COLUMN: Music trivia no place for technology

Reporter's Viewpoint

I’m not a huge fan of the changing face of technology.

I don’t tweet, titter, Facebook or blog and I barely text. Even e-mail annoys me but I do use it.

If you want to talk to me, pick up the phone and talk to me. Or let’s meet face-to-face. You must have heard of conversation. Or maybe it’s called voice communication. It seems to be a lost art these days.

I will admit my recent introduction into e-reading has been pretty cool. I fought it for awhile, but got into it when I had a Kobo reader given to me.

I thought I would miss books, but with thousands of choices (yes, I am able to download them), it sure beats needing a book shelf and lugging around pounds of paperbacks and hard covers.

But that is about as far as my techno-self goes. My cellphone is just that – a phone. Not a smartphone, not an iPhone4, 5 or whatever number they’ve reached these days. It’s just a phone.

To me, technology is depriving us of a few useful things. The ability to think for ourselves, for one.

I’m reminded of  that when my daughter asked us to babysit our grandson while they enjoyed an evening of music trivia at the pub with their friends.

Music trivia – now that brings back memories. Team members putting their heads together, dredging up all those memories of listening to the radio (not iPod), buying the LP, 8-track or cassette (does anyone remember K-Tel?), recalling the titles and learning the lyrics.

It’s a little embarrassing, but my ability to deduct the subtle differences in the way Shaun Cassidy sung That’s Rock and Roll compared to Eric Carmen; and that the title to a Rod Stewart song was Young Turks, not Young Hearts, catapulted our team into a solid second place at trivia.

Of course the more beer you drank the harder the questions became. And how come you knew the artist and title when it was another team’s turn to play?

So, the next day I asked my daughter how her night of trivia went. Turns out her team came in second.

Alright, a chip off the old block. Just like the old man.

And then she informed me that an app on her cellphone picked up the songs and provided the title, artist and year.

My first thought was where is the fun in that. My second thought was how in the hell did you only finished second.

Turns out they didn’t use the technology all the time and only on the ones they were having trouble with. You know, those ancient classics from the 1990s.

Now far be it for me to call it cheating, but I’m not sure technology is such a wonderful thing.

If music trivia and old-fashioned brain power isn’t safe, what’s next?

A quick look on the ultimate technology engine – Google – and a host of cheating how-tos appear.

You can learn how to cheat at backgammon, cheat at poker, cheat at video games, and even cheat on your spouse (or catch your spouse cheating).

You can buy a walkie-talkie pen to help you cheat doing your homework or writing a test.

You can even use the cheating technology to cheat technology – EBay to be more specific.

I guess in some of the cases you’re only hurting yourself, but other situations could have more dire consequences.

I know head-to-head my daughter could probably beat me at music trivia unless it was a 1970s night.

Once we got into music past the mid ’80s I’d be reaching for a phone app myself if I knew how to use it.

I guess the Internet, a phone app or iPad is no different than the World Book Encyclopedia I used during my school days.

When it comes down to it, it’s learning. I’m sure in 10 or 12 years, my grandson will shake his head at today’s technology and wonder how his parents ever made it through with equipment from the Dark Ages.