Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Modern Technology and Me

I’ve been having issues lately with modern technology. Our cell phone culture, for instance, has me hopping mad. Aside from annoyance at people driving while talking on their cell phones (please don’t do this, folks!), my interactions on the Internet and with certain hardware devices are becoming major distractions in my life. Don’t get me wrong. I adore technology, but does it have to be so annoying?

Facebook Oh, where to begin? Facebook is a great place to reconnect with old friends and stay in touch with people spread all over the globe. But I don’t understand a lot of it. What is up with Farmville, for instance? I’m happy if someone is happy playing a game, but do I want to know they just scored 100,000 points? Not really.

Yet this stuff pops up automatically in and amongst all the meaningful information I truly want to read, such as my cousin’s reporting of her mission trip last year or my friend Tim’s announcement that he was moving back to the States. I also adore reading funny stuff, like a daughter’s reaction to a friend’s haircut, or sweet stuff, like videos of kids being kids. I also like whiny status updates because they make me feel not so alone in the world. That stuff is real. Farmville isn’t.

My motto for Facebook: Let’s keep Facebook real!

Twitter I signed up for a Twitter account just because someone famous* tweeted about me. How sadly narcissistic is that? When you first register, Twitter automatically gives you randomly selected tweeters to follow. I don’t know these people and don’t care that they just went to Starbuck’s. I had to “unfollow” them one by one manually. Perhaps there is a way to do this en masse, but I couldn’t figure it out. After wasting ten minutes of my life, I decided I could do without Twitter.

And is “tweeter” the right term for a person who twits/tweets/tw…? I give up.

My Mini Laptop George bought me a cute little red laptop for Christmas. It’s small enough to fit comfortably in my purse (which is pretty big) so I can write while waiting for Jack at therapy or at Barnes and Noble while drinking a mocha and feeling all J.K. Rowling-ish in a café.

But there are some issues with this little laptop. I’d like to know when Microsoft started hooking advertising to its software. I can run MS Word on my shiny red laptop, but ads pop up on the side. Sigh. I hate clutter on my teeny, tiny screen, but can I afford $600 (more than the cost of the computer) to download an unpolluted version of MS Office to it? Not really.

George has suggested some freeware that will work like MS Word, which is one of the greatest inventions of any century in the history of mankind. I’m hopeful.

It also took a long phone call and surrendering control of my laptop to a friendly non-native English speaker to get Norton AntiVirus installed. At least now when I’m surfing at Barnes and Noble Café, I won’t get hacked. I hope.

Electronic Books I file these in my brain under the heading Signs of the Coming Apocalypse. I don't even have one of these and they are annoying. It is great that other people enjoy them so much, but my aunt, whose bibliophile gene I share, has taken it upon herself to convince me I cannot live without one. This not only breaks my heart but makes me want to go to Barnes and Noble and buy a bunch of REAL books while drinking a mocha just because I can!

Cell phone
I’ve never sent a text message to anyone. Shall I wait until you recover from falling off your chair in shock? The only person who sends me text messages isn’t even a person—it’s the cell phone company. I went so far as to learn how to delete text messages just to have the satisfaction of figuratively hanging up on AT&T without reading their superfluous marketing.

And by the way, I’m morally opposed to using the word text as a verb. Turning text into a verb weakens its effectiveness as a vaguely inclusive and extremely useful bit of jargon in literary theory. I imagine only literary theorists care about keeping text a noun, and I realize my protest will be as effective as Don Quixote tilting at windmills or Madonna trying to recapture her youth.

I’m sorry. Was that mean? Madonna, it’s a free country and you’re allowed to do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody. I wish you a happy life.

My Palm Pilot A few months ago, I wasted hours of my life trying to load the software for my Palm Pilot on my laptop. Hours I will never get back, folks. I love my Palm Pilot, but the current situation is sort of scary. If that thing crashes, or I drop it, or solar flares erase its memory card, I have no back-up of the information on it because the back-up information was lost when my old laptop hard drive crashed a year ago. All my addresses, phone numbers, and appointments are on that thing. Krikey.

Please please please tell me I am not alone in my love/hate relationship with technology. All these gadgets and websites perform wonderful services, but I almost wish I'd had a college class in managing them in my life. Oh, wait. When I was in college, only cell phones existed, and they were the size of bricks.

Now, I feel old and annoyed.

I need chocolate. Or perhaps a dope slap to stop my whining. Whatever.

*Jennifer McGuire, rock star of the stamping world, has tweeted about my stamping blog several times. I get hundreds—perhaps thousands—of hits each time she does this. She’s my new best friend.


  1. Ugh! We went in to get new cell phones this past Saturday..I am not sure what we came home with...I have hung up while talking to people...and I have no idea how, I have hung up on people while trying to answer, because I couldn't figure out how to answer...I wanted a phone, my husband wanted whatever this thing is....I really don't like it, I know it does "cool" things, but I don't have hours to devote to the device. I understand.

