24 November 2014

In praise of the diary

A couple of months ago I decided to buy a Filofax. I remember the Filofax being the personal organiser of the late 80s and early 90s but today its position has been usurped by any manner of phone, tablet, netbook or digital slab. But, the fact is that I have fallen out of love with the tsunami of digital devices that rule our lives.

I first became involved with the 'digital revolution' in 1984 when I was involved in the UK launch of the original Macintosh. At that time the little box with a keyboard and mouse was a complete mystery to me and it needed a lot of explaining. Then came 1991 and my first Macintosh, the pizza box Mac LC and I was hooked.

The Mac was and generally has been seen as the PC of choice for 'creatives' and its GUI (graphical user interface) made it easier to use, easier that is than using other PCs which did similar things that I also didn't understand but thought must be important.

And so it has been ever since, or at least till the last two or three years when Apple has come to dominate the public conciousness with its design and fashionability. Sure, these digital devices do all manner of whizzy things and let us buy lots of stuff at the click of a button. They also allow some people to have millions of 'followers' and have made serious communication a thing of the past by enabling email which, to many people, is an irritant.

And I started to resent having to press the button on the back of my 27" i7 3.4GHz 256SSD 2TbHd Intel iMac in order to see anything. And it dawned on me that, as long as the sun shines (or the lights are on) a diary will work perfectly well. So I bought a Filofax and, so far, I'm getting along just fine. I've also started to put letters in the post rather than sending .pdfs across the ether. Yes, I compose these letters on the iMac but I'm writing this on a nice little Toshiba netbook running Linux and it is beginning to do everything that the iMac does and at a fraction of the cost. And somehow, I expect less of the Toshiba. I see it more as a tool to do something with, rather like an old typewriter. I don't want the Toshiba to say anything about me, in fact, I'd prefer it not to. Hopefully the words will speak for themselves.

So, I think that I'm disconnecting from the digital revolution, maybe not completely and maybe not even more than less but certainly somewhat. And I'm beginning to see the diary, with its analogue calendar, alphabetical phone and address book and its instant on-ness, I'm beginning to like it rather more than the digital devices I used to think did so much for me. Yes, digital devices work for many people, but less so for me. Analogue just seems so much more substantial.