Technology, Part Two

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR “LIFELINE” goes south? I kept hoping against all odds that my phone would survive its impromptu swim in the toilet, but as the week progressed, though it could be turned on and it was “working”, fewer and fewer of the apps responded to my touch properly and it would randomly shut down. I was unable to get into my calendar to make sure I’d “synced” everything to the huge wall calendar in the kitchen. It will be interesting to see if I miss any important appointments. I couldn’t get the cloud and the phone to communicate to backup anything—photos, most current addresses and phone numbers (sigh). About the only thing that worked reliably was my Scrabble game (go figure—but even that stopped opening for me). I was receiving texted, but couldn’t open them at times (talk about frustrating …) and thankfully, I’d already had all calls transferred to my other phone. Which, by the way, is not the best phone in the world. It either takes forever to get opened when a call comes in (thus, I miss it!) or the moment I touch the phone (in picking it up) I accidentally drop the incoming call. It’s been a comedy of errors—and all I can do is smile … and laugh (otherwise I’d go bonkers)!

So … I started being a bit more philosophical about all these electronic devices in my life. I’ve succesfully cut down drastically the amount of time I spend on the television—that felt good. Do I really need this iPhone? Yes, I am extremely dependent upon it … but do I need to be?  Once I started thinking about what it would require—the changes I’d need to make—I warmed to the idea of shedding the expensive smart phone for something a little less … technology-heavy. Less? You might ask how on earth will I survive. By using my Fitbit as a pedometer (until the rechargable battery dies, then revert to my less expensive, less all-functioning Fitbit that simply counts my steps and has no alarms or timers) and manually log the steps on paper—which I’m doing now (or maybe into the online page—maybe—that’s more technology … and my DSL is slower than molasses compared to the smart phone).

As I contemplated this concept, I became more and more comfortable with it. That is … until I realised I needed something for my credit card reader—for the business end of my life. Book and art sales. And I’ve grown to depend on the clarity of the photo app (and my cool little special apps for tweaking the photos—all business related) Oh, drats. Since I don’t have any book signings coming up anytime soon, I’ve not been fretting about it (too much) … and I do have other cameras I can fall back onto. So, I’m just weighing the options and was waiting on a response from my inquiry at the credit card reader’s web site to see if they have any suggestions (they weren’t that helpful, but gave me some things to research). But, that means I either need to go back to the iPhone (I’ve already started looking at refurbished phones—they’re about half the price of the current model, but still pricey) … or go to another platform within Apple—or look to other brands of phones. Oh, yes … I figure with all these changes, I’ll be changing carriers too (when you can’t receive calls in the house—where I spend an awful lot of my time—it’s time to change).

I certainly have been online a whole lot less … kinda nice, but discovering that I’m not as prompt in responding to business communications (oops). There must be a compromise that allows me to be freer of technology, yet allows me to be in touch where I need to be. I’ve not missed Facebook (though, again … I’ve got two business pages that need to be cared for)—when I come online, I’ve a huge number of notifications that need to be addressed … both personal and business. Sigh.

So, what have I decided after a week on being less visible? Technology has it’s place if I don’t let it run my life (personally or professionally). Once I get my new phone (and it will be a smart phone) I will probably be shedding quite a few apps—the ones that tether me to my phone way too much. I’m still trying to decide which one’s those are, but I know there will be quite a few I’ll be saying g’bye to: the ones I don’t use but once in a while … oh, I’ve got a ton of those! But there are still quite a few that I know I’ll be keeping—wonder if I’ll ever feel I can live without them.

So much for escaping the digital world.

Have you ever run into this kind of dilemma? What have you done—go with the flow or rebel against the technology? Please let me hear what you’ve got to say.

Until then, may your Friday and the week ahead be blessed beyond belief!

