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We’re Getting Old: I’m Getting Old

Salmon Dinner

Our dinner consisted of 1 of the last 2-2 lb salmon fillets from Ilamna, fresh roasted asparagus from ProFarm, and Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend.

This realization does not come lightly. I have consistently resisted this thought. I’ve fought against it. I’ve argued it. I’ve stated that age is a state of mind. I continue to believe that life must be celebrated, not dreaded. But, slowly, in my 34th year, the realization has set: I am getting old.

There is something about 34 that rings differently to me. It’s one step closer to 35. Something about 35 is so close to 40. Those I know who have crept past 35 show their age in different ways. Some show it in their eyes. Some show it in their calm demeanor. Some show it in their resignation. Something about getting close to 40 that sets the perspective wheels in motion.

Today, it was technology that set off the thought. This thought has percolated since my birthday. I segment my 30s in threes. Between 30 and 33 it’s the first bit, the early thirties. 34 to 36 is the mid thirties. This is followed by the latter thirties with the age range 37-39. And, after 39 is 40. And, shouldn’t we have it all figured out at 40? I’m nearing half way through my 34th year. It’s another year of introspection, and today I was considering technology.

I don’t want to learn anymore technology. (More or less says the gal with the iPhone who covets a new Retina Macbook Pro and wants to integrate her house on the cloud with a dream kitchen of touch screen recipes perhaps sequenced into the stove.) I’ve mastered countless databases. I’ve learned expert levels of Word and Excel. I could navigate any Windows system (XP and earlier) like counting freckles on the back of my hand. I could trouble shoot any system to the awe of the computer frightened, walking in like the Savior to rescue a mis-saved document.

But now, my speech stutters to find the right terms. I’m tired of how it changes all the time. I don’t care about learning the new Windows (7), the new version of Ubuntu, or where the print icons in Mac are and how they differ. I just want it to stay the same. I want it to all be stagnate for a while.

But now, my speech stutters to find the right terms. I’m tired of how it changes all the time. I don’t care about learning the new Windows (7), the new version of Ubuntu, or where the print icons in Mac are and how they differ. I just want it to stay the same. I want it to all be stagnate for a while.

And, while I was considering this, with whatever technological gizmo that set off the thought, it occurred to me that I am old. I’m tired of the fast pace whizzing by. I am tired, and I can’t keep up. I want routines (4p dinner anyone?) and consistency so I can just work on what I want to work on. No longer do I care about the next new thing. No longer am I impressed with how fast our cloud-based app world moves. I am complaining about the speed of life, like an old person, so that must mean I am old.

My son has admitted that I’m old on a few occasions now. So, that gives further credibility to the claim.

And, then tonight, my friend pontificates over dinner the difference between smoking and Facebook. That’s right, she argued that Facebook has supplanted smoking in after-dinner routines (as I uploaded my dinner pictures to Facebook). She queried, “What? Are we so bored with our friends that we must look to our technological gadgets to entertain us?” Certainly not a new argument. I enjoyed the cigarette comparison where we are giving our idle hands something to do. But, “No,” I eventually countered. I think it’s just that we’re getting old. (My Facebook upload aside.) We are older so we can sit longer and be quiet longer. It’s these young kids (the person in question is 26) who need constant entertainment to grab them. They have not been thoroughly, or properly, introduced to quiet mediations and the importance of silence in conversation.

Yes, I think it is simply that we are getting old. And, you know, I’m finally okay with it.

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Ear Buds

I don’t know anyone who dislikes music. I only know people who like music in varying degrees on the musical spectrum. I enjoy music. I concentrate better with music (sometimes). I listen to music improve my mood if I’m grouchy. I listen to music to calm me down when I’m frustrated, like when driving in rush hour traffic. So, although I’ve enjoyed music, I’ve never invested in it like some people make a point to do.

I’ve owned a small radio, a CD player, a larger radio (still under $100), one tuner (now broken), and a $20 mp3 player (now missing parts!!). I own maybe 30 CDs. I love music, I just don’t invest in it. I buy books. I buy art supplies. I don’t usually buy music. I am not hip on new artists (or even old artists). I know what I like when I listen to it. I often say things like, “Oh! That guy!”

Regarding technology, in general, I’m usually a few years behind the most recent thing. I buy mid-grade computers when I buy them new. And, that’s only happened twice. Afterwards, I refurbish the parts, and often use Open Source software. I have only purchased two mobile phones. two in 6 years. I received phones from relatives in between. so, now, I have a new, fancy phone that is new technology, and a little more than midgrade!

This phone happens to be a built-in music player (and camera, and video recorder, and email, and calendar)… yes… a true “personal computer“. The phone came with ear buds, but like most ear buds, they didn’t work for my ears. So, I bought fancy new ones. A co-worker called them “gummies”. I didn’t even know they had a nickname.

