Here’s the understatement of the year: the world is complicated. We point this out because as baby boomers, the world in which we grew up wasn’t. At least not compared to how it is now. And BoomerCafé publisher and co-founder David Henderson in Arlington, Virginia, is fed up with these complications, especially after the latest news about technology actually putting our very identities at risk. He longs for the pre-technology age in which we grew up.
It’s with warm thoughts and a smile that I remember what I call … the halcyon days of pre-technology. I suspect many of you remember too. The days of pre-technology when baby boomers were growing up.
In our house, we had a TV set in the living room that worked sometimes. Never heard of “remote control” or “Bluetooth,” let alone “the Internet of things.” I had an ancient shortwave radio in my room with an antenna tied between my windowsill and the maple tree out in front of our house. I enjoyed listening to broadcasts from far-off places, regardless of language or static. My sister had a small transistor radio. Besides the black telephone that sat on a table in the dining room, that was about the extent of technology in our modest brick house in Arlington, Virginia.
In school, we wrote on something called paper with #2 pencils. I was always struck by the insistence of teachers to make certain we used #2 pencils. They seemed to be obsessed with #2 pencils. The narrow, solid pigment core inside a #2 pencil or any good old-fashioned pencil is called “lead.” It is sort of like charcoal. That was the extent of our world of technology in the 1950s and 1960s.
This is on my mind today as I learn — by reading on my 21.5-inch iMac computer or my iPad tablet or our LG flatscreen television (sans old-fashioned vacuum tubes) — about the vast breach of our personal, financial, and credit data that was hacked and stolen from a credit monitoring company in Atlanta called Equifax. All the personal private data about our lives, GONE. Maybe I missed something in the fine print but I don’t remember giving Equifax or anyone else permission to gather and store it. We did not choose to share every particle of our privacy with any credit agency.
Equifax, in typical corporate behavior, has blamed everyone but themselves for the breach. They blamed Apache, the software company that powers computer servers around the world, but Apache noted that Equifax had not heeded their advice to implement a security software update. Consequently, the insidious hacking. Mind you, Equifax also sold security software so that other companies could safeguard their stuff. That’s laughable and pathetic.
Now, everything about my personal finances, credit, bank accounts, car loans, mortgages, and life is in the hands of… who knows? What’ll they do with it? Again, who knows? When I call Equifax and the other two credit monitoring giants to try to sort things out, I am connected with third-party representatives in Asia who are powerless to help.
The so-called news media only gives the massive hacking of the private information for 143-million Americans a headline mention, and then they quickly return to yelling at each other about politics.
Meantime, my iMac, iPad, and even my Hyundai Sonata need software updates for some reason. Imagine a car needing a software update in order to operate?! Did any of us deliberately sign up for a world in which we need software updates just to get through the day?
I think I will put on my shoes, tie them just like I learned as a kid, and take a walk through a nearby park. Away from prying eyes, spam phone calls, software hacks, and intrusions on my privacy. Or, at least I hope.