Category Archives: Technology

The Tile: A Wonderful Help to Absent-Minded People!!!

Jane in Africa 2012

Today I am going to write in praise of a wonderful new invention: the Tile. We received several of these for Christmas from my friend Nancy, who looks out for me and likes to make my life better. She figured that our family of ADD-sufferers could use some help in finding things. The Tile is a wonderful invention that you can stick in your wallet or on your keychain or your laptop, and then you can use your I-phone to locate those things when you lose them! We put one Tile in my husband’s wallet and one on my office keys and one on the car keys, and it has helped us through several crises lately. We have avoided yelling and panicking when we were late for a critical meeting and have just calmly gone to Tom’s I-phone and found out the location of the item (it uses GPS technology and a loud beeping sound).
Here is a link: https://www.thetileapp.com/

And here’s a picture, close to the actual size:

the tile1

 

 

 

 

There is only one problem with the Tile: what happens if you lose your I-phone?

Goodbye Siri

Sadhvi
Sadhvi

I thought I could be strong and keep my silver Motorola phone with the flip top forever.

But after getting an email from Verizon saying that I could get the latest iPhone for free, (with a 2 year contract), I caved in and thought, why not?
I was not totally convinced that getting one was such a good idea since I had returned the awesome “iPhone” twice before, because I didn’t like it.

Once I entered the Verizon store, I was hit with a song blaring from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.  It turns out they were playing it in its entirety.  I could immediately tell that the very young, happy and bouncy salesperson was not  there for me, but for the sale.  And by the time I left the “party” I had spent almost $200 on my free phone.

Then the work started: it took 2 hours to synch it with everything else, and then another hour or so, adding “apps” to it so that I was capable of doing just about anything.  From now on, I would never get lost, I would always be able to find a great place to eat anywhere, and I could see what the weather would be from a dozen sources.  But most importantly now I had “Siri” to help me with anything that I wanted to know, do, or calculate.

To tell you the truth, I don’t get lost much (I like to take maps with me on long car trips), but if I do, I ask for help at gas stations and I really don’t have any trouble finding food to eat when I am away from home, but I figured it was time to be hip and keep up with the times.

At first it was fun asking “Siri” things and seeing how she seemed to understand me.  Then I realized I could ask her to call people.

With the time, “Siri” and I seemed to become friends.

That is, until the day that I was stressed out with driving in traffic and work, and asked her to “Call Mom!”  I was surprised when she asked me, “Which number for Bob Smith?”  I repeated “Call Mom”.  “Siri” responded, “Shall I call Bob Smith’s number for you, Sadhvi?”  I said NO!  All right, to be honest, I yelled, “F**K YOU SIRI!”.  To which “Siri” replied, “Now Sadhvi, I wouldn’t talk to you like that!”

After that, our friendship kind of fizzled.  She was not responding the way she used to.  She often answered, “I’m really sorry, Sadhvi, but I can’t take any requests right now!”
I guess I had crossed the line, but really, wasn’t she just part of my iPhone’s operating system, with no emotions, just there to take my commands?

That is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, especially since seeing the movie, “Her”.  The whole idea of artificial intelligence, and its ability to morph and grow and develop is kind of scary.  That movie really disturbed me, while my techie husband thought it was just great.  Hmmm.

I do confess that I’ve started to check my email at red lights.  Now who would be so stupid to do such a thing?  Then I saw this clip, and thought really hard about the whole “keeping up with technology” attitude that is out there, and I finally came to the place where I will go back to the phone that I felt comfortable with, my silver flip-top Motorola – soon.

I kind of like dropping out of the whole techie scene where one has to keep up with all the latest stuff (that is not cheap by the way).  I never wanted to be part of the status quo anyways.  So yeah, you don’t have to bother texting me, emailing me, or sending me a FaceBook message.  If you want to contact me it’s easy, try picking up the phone and calling me, I’ll call you right back!

Oh, if you get a moment, let me know what kind of phone you are using these days, I am really curious how many of you are in love with what you are using. 🙂

Slow Down Your Life: Letting Go of Technology’s Grasp

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

Is it just us?  Women over fifty who feel like our life is speeding up each day, and it’s all we can do to keep our  head above water? Jogging in the woods this January, I felt that way, and thought if I could pretend it was 1970 something instead of 2014, then maybe I could slow my life down again to a pace more in keeping with my natural biorhythm. If it was 1970 something now, what would I still do, and what would be different? I would do what I did this morning – make coffee, meditate, say prayers/affirmations, and go running. I would be focused internally, connecting with and filling myself up first, before focusing on the expectations and demands of the external world. Then I may talk to people on mypushbutton phone landline or meet them in person. I certainly wouldn’t turn my cell phone and computer on first thing in the morning or leave them on until bedtime to check voicemails, texts and emails. When I have done that before, I’ve felt pulled from my center. Depletion and disconnection followed, along with the feeling of treading water to keep my head above it. What can you do to slow down and release technology’s hold on you?

  1. Claim one day a week to be completely unplugged from the internet or email.turnoffpcoops50
  2. Set boundaries around technology each day. Create a self-connection routine first thing in the morning and at the end of your day. This could include prayer, meditation, walking in the woods or on the beach, exercising, journaling, painting, etc. It’s very empowering to do this, because you’re telling yourself and the universe that you value yourself and your time, choosing to be proactive and creative vs. reactive and  programmed.
  3. Turn your computer off by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and don’t check email after this. Spend your evening connecting with friends in person or by phone. Read, create, play.
  4. Put your cell phone away when with other people and mute it. Honor who you’re with.
  5. Pay attention to your time spent on social media. Is it really adding to or subtracting from your life?“A 2013 study published by the Public Library of Science showed that more use of Facebook meant less sense of well-being and more feelings of envy.”