Technology

I’M CERTAINLY NOT A TECHNOPHOBE. I can find my way around a DSLR camera, cell phone, computer … and various other electronic devices fairly well. But, by no means can I be considered a technophile either. Technology is going to happen, whether I embrace it or not. Sometimes it’s helpful—as in the advances it affords medical and research … sometimes it merely makes us lazier (remote controlled devices are excellent examples), and sometimes it’s just plain ol’ frustrating—like it has a mind of its own …

Last Friday was an interesting day for me, electronically speaking. I awoke to a power outage … my iPhone’s alarm woke me out of a deep sleep. It was light enough that I really didn’t realise there was a problem—the digital time on my clock radio can’t be seen that well (I have it set on low) when it’s light out. I depend on my iPhone for the time. I actually didn’t realise it until I stepped into the kitchen where I automatically flipped the light switch and nothing happened. Yup … power outage.

At that moment, I was so glad Jim and I made gas one of our requirements when searching for a house. The house was cold so I automatically went down the hall to pop the thermostat up and realised no power … no heat. Drats. Confident I could make breakfast—even without electricity, I headed for the stove. I tried to get a flame going to make eggs … quickly remembering that it had an electronic starter and there was no electricity, so I immediately turned the gas off and went searching for my little handy-dandy long-handled, propane fire starter. Location unknown … hmmm. Oh, well … breakfast out—I needed my coffee or tea. Definitely.

Well … once I was dressed, the power came on so I had my breakfast at home and entered the meal on MyFitnessPal app. My multitude of electronics (microwave, coffee maker, stove, clock radios) were all flashing at me, telling me to reset the clocks. Ugh. Later. I’d been knocked off my routine, so I forgot to sync my Fitbit to my phone app … no big deal—I’d do it later.

I went on my errands, delivering things to friends and made a pit stop at Open Ground Studios. I figured I’d do a wee bit of gardening whilst there, but I dropped my iPhone in the toilet (insert eye roll here) … before I had a chance to flush (yuck). I quickly dried it off and rushed home to put it in rice … hoping to save it. It made an awful lot of weird noises in the first 12 hours.

Then, I started to realise how dependent I truly was to electronics. I could not get into my phone to forward my calls to my secondary phone (which I needed to find and charge first). As night fell, I realised I couldn’t use the handy flashlight to get me up the dark stairwell (yes, I could turn on the lights, but it was my habit to save electricity—sniggle) and that meant if there was another power outage, I’d need a flashlight. So, I went searching for one. Took me forever to find one … which had not been used in so long, it needed batteries. And the cascade of event continued.

I couldn’t play Scrabble (one of my iPhone apps)—part of my evening routine. Sure, I could probably find a game on my laptop, but I didn’t want to have to wrestle with a cat trying to sit between me and the screen. I couldn’t enter my food entries into my MyFitnessPal app so I had to use my laptop for that … nor could I get my Fitbit to communicate with my laptop. And then I realised I wouldn’t be able to use MapMyWalk app either … on those rare days I manage to find time to get to Point Lobos or down on the beach or wherever to walk. Drats. By the way … have I mentioned my DSL connection is like dial-up? Slug-slow compared to the smart phone (which is why default to the smart phone more and more).

I couldn’t check the weather on the iPhone. Again, had to use my laptop. The iPhone make getting all information (no matter which app) so much easier—and faster—than on the laptop. Switching back and forth to different pages is a breeze on the iPhone and so cumbersome (not to mention time consuming) on the laptop. Saturday, when a young deer browsed in my yard, I realised I didn’t have access to the quick-snapshot-photos … I’d have to use my clunky DSLR to take a picture. Over the last three months or so I’ve defaulted to my iPhone for photos because of my cataracts. I’m not getting sharp shots with my DSLR. With the iPhone, its quick, excellent images make it so easy. Yes, I could put the DSLR into automatic, but it takes more time to get the settings right (I’m not perfect). And, at that point I realised that I’d no longer have the “instant” uploading of photos available—and waterlogue (watercolour) app was no longer an option. I’d have to use Photoshop. Back to finding time to download onto my laptop’s external drive, then upload onto FB or wherever I wanted it to be. There were so many more realisations that popped into my head in the first 24 hours of no smart phone. It’s truly amazing how much I depend on it.

