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raymac46

The Digital Divide

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raymac46

Recently I've read a bunch of articles on how things will be much different if and when the COVID-19 situation eases up. The new normal will be much different from the old.

A common theme was the presence of a Digital Divide that separates the haves from the have-nots. It was concluded that this is mostly an age based thing. The elderly are most likely on the wrong side of the Digital Divide and also are the most vulnerable to the virus.

Now I know you can be computer illiterate at 40 and a technical whiz in your 80s so there are exceptions. Where do you think this Digital Divide would likely be?

In my view it's south of 90. My mother in law is 90 and she has trouble turning on her TV. No credit or debit cards, can't bank online, communicates by landline phone, uses cash for everything, has to go see a bank teller , pays taxes in person. She also has difficulties in English which have gotten worse as she gets older. Add to that the fact that she cannot drive and it's hard to go see her with the lockdown, and she's really in bad shape for this new world. Nowadays even the doctor is having virtual appointments.

Probably it's well north of 70. I am in my early 70s and most folks my age can at least get email and surf the Net. They may not be that security savvy but they try. Not everyone uses the latest shiny apps - I just had my first Zoom videoconference this week - but shopping and banking online are certainly possible with this cohort. They have migrated pretty well to tablets and smartphones.

Most of the 70+ crew are retired but those that are not work in low tech jobs like Walmart greeter of donut shop employee so their jobs may go away. Hope they are at least financially stable.

If I had to guess right now I'd say DD around 85. I have a friend that age who is proud of his computer illiteracy. We'll see how that plays out for him over the coming months.

 

 

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V.T. Eric Layton

Heck, to be honest, Ray, I seem to be sliding further into Luddism as I age. One of these days, I'll probably drop the Internet entirely and go back to living 1960s style. The only things I'd really miss are my online friends and YouTube music.

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raymac46

I could do without all the social media hoohah but it's hard to avoid online banking and bill paying. Especially now when nobody wants cash due to health concerns.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Yes. Online banking is very convenient. However, I can still write checks and do my part to save the USPS by sending those checks in by mail. ;)

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V.T. Eric Layton

And funny as it may seem, it's so much easier now since I can't afford to pay any of my bills. ;)

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raymac46
3 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

Yes. Online banking is very convenient. However, I can still write checks and do my part to save the USPS by sending those checks in by mail. ;)

Wrote a check for the first time in months yesterday to pay the plumber for fixing my taps.

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ebrke

I write very few checks any more, although I, too, wrote one to a plumber the other day. Online bill paying is great in that it's electronic, and barring a real cyber disaster, you know the payment is going to get there when scheduled.

 

Other than online banking, I'm probably on the wrong side of the digital divide for several reasons. I stubbornly refuse to "buy" e-books because I prefer paper, and I probably won't be able to afford anything more than basic cable soon, never mind additional streaming services (which I don't have even now because the newest of my TV sets is 16 years old). I don't use a smart phone because I don't really need all the things it does, and I can't really afford it, and I personally am leery of the privacy issues. I might have to give in on the smart phone though, since it's getting pretty hard to get a decent flip phone any more.

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sunrat

Tax departments have been eager to get rid of cash for some time now. This pandemic has played right into their hands. A lot of tradies and many other workers with casual jobs would get a proportion (up to 100%) of their payment in cash and not declare it to the tax department therefore paying no tax.

Big Brother couldn't have thought of a better scheme to bring these wayward citizens into line.

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raymac46

I am definitely an e-book fan but I prefer a tablet to read them.

My wife and I have smartphones to keep track of each other in our dotage. She got hers first because she wanted to text and that is almost impossible on a flip phone.

I guess we don't need the phones to locate each other when we are confined to the same house. 🤣

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V.T. Eric Layton

Yes, the taxman (any government throughout history) LOVES the thought of a cashless society. It totally hinders black market trade and employment. It is a wonderful way to collect taxes.

 

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I was very reluctant to do the "ebook" thing. It took me a long time to finally do it. What spurred that change was finding a really cheap B&N Nook Color online a few years ago. It was a factory refurb with the original factory 1yr warranty. It was only about 1/3 the price of a regular Nook. I clicked on "Buy Now" pretty quickly that day. I don't regret it. I've enjoyed reading ebooks since then. In many instances, I prefer to read the ebook version than the dead tree version due to the size and weight of some of the books I read regularly.

