I remember an optimistic era (around the time of the Sinclair ZX 81) when technology was being hailed as the global panacea. More leisure time! The paperless office! Freedom from the drudgery of repetitive chores!

But instead of making us free, technology seems to have made slaves of us. A huge industry has evolved to service its every need. Far from having the paperless society, we seem to be drowning in mountains of computer-generated mailshots, and most instruction manuals are bulkier than the gadget they’re instructing us about.

And have computers made our lives any less stressful? Techno-rage, techno-envy, techno-hassles – go figure.

And what has prompted this techo-rant? You’ve probably figured out that I’ve just been getting to grips with some new gadgets. I’m sure that once I’ve got them broken in, they’ll be great. But over the course of the last week the urge to throw them in the bin / out of the window / at Bill Gates’s smug smiling face has at times been almost overwhelming, as has the desire to return to a simpler age when humans were still smarter than their inventions.

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