Next week, I’ll explain my thought processes on what I am trying to do whilst my dependable phone is no longer dependable …

How dependent are you on all of your electronic devices? Could you live without them?

 

 

 

Traveling—Again …

AAAH … TRAVEL. YES, once again I’m gearing up to travel. My new passport just arrived and it has my head buzzing with ideas. But first, I have some tedious taxes to tend to (lol—an unintended alliteration) … and book four to polish. In the meantime, “normal” life goes on …

I read an article in Monday about how we are so tearjerker (what??? I do have issues with autocorrect … can you tell?)—let’s try that again: about how we are so tethered to our smartphones … and, so says the “CNTraveler” writer, even in travel—that it is “dumbing us down”. It article was shared on Facebook by International Hostelling—an organisation I love, by the way … inexpensive rooms and so many diverse and interesting people under one roof, no matter where you stay. IH makes travel more fun because you are able to put your money into seeing the places you visit, rather than into the accommodations … yup. Hostels are awesome.

Well … anyway, this writer disagrees with the article. Perhaps I’m the oddity, but I’ll wear that title gladly. I find travel stimulating, whether within the confines of our political borders … or when breaking away and crossing those borders—or an ocean—to explore.  Yes, I do use my laptop, but the cost of using my smartphone abroad (all those gigabytes add up so quickly—yikes!) becomes prohibitive and besides … there’s way too much to see and do to be bothered with spending much time with my electronic devices. No texting, no phoning, no Googling. I’ll only go on it to work on my blog … or perhaps to write down some ideas for my ongoing storyline (but I also have a notebook—the paper kind), or check out and reserve a room at the next spot I’ll be visiting … and of course, to off-load all the photos I take whilst traveling. And there’s plenty of them!

This year will be no exception. As a matter of fact, I will be concentrating on my photography—especially whilst in Scotland, since that is going to figure into my story line. In some form … OOPS. Well, mo more spoilers. I’ll just leave you to ponder that one. Teehee.

So. I’ve been working on getting my itinerary in order. There are fixed events that I must plan my stay around. The Celtic Invasion Vacations tour in Cornwall is set in stone, so to speak. I know I want to make a trip to Cardiff to the Dr. Who Experience (foiled twice … definitely going to get it right the third time!) and have two friends in London and outlying areas that I want to visit … which will entail a visit to the Shakespeare Theatre to see “Midsummer Night’s Dream” … and maybe a visit to an elementary (primary) school to entertain the youngsters with spontaneous storytelling (working on that right now). But my primary destination will be Scotland. As far north as I can manage in the time I have. The furthest I’ve managed in the past is in and around Edinburgh—don’t get me wrong … I could spend my entire trip in Edinburgh and be completely happy. But I want to get up near Wick (south of the northeast tip of Scotland) if it’s at all possible, as our clan castle (Gunn) is somewhere near this area—I need to research this further. If not this trip, then on my next trip. Yup, there will be another trip, health permitting …

Trying to juggle all the places and things I want to do definitely requires planning, so even though I’m three-months out, I’m already behind. I do have my air fare to/from the states and the hotel rooms just before my tour and a couple nights before my departure for home. My first night’s stay is not settled, as I really don’t know which way I’ll be headed. Do I travel by trains? Rent a car? (Maybe a wee bit of both??) So many things to figure out … and so little time to do it.

Not much more to say at this point, but my next “trip” blog will be more informative. If you are interested in any of my previous travels, then look through and click on the Tags (on the right) for “Europe Travel” (and others) to keep you busy till my next blog.

Until then, hoping your St. Paddy’s Day was a memorable one and that you can see the proverbial light (Springtime) at the end of the long, dark (Winter) tunnel.

Slainté