the high-tech world


Weatherford Democrat

— By LARRY M. JONES

Hardly a day goes by that I am not astounded by some new, unique or, at least, interesting device, gadget or service being provided in this new high tech world.

Just last week, I received notification from my bank of a new doodad they are providing. Now, I can pay bills using my new and fancy iPhone. All I have to do is download their app to my phone, take a photo of the bill, punch a few buttons and – voila – my bill is paid. I didn’t read the fine print, but I suspect they plan to deduct money from my account, which I will have to replace, and also charge a small nominal fee for their gracious service.

We can also make bank deposits by taking photos of checks and sending them via smart phone. Something here just doesn’t seem right.

Much of the new technology is a real boon to society and I am delighted to get on board with it. Cellphones have proven to be especially delightful. How long has it been since you looked for a payphone to make a call? Didn’t you just love standing out in the weather with cars screaming by trying to talk on a graffiti-adorned and germ-laden payphone? How many times did you have the exact change to make a long distance call?

For me, the greatest value for having a cell phone is the ability to find my wife in Walmart or at a gun show or sporting event, or when driving across country in separate vehicles. How many times have you become separated from someone with whom you were traveling in tandem? Several years ago, I went quail hunting in West Texas with some old Navy buddies. Despite leaving from different locations throughout Texas, using our cell phones we were able to coordinate our arrival in far West Texas at the same time and meet in the same café for supper.

Although the Internet has been around for almost 20 years, new innovations and information continue to make it the most amazing tool we have at our disposal. On it you can pay your bills, have free long-distance phone service, email around the world for free, Google the answer to any question imaginable and even find a delightful recipe for spotted owl soup. With computers we can track our finances, store and enjoy music and photograph libraries, watch movies, play video games and waste potentially productive and useful lives by baring our souls on Facebook and other forms of social media.

As with any new and innovative addition to our lives, we must slowly develop rules to govern our behavior. I suppose it is human nature to exploit and abuse each new cultural phenomenon to the lowest possible denominator. It seems that a rather large segment of society cannot function without staying in constant “communication” by yakking, sending their tweets on Twitter, checking their Facebook page or playing some interactive online game. How many times have you been behind one of them at a red light?

Personally, I just wish I could figure out how to get my smart phone to pay my bills without taking money out of my bank account.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to nowhearthis@pwhome.com.