Yogaoops50Finally if you were to die tomorrow, would you wish you’d spent more time on email or the web? Or would you wish you’d spent more face to face time with loved ones or seeing the world?     Barbara Brady, Coach & Trainer Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition www.mycoachbarbara.com

In Praise of Technology

 On the 7th of January, as we were driving my son to the airport in Charlotte, NC, already worried that we were going to miss his plane for Tel Aviv (where he is doing a six-month fellowship), he announced that he had left a vital sheet of information on the dining table back home.  This paper contained the name, address, and phone number for the person who was going to meet him in the airport at the other end of his trip, so you can imagine my reaction!  But, while his mother (and father) descended into panic, my son calmly called his sister, still at home, and asked her to find the paper, take a picture of it, up close enough for him to read it, and then text it to his phone.  The whole process took about five minutes.  Our car never even slowed down!

Another anachronism: the payphone line!
Another anachronism:
the payphone line!

As we drove on, I couldn’t help but describe to my son how that same set of events would have played out fifty years earlier.  I could see two possible scenarios:  1) a rapid turn-around and drive back home to pick up the paper, missing the plane or 2) a frantic search for a rest area with a payphone, followed by a desperate crawl all over the floor of the car looking for a quarter, followed by someone standing miserably in the freezing cold with a pencil and paper held awkwardly in hand while trying to hear the words and numbers being dictated over the phone, with no writing surface except someone else’s back!  (Not to mention–unless you were lucky enough to have little Wash ‘n Dry wipes in your purse–the lingering fear that you might have contracted something from the pay phone.)

The computer my husband used to write his dissertation!
The computer my husband used to write his dissertation!

And this got me to thinking about some of the scenes from my life that would never happen nowadays:

1) the common experience of being lost in a city, late for some event, and listening to my parents fret over whether they should stop and ask directions (my mother’s preference) or keep driving around looking (my father’s choice

2) the experience of being out somewhere, away from home or the library, and trying to win an argument about some basic historical, literary, or scientific fact and not being able to prove your point without driving back home and pulling out the Columbia Encyclopedia

A manual typewriter
A manual typewriter

3) being completely out of touch with your family, except for letters in your mail box or the collect call home from the “hall phone” in your college dorm, which was usually right out in the middle of people, with no privacy at all

4) typing my senior thesis in graduate school on a manual type writer with four carbon copies and having to correct all four every time I made a mistake

5) running out of “White Out” and panicking

6) shuffling through paper cards in the card catalogue of your college to find a book (I miss this one!)

7) even a more recent change:  calling and embarrassing your child at a party to make sure he/she is alive (texting provides such a better cover for parenting!)

So,  I suppose there are some wonderful things about technology!

My father's first car phone!
My father’s first car phone!

Getting Back to Simpler Times

SADHVI
SADHVI

Getting older is turning out to be more interesting than I thought it would be.  I’m even calling myself an old crone sometimes, just for fun, so I can start to realize that I’m not the young Sadhvi that I tend to think I still am!  It also makes me feel wise.

If I am going to be alive this long, I will have more things that I’ve seen than someone who is 20.  Simple math, I know.  And that also means that some things that are around don’t really ring my bell, so to say.

I’m all right if you want to pay lots of money for those things.  But if you talk about how much you love your new iPhone, for instance, and that love rant goes on for more than a minute or so, I will probably have to say something like how weird is it to LOVE your new gadget!

Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Snowy

We’ve been watching the Tintin cartoon series lately to wind down at the end of our day.  The animation is really neat, and they are always exciting to watch.

Tintin is a super hero who goes to different places all over the world to rid the planet of bad people.

And he does it without a computer, a smart phone, texting, having a GPS or being hooked up to social media – my type of hero!

While going through a stack of magazine, I came across an old Vanity Fair magazine from August 2011.  While flipping through the pages, a black and white photo of Joseph Heller sitting in his NYC office with his feet on his desk struck me as something that looked funny, like something was out of place.

Then I realized there is no computer, smart phone, iPad, or laptop anywhere around in that photo, just a typewriter with a piece of paper in it, a rotary dial phone, and some pens and pencils in a round holder.  Joseph Heller wrote the novel Catch-22 back in 1961, which according to many is one of the greatest anti-war books ever written.  Maybe you remember it?

Joseph Heller

While I was only a small child in 1961, I do remember the movie, mostly because it came out in 1970!  I’ve also used a typewriter like the one in the photo a lot, and had a rotary dial phone in the house that I grew up in (where the cord can reach across the room with the phone base not moving an inch!).

I even own one today and it’s in my office 🙂

Looking at that photo made me see how far the whole industry has come.  And how expensive these new technologial “wonders” cost to buy, and how the companies who make them have suceeded through colors and marketing that we can’t live without them.

But I’ve started to notice people of all ages say that they are just not into all of it any more.  Maybe the pendulum is moving back to simpler times?

I’ve heard young people say that they are going back to a flip-phone, because the smartphones feel too crazy on their heads.

Or that they hate FaceBook, and don’t ever use it.

Or take the woman the chestnut stand the other day — after we chatted briefly, she laughed and said how nice it was to connect, and not with FB.  I asked her if she was addicted to FB and she said she used to be, but not anymore; she doesn’t want to “like” of “share” what is going on with her life.  She wants to just live it.

You might wonder why I post for this blog, since it is sharing.  Good question:  the only reason is that I send this out to friends and family, and it’s my way of staying in touch with them.

The idea that Oprah or HuffPost would contact us to be the voices of our generation have long dropped away.  We, including me, just like to write!

 

rotary dial phone sweetie2sweetie etsy