AM I the only journalist in the world who doesn’t get excited about the latest electronic gadgets?
Call me old fashioned but low tech still rocks for me. And that’s not just because I started my career in the Stone Age of hot metal typesetting. Bill Gates is my age!
My mobile phone isn’t ‘smart’ but it does all I ask of it. It’s mobile and it’s a phone. I could have done with one, 20 years ago, when we hacks had to file from the field via ye olde red public telephone box.
(If we were literally in a field, it was just bad luck and we missed the edition.)
So what if it doesn’t have internet access? I realise I could miss an important status update on Facebook while I’m out but I’ve got more Pinteresting things to do than Tweeting every five seconds. That may sound like a big ‘but’ – yet ‘social ‘notworking’ (as I call it) can be that, too …
…. a Big, Unpaid Time-guzzler.
I don’t use a tablet, either. But Holy Moses, does that make me a Luddite? There’s nothing really new there anyway, as Moses would know.
Owning a Tower PC may make me an unevolved freak of nature but my sturdy keyboard is way more user-friendly than anything yet on the market. Words come more easily back in the comfort of my office and I get my coffee the way I like it!
Nor do I need to go to interviews with the latest video, film and digital recording equipment. There’s nothing guaranteed to scare off an interview subject like the threat of saying or doing something stupid and inerasable on film or tape. I’m after the sizzle and subtlety is required to encourage my subjects to spill the beans!
Anyway, for photos and video we still have photographers. Let’s not do them out of a living yet!
The very thought of investing in the latest gadget brings me out in a cold sweat. Too much choice can be no choice at all! The more labour-saving bells and whistles on offer, the more labour-intensive it is working out how to use them.
May I share with you the benefits of the best tool in my journalistic arsenal?
• There are no service provider costs
• You can use it in bright sunlight
• It works anywhere, without power, batteries or the need to comb the area for wifi hotspots
• It’s the ultimate in portability, fitting into a pocket or average-sized (not Prada super-sized) handbag
• Storage is unlimited – when it’s full you simply boot up a new one
• It’s 100% virus proof and will never crash
• It’s recyclable and doesn’t fry your brain with microwaves
• Losing it doesn’t mean your entire life’s work gone forever
• It works with just one app – a pen
As you’ve probably guessed I’m talking about the humble paper notebook, the reporter’s failsafe ever since a certain Thomas W. Holley, a Massachusetts lawyer, invented them in 1888.
Not being totally anti-progress, I advocate the later, ring-bound version.
Many attempts have been made to integrate the simplicity of the notebook in a computer but nothing has quite measured up. Not Netbooks nor PalmTops nor Digital Paper nor Voice–to-Text software (which, if you speak with any accent at all, comes out as gobbledygook).
Best of all, a notebook is completely unhackable.
Well, you just try reading my shorthand!