Well these little buggers work. I have never, in all my limited music listening (save one experience with a pair of snug fitting Bose headphones), had a personal music device that sounded so .. good. Without music, like some Bose headphones, it works as a white noise filter, blocking out various background noises. With music, that’s all I hear. Even when turned down low. (Okay, I can hear the phone ringing at work too.) It was an amazing experience, when I first tried them. My husband and child were chattering in the room, just feet away from me, yet I couldn’t hear them. I was in a crowd, but it was nearly silent.

Going from old technology to very new is an exciting process. The phone I had before was a first generation (phone) touch screen that barely registered my swooping finger. The software was buggy and the sound quality was awful. I get my shiny new phone with ear buds, and it’s like the world has been revolutionized.

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Cardmunch

This post is about Cardmunch. Cardmunch is a LinkedIn app for smartphones. It scans a picture of a business card and submits it to the cloud. The business card comes back, fully transcribed, and ready to import into your phone’s contact list. If there’s a mistake — you simply resubmit.

I’ve had a stack of business cards that made my planner too bulky — just sitting around my house — for more than a year. I’m more than half way through that stack, and I’ve cleared space out of my planner for more collections. Amazing. Technology, working.

I love my new phone.

Cardmunch
Cardmunch, the supplies
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Using Siri

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14:  A man uses 'Sir...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Levi is playing with his linguine. I am sitting here watching him. I am dictating this into my phone. I am using Siri.

I broke down. An offer was made. I went to the store with my friend, and I bought the iPhone.

Now, I sit here, and dictate this message into my phone. Blogging on a whole new level. I gaze around my kitchen. I’m looking at the things that need to be cleaned up. I am not at my computer. I am talking into my phone. I am having Siri transcribe my thoughts.

A commentary on a new world. It’s a commentary on the anthropomorphic relationship we have with our technology.

Levi is playing with his Knight Rider Lego, while it drives through the flour. What will technology look like when he’s 16? He will be five in February. 16 is only 11 years away. This iPhone is a version that has been created since 2007. After four years, Siri is reality. In 11 years what will it look like? In 11 years, what will the technology look like when Levi is ready to get his driver’s license?

Updated (late): The WordPress app (I’m assuming) posted this three times after claiming to fail, more than three. And, there was at least one word error I noticed rereading this, late. Regardless, I dictated just under 200 words with my technology as one would dictate into a dictaphone. I think that’s pretty cool.

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Happy New Year!

It is New Year’s Eve, 2011. Tonight, we turn the year over to 2012. The year the Mayan calendar finishes. What will it bring?

Well, some planned events include an office move. I expect to return to public transit commuting instead of the 100% car commuting I have done. I purchased an iPhone for my Christmas present, so I expect 2012 will include more technology getting me through the day. Friends have encouraged me to stop underselling myself, so I expect 2012 will be another year of growth. Levi will turn five this year! Five! So, we will meet new challenges and changes as we move into kindergarten.

This year, I partook in a “Blog a Day” challenge. From January through August, I posted 253 posts and was 104% to goal. By today, year’s end, I’ve only posted 318 posts and have ended up at 87% to goal.

When I started this challenge, while I enjoyed writing every day, I started to get bored with venting about my days. After sometime, it became soothing. Then, I got busy, and I missed it. When I started, I thought in 2012 I would focus on one post a week instead of one a day, but I think that I will do the one-a-day post again. It doesn’t matter what’s posted, as long as something is. This should encourage further pattern enhancements.

So, here’s to 2011.

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Technology Challenged

The first developers of IBM PC computers negle...
Image via Wikipedia
I ordered a SanDisk 1 GB MP3 player from WOOT! on Thanksgiving Day, and it came today! Two weeks later, but it is seemingly worth it. The MP3 player was only $15.99 plus the mandatory $5 shipping. A $21 refurbished MP3 player, how could I go wrong? I read a review on CNET that explained this one was good for the beginner! My husband later translated saying it meant it was probably crap, come on, he goaded, it comes with an FM tuner! How could it possibly work up to par?

