I don’t think I need explain how much I love the world of tech. I love the software and hardware and firmware and wares of all gradations on the digital Moh Scale in between. I love smartphones and watches and ebooks and media players and social networking services and maxiblogs and miniblogs and microblogs. I love audioboo and audiobooks. I love earphones and earplugs and visors and touchscreens and MUDs and HUDs and apps and apple and applets.

And yet. Oh and yet…

Most mornings I have to get up unfeasibly early just to keep my head above the rising tide of emails, direct messages and voicemails that have flooded my various inboxes. For two hours I reply to these and fiddle and faddle and fossick and finagle. This morning it’s been four hours and I’m still owing at least fifty responses. I am not alone in this. It might be that I have more to get through than most, but I’m sure there are others with even heavier caseloads to deal with.

When I watch an old TV sketch or drama set in an office it takes some time to spot What’s Wrong With This Picture. Most business people didn’t have computers on their desks until the mid-eighties. Desks had intercoms, pads of paper, an electronic calculator and executive toys like the Newton’s Cradle and the 8-Ball Decision maker. You look at a busy police incident room, a buzzing news room or any kind of office from the pre-digital age and you realise that there are no computers and you try and remember how work got done back then.

Well, there were people called secretaries. They would file documents, pay and send out invoices and arrange meetings and run diaries. They would type up and send letters that were dictated, sometimes personally, often into recording machines.

“Can I use your dictaphone?” “No, use your finger like everyone else”


The computer revolution that has set us all free has actually come close to enslaving us. Executives who once relied on secretaries to do their typing and their admin now have to do it all themselves. They even have to get their own coffee and pinch their own bottoms.

I suppose it’s good for the soul, but it doesn’t half give one pause.

Oh well. Back to the inbox. And then I’ll have to think of things to twitter. And then it’ll be lunchtime and I’ll come back to another fifty emails.