I am neither a technophile nor am I obsessed with technology for its own sake. But I enjoy what technology can help me accomplish, and it is easy to grow dependent on it for the routine activities of daily living. That places one in a very vulnerable position, however, because technology will fail from time to time, and the more dependent one is on it, the more havoc its failure can wreak. There was some havoc in my day today.
The first hint came when I looked at my email first thing in the morning, and there was a couple of posts to a listserv–both from other bishops, actually–about how an iOS app that made the daily office lectionary available was not operating. I didn’t pay much attention until I sat down in the cathedral nave for the Psalm at Morning Prayer, clicked on my iPad lectionary app, and saw … nothing. Quickly it was apparent that the original purveyor of the app wrote the code through the liturgical year that just ended a few days ago, then walked away from it and left it unsupported. I hustled back to my office, finished reading Morning Prayer the old-fashioned way, and investigated alternatives to my familiar apps. There were a couple available, but both required the latest version of the iPad operating system, which is itself not available to my first generation iPad. Can you see my emerging quandary?
After quickly processing a couple of emails, putting in some substantial work on a homily for Advent III (St Matthew’s, Bloomington), and making a few notes in preparation for a meeting on my calendar tomorrow, all the while in touch with my frustration over my no-longer-supported iPad operating system, I swallowed hard and headed to the nearest Apple retailer. The nearest one, it turned out, didn’t have the configuration I needed in stocked, so it was off to a big box electronics retailer, where I was taken care of promptly and made it home for lunch a more or less the usual time, the reluctant owner of an iPad Air 2.
Now, then the technological infrastructure of my life is not operating seamlessly, getting it running smoothly pretty much becomes Job One, taking a back seat only to scheduled appointments, of which there were two on my afternoon calendar: one with a candidate for Holy Orders who is very nearly ready for ordination, and the other with the blood bank, which is now back to being interested in me as it’s now been the requisite year since I’ve been in Tanzanian malaria country. (I donated two units of red cells.) Aside from those two engagements, my time and energy were sucked into the black hole of technology. I’m happy to report that everything seems to be operating smoothly at this hour, and I should have my life back tomorrow.