 

I have numerous compendiums of my favorite authors: Lovecraft, Poe, Washington Irving, Ambrose Bierce, Shakespeare, Jack London, etc. This dead tree books are on the shelves in my house, but they are HUGE tomes and are not conducive to bedtime reading... unless you have a carpel tunnel brace on your wrist while lying in bed with these books. Now, get those same editions for my Nook and it makes reading them a pleasure. Plus, it's VERY cool how footnotes and other added features work on ebooks.

 

Since my library is closed this past couple months, I've been catching up on a lot of reading while using my Nook and downloading good books from numerous sites online. I'm currently reading the first book in a trilogy by a fellow named Scott Sigler. The first book is called "Infected". It's about a weird sort of infection that makes people insane and violent. It's been pretty good so far. Figured a book about a pandemic would be appropriate about now. ;)

 

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Smart phones... meh. They're pretty cool, but I really don't have the need for one. I don't need another electronic device running my life and sucking my soul away, like this big black box (and others over the years) on the desk here that I refer to as "that soul-sucking box". And you can FORGET about me ever having any of that IoT feces in my life, auto, home, etc. That's just more electronic tom-foolery created to suck the soul right out of you and waste away the time you have in this plane of existence.

 

Yeah, give me dumb-arse phones (even rotary dial would be fine), dumb-arse cars/trucks, dumb-arse TVs, etc. Just warp me back to 1965 (or even '55). I'll be a happy camper. :)

 

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raymac46

If you enjoy ebooks try this fellow out:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3317

 

Philip Gibbs was a prominent WW1 correspondent and writer. He also wrote a bit about life in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. It's like taking a time travel voyage to read them - especially since he wrote in real time and you know how things turned out.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Oooh, I'm a history buff, particularly military history, which is basically the history of the human race, anyway. ;)

 

I'll d-load it right now. Thanks!

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Bookmem
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, raymac46 said:

If you enjoy ebooks try this fellow out:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3317

 

Philip Gibbs was a prominent WW1 correspondent and writer. He also wrote a bit about life in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. It's like taking a time travel voyage to read them - especially since he wrote in real time and you know how things turned out.

I'm a British mystery writer buff.  I like looking up the unfamiliar terms for things Brits take for granted and we in the USA have never heard.  Learning about things like living on Narrow Boats.  Authors like Charles Todd, Peter Robinson, Martha Grimes and P.D. James, just to mention a few.  

 

Anyone up for  Bangers and Mash?

edit: BTW, I'd never have heard of most of those authors if it weren't for ebooks subcriptions.

Edited by Bookmem
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raymac46
Posted (edited)

Gibbs had the problem that the War Office censored a lot of his reporting during the War, and Now It Can be Told appeared in 1920 after the censorship was lifted. If you want a more contemporary version of war reporting look for The Soul of the War (1915.) I have these books in paper form.
Gibbs' aunt worked as a civil servant for Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace. One of his favorite stories was how she was given the task of spanking the Kaiser when his mother brought him for a visit from Berlin. He was a disagreeable little boy apparently.

 

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11682

 

Edited by raymac46
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raymac46

“To-morrow,” said the colonel—our first chief—before driving in for a late visit to G. H. Q., “we will go to Armentieres and see how the 'Kitchener' boys are shaping in the line up there. It ought to be interesting.”

The colonel was profoundly interested in the technic of war, in its organization of supplies and transport, and methods of command. He was a Regular of the Indian Army, a soldier by blood and caste and training, and the noblest type of the old school of Imperial officer, with obedience to command as a religious instinct; of stainless honor, I think, in small things as well as great, with a deep love of England, and a belief and pride in her Imperial destiny to govern many peoples for their own good, and with the narrowness of such belief. His imagination was limited to the boundaries of his professional interests, though now and then his humanity made him realize in a perplexed way greater issues at stake in this war than the challenge to British Empiry.

One day, when we were walking through the desolation of a battlefield, with the smell of human corruption about us, and men crouched in chalky ditches below their breastworks of sand-bags, he turned to a colleague of mine and said in a startled way:

“This must never happen again! Never!”

It will never happen again for him, as for many others. He was too tall for the trenches, and one day a German sniper saw the red glint of his hat-band—he was on the staff of the 11th Corps—and thought, “a gay bird”! So he fell; and in our mess, when the news came, we were sad at his going, and one of our orderlies, who had been his body-servant, wept as he waited on us.

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abarbarian
19 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

Yeah, give me dumb-arse phones (even rotary dial would be fine), dumb-arse cars/trucks, dumb-arse TVs, etc. Just warp me back to 1965 (or even '55). I'll be a happy camper.

 

:clap2:

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