As soon as I got it, I ripped the package open with the razor blade that sits in the junk drawer, like a kid on Christmas Day, so eager to see what lay hidden in the box. It was an Amazon book sized box, so I was startled to see that the giant postal service air bubble took up 7/8 of the room inside! The MP3 player consisted of three small plastic-wrapped packages: one bubble wrapped MP3 player, one USB plug in sealed a plastic bag, and one set of ear buds in a small Ziploc type baggy. At first, I tried to take out the battery, but I was afraid I’d use too much force, so I gave that up. Then, my husband looked at it, and he hit the power button, and the thing immediately lit up! It even held a charge! This was something the Wooters warned against, shipping will probably drain the battery, and mine had a charge! I tried to sync it, again, according to the Wooters, and it didn’t work. Maybe the first-timer tragedy was appearing. I unplugged it from the PC, and turned it back on, tested out the choices such as the FM turner. It seemed to be working, and quite well for something that was doomed to be crap. After fiddling with it for a bit longer, I was able to get it Synced, added a small horde of songs stashed on my PC, and after the baby was put down for a nap, sat on the couch, doing what I wanted all along, study with music stuck in my ears. This is the extent of my technological insight now a days.

Growing up, we played Oregon Trail in 5th grade, I was typing 20 wpm in 8th grade while playing that silly space-alien game on our IBM 386s, and by 10th grade, my speed was up to 65 wpm, and when I was a senior, it was 75 wpm. I knew how to manage most software programs that I came across. I started on the blue screen version of Word Perfect 5.1. I gradually learned when it changed to the GUI 6.0, I started on Works 3.11 for Workgroups at home, and when Word really was rockin’ and rollin’, I used that too. It was especially handy that my favorite math teacher had the Windows 95 educational version of the Office Suite where I was able to play with PowerPoint for the first time, and it was wonderful. We made our math presentations on a projector that was placed on top of the projector to translate the computer screen to the big screen. We thought we were so cool.

I went to college in ’96, and MSU had PILOT email, a telnet based email program that was so slow, and you had to flip through email pages manually. There was no reading it on one screen. I got a job in the computer labs, where you babysat labs for 20 hours a week. Off duty, I helped a girl “fix” her computer by closing down a new document she accidentally opened, I was a hero. New friends were into text-based games, and I started playing Eternity’s Trials, a modified version of Zork, which was introduced to me by Barry and Chad in our high school computer class. In that computer class, we learned basic BASIC. But Mr. Carlton suggested that knowing software was far more transferable than knowing how to program. Maybe he just understood my personal limitations. In that on-line computer game, I eventually was “promoted” to immortal, and that trek lead me to sub-imp, which showed me the inner workings of the MUD. I learned how to reboot the mud from the UNIX server by logging in via telnet. I felt like I could learn anything.

College wasn’t working for me at the time; I just couldn’t get my head in the game. So, I moved back home. The next 6 years were spent working, trying to go back to school, and working some more. I stopped looking at office catalogs regularly. I stopped seeing what new software was out there. I stopped hanging around people where forever interested in Linux. But, I still knew Word, even backwards and forwards; Excel a little less so; and Access even less, but a great working knowledge of Access. I had managed databases, and created flow charts, so although my software skills were improving and expanding, I was in a technological funk. There was limited new information being processed, and I was beginning to feel like the older women I would teach to use a computer at whichever job I held at the time.

Now, I have an MP3 player. I’ve always been slow on the musical end of things, slow to get tapes, slow to get CDs, slow to put music on the computer, just slow musically. So, naturally, I have been quite slow getting an MP3 player. It chafes at my ideas of community and bonding. It goes against many things I hold dear, like why someone doesn’t need a cell phone. But, I have one of those now too. Studying and focusing has become harder lately, and it feels like the problem-solver will be an MP3 player. My future brother-in-law, Min, introduced Peter and me to WOOT! WOOT! was this site where they get new or refurbed products, and they sell only one a day. Min and Stacy bought two sweet looking, sweet performing cameras from the site. So, when we got home from Justin and Gina’s wedding, we started watching WOOT! everyday. One day, we saw a 2GB MP3 player for a price that seemed reasonable, just more than what we wanted to pay. Then, on Thanksgiving day, a reasonably priced, memory charge MP3 player was posted. I saw it at 10PM Pacific time, and when I was starting to prepare for the meal Thanksgiving morning, I researched it, checked to see if we could really use it here, and then I bought it.

My MP3 buying, as alluded to, is late coming. I’m getting a refurbished, first-timers MP3 player when most people have moved on to iPhones and other synced Apple products. I’m getting an MP3 player maybe as the wave of musical players is at its peak. They are all sleek, slim, and handy. This low-grade MP3 player has a color screen, basic options that let me do what I want with it regarding music listening, and I can even record voice. How can this be low-grade? Wouldn’t low-grade be an 8-track in your car? We’ve moved so far beyond 8-tracks and personal CD-players it’s dizzying. So, although I feel in many ways that I’m behind on the technology bandwagon, I think it’s just fine. Technology changes so fast, it seems almost better to be behind so you don’t get the first-run screw ups. You can wait for the $21 refurbished deals and have mild confidence, better than no-confidence, that it will do exactly what you want. For now, I’m happy to be behind the technology know-how.

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