  2. I feel your pain. You can add me to the "old and annoyed" group. How people find the time to deal with all this communication technology is beyond me. Rather spend my time stamping!!
    Susan G.

  3. I could write a lot in response to this, but I'll keep it brief. My life changed for the better when I found out how to hide the FarmVille and other game-related posts from my feed. It's sweet bliss to not know when someone adopts an ugly duckling. (Full disclosure: I once was addicted to FarmVille and had to stop cold turkey. From that point on, I hid all game-related updates from my feed.)

    Here's what to do the next time you see a FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Bejeweled Blitz, YoVille, whatever update: hover your cursor in the upper right-hand side of the update until you see a "Hide" button. Click on "Hide" and you'll get the option to hide all posts from that person or just posts from FarmVille, etc. Pick the game application, and BINGO! No more FarmVille messages.

  4. I have sent very few text messages in my life and of course I am terribly slow at it. Most of them I sent to my teenage daughter. I found out recently, that it is terribly embarrassing to someone her age to actually answer a phone call from your mother.....This summer I will update my cell phone plan to accommodate more text messages, because she will start college soon.
    As far as all the other technology you mentioned, you are way ahead of me!!!!

  5. My palm gave up a couple of weeks ago and I can assure you it is a disaster. Despite my husband's reminders I had not backed it up on the computer in months. Now I do not know when anyone is meant to go the dentist or anywhere for that matter. I can't look up anyone's contact details or access my very handy "Handy Shopper"

    Sigh...and my husband tells me palms are obsolete and I will probably need to change to Ipod touch. I was so happy with my palm.

  6. Oh yeah, I am so with you on FB - Farmville? Oh pulease. And watch out for that Palm Pilot. Happened to me years ago - I couldn't synchronize to the new computer because they no longer have a serial port (yeah, dated, I know). My Palm Pilot hicupped and I lost everything. Went back to a Moleskine agenda. I now consider myself a "Renaissance Woman". I like a fountain pen, too.

  7. First of all, Francie is a goddess! Susan, you are NOT alone! I hate to see drivers chatting and or sending text messages while driving, especially with young children in their cars. Facebook? Ditto! Twitter: don't tweet, don't plan to tweet! Ads on word programs should be illegal! Electronic books should be zapped from existence - now, our youngsters aren't even going to know what a real book feels or smells like! Cell phones - don't send text messages, and don't plan to. I'm still one of the dinosaurs who carries a cell phone for emergencies! Imagine that! Hmmm....I do so love Jennifer McGuire though! If she's a tweeter, it can't be all bad!

  8. Having a cell phone, a PC and a Kindle are all wonderful for their intended uses, but enough already! Having been brought up on paper and fountain pens, plus the Palmer method of beautiful handwriting, card-making seems just as natural to me as texting does to my daughter. (However, I NEVER stamp while driving!)

    I still read bound books, with stamped bookmarks no less, and send out 500 cards a year through the endangered postal system--all with my own handwritten well wishes or sympathetic encouragements. My cell phone # is given to only a select few, and I rarely spend more than a minute or two on any phone calls cellular or otherwise--unlike my earlier child-raising years. I have a life, and it's not in cyber space.
    Blogging is as technical as I get, and with a daughter living in Prague, I'm very grateful for the internet.

    As for the Kindle, it has been a blessing to be able to order up new books in an instant from a lawn chair. With a husband who reads 2 or 3 books a week, it has saved literally (no pun intended) hundreds of trees and miles of bookshelf space in our house. We'll be celebrating our 43rd anniversary this month, so do the math. There are 8 floor-to-ceiling bookcases in my husband's home office alone!

    BTW, since I don't get many visitors to my blog, could you please send Jennifer McGuire over...

  9. jennifer mcguire!!!!

    WOW!!! you ROCK, girl.

    just let me remind you that I have been saying you're a GENIUS from the moment i met you!!!!
    hugs, marty

  10. I hear you! I think the cell phone age has ruined most of two generations - they no longer have the opportunity to develop people skills because they never talk to real people! Have you had a customer disservice experience lately?

    FB - cancelled my account. HOWEVER, I do know you can block certain apps so you no longer get those pesky "Please adopt my stray lamb" posts.

    Twitter - You're right - no one cares that you are having Wheaties for breakfast. I tweet, but I use it more like chat with a small circle of people.

    eBooks - GIVE ME PAPER! I like to HOLD my books and turn their pages. I need the fondle factor with books.

    Text - not gonna do it.

    Cell - I use my phone for emergencies. And to tweet.

    You left out the iPod. People walking down the street, plugged in, and with the music so loud I can hear it. Just wait until someone gets hit by a car because they didn't hear it coming.

    I am old and (most of the time) annoyed. Who are these people TALKING to that they can't drive without a phone attached to their ear?

    Oh, wait, this is YOUR blog. Never mind.

    Word Verif: vession noun Combination word - vent + session. I just experienced a vession.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!