Tech Toys

I am sitting here, stone cold sober, feeling quite smug, perched at my writing desk (well actually the dining room table where I now maintain my laptop computer), listening to Domenico Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonata in G. What makes this experience so uniquely stimulating is that the music is broadcasted wirelessly from my iPhone 6 to my Bose mini-speaker.  The quality of sound is quite unbelievable (at least for my drawing room purposes) not to mention the state of the art facility of transmitting the music and controlling the volume.  The device is compact and can easily be moved about.  It most certainly fulfills my objective to do exactly what I am doing now when we travel to South Carolina for the winter.  We have there arranged a three-bedroom house and I expect to establish an office for myself in one of those rooms where I shall keep my new Bose mini-speaker to comfort and strengthen me during my pensive writing moments.

Apart from computers (I bought my first computer a full twenty-seven years ago in February, 1987) I was never much drawn to high-tech devices.  I managed for example to avoid the “smart phone” for a long while after it hit the market, dismissing it as a toy.  Once I made the jump however I was smitten (as I was by computers generally).  I have since made an almost annual gradation to the latest model of the iPhone and it never fails to impress.

Looking back upon the insinuation of technology into my life, I confess to having been influenced by one of my friends in particular. He always had the latest gadgets (technological “accessories” as I believe they are more properly called – things like tiny contraptions for storing millions of photos).  These trinkets did not however capture my attention for the very simple reason that I fathomed no purpose for them other than amusement.  To this day I have yet to play a “game” on a computer.  The device must fulfill a purpose other than its own employment; it has to get me from here to there; I must sense that I have accomplished something productive by using it.

Lately I have been struggling with music.  My native relationship with music is through the piano.  I made the decision about five years ago to sell my Steinway.  Frankly I have never regretted the decision. My piano playing had stagnated and was no longer inspiring.  The result nonetheless was that I felt cut off from a mode of expression which I had enjoyed all my life.  While ruminating upon my loss and casting about my thoughts to try electronic keyboards I attempted to supplant my piano playing with writing and reading.  When neither of these undertakings succeeded to placate my desire I returned with a close friend to the local keyboard merchant ostensibly to show her what these keyboards could do.  My friend was  moved by the sound of the keyboards.  What she didn’t know is that I had unwittingly turned myself off the (portable) electronic keyboards when I discovered that they lacked the weight and stability of a regular piano.  I was literally rocking the instrument as I played it for her!  This entirely ruined the exploit for me.  While I may some day acquire a more solid electronic keyboard I continue to sense that these instruments will never have the physical presence of a Steinway.  As a result the ambition is defeated.

With the removal of this aspiration from my sights it was naturally easier for me to satisfy myself with the pleasures of reading and writing (though there was yet some missing element to my creative urge).  Things began to change when I returned to the Apple store in a local mall to conduct some follow-up enquiries after my recent purchase of a new iPhone 6.  While awaiting the arrival of the “Genius” – I hate that presumptuous label! – I spotted the Bose mini-speaker (“SoundLink Mini”).  In fact I didn’t really know what it was but I knew at least that I liked the look of it and I guessed it was a speaker.  The artistry of modern design is not lost on me.  I discovered I also liked its weight.  I gingerly picked it up and set it down on its charging cradle.  I moved along the display table and found myself comparing the Bose to other similar devices. I really hadn’t a clue about how the speaker worked but I imagined it was a wireless Bluetooth connection and I had had some exposure to that technology through the synching of my iPhone with my car computer (but it still baffled me more than I would now care to admit).

I abandoned the idea of purchasing the device because I hadn’t yet formulated any specific purpose for it.  As luck would have it, at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the local power corporation this week we were treated to a video put together by our President and General Manager.  The General Manager used a Bose mini-speaker during his presentation.  Of course I subsequently made enquiries about the device and was assured that it was of the highest quality and a breeze to use. When I returned to the apartment I made reference to the device and we tossed the idea back and forth though without any commitment whatsoever.  Meanwhile I did some on-line research and further massaged my inclination.

This afternoon we dipped into Best Buy store #975 in Kanata and, after some delay in getting service, were led to the shelf where the mini-speaker was stocked. A young, overweight fellow with clear eyes and rosy cheeks told me everything I needed to know about the device.  He patiently led me through the connection process between my iPhone and the mini-speaker.  I was sold! Now having set up the device I have found a way to keep in touch with music without having to produce it myself.  It may appear to be a short-sell but it accomplishes what I needed, it rounds out the jagged corners of change.  I was so reluctant to attempt to turn back the pages, to attempt to recover the thrill I once felt for piano playing.  Having this highly technical device which produces such an elegant sound is just what I was looking for!  In its most reduced terms, I can now indulge myself effortlessly in the best of music (a far cry from what I was doing when playing the piano). There is the added benefit that there are so many “apps” which provide music for free, a feature which nicely coincides with my current disposition to reverse years of profligacy.

This device joins the ranks of our latest devices which most recently include a wireless scanner, again something which is geared to useful production.  The marketing hype surrounding the latest high-tech watches has as yet escaped my attention.  The same applies to Google Glass which I find particularly preposterous (much the same way as I view those telephones which people stick in their ear).