I advance my calendar every day, but none is so satisfying as when we go from December 31st to January 1st. I swing that magnetic ball on a string slowly back to the beginning – January, and place the other ball on “1.” It begins its 365 day trek all over again.
I gave away the operating method of the calendar above, I’m sure, but you would be surprised how many look at it and ask, “How does it operate?” In a technological world this calendar is the lowest of low tech. Perhaps its futuristic design tricks you into believing there must be some mysterious way it moves through the year. No. Just me.
At this lame attempt at a New Year’s blog, I’ll add one story that always comes to mind this time each year. “Dick & Jane” readers were how I learned to read many years ago. The only story I remember was about a character named Nancy. She was one of the gang in her neighborhood and I was as upset as her friends when Nancy announced she was moving. The friends were upset to see her go and threw a beautiful going away party for her. The following day the moving truck backs up to Nancy’s house and loads everything as her friends watch with sad faces. Then it drives two doors down on the same block and carries it all into her new home.
I’ll never forget the feeling of relief, though I realized Nancy had taken advantage of her friends a little. Everyone had enjoyed a wonderful party and good wishes among friends, the move had come and gone, and nothing important was going to change all that much—kind of like the new year. Have a happy one and visit me often in the same old neighborhood.
It’s a double edged sword you soon find out, helping your granddaughter set up a Facebook page. We’ve both waited for this day and like all things having to do with technology, we aren’t quite sure why. We can’t know what the experience will bring, so I haven’t thought beyond seeing her cute little avatar right there on my page of friends. And there it is this morning. I check to see how her page is going.
In a few hours she has half as many “friends” as I’ve gathered in over a year. The following day that count surpasses me. So I make a comment to her and she answers me. “kk” What the H— oh, I mean heck does that mean? Conversations between her and friends are even more cryptic. So much for my solemn promise to her mother to be a watchdog. I don’t know what the * uh, heck they are saying. I have to confess here that I even looked up one word in Google dictionary. They had never heard of it either. And they are techies, so that made me feel as little less like a nodding lady in a rocking chair.
The other thing I didn’t foresee was my own words on my Facebook page. Suddenly I begin to go over in my mind what I might have uttered that I wouldn’t in my granddaughter’s presence. Do you know how long it takes to scroll back to older and older posts? At one point I said, “Wait a minute! You talk pretty much to your grands as you do anyone else.” In fact, some of my little stories and opinions in their presence have evoked a cringe factor from adults. Not “OMG Get her out of here before she sends them down the road to ruin” cringe, just a momentary catching of the breath. That will probably be the worst that will happen with my new “friends.” At least I hope so.
There is another thing on my side. With her friends count approaching Justin Bieber audience size, I really don’t think I’ll have to worry about her reading my posts. kk?
Are you the kind of friend who will talk me off a window ledge, or are you the one who yells, “Jump!”? (Oh yeah, YOU try to punctuate that last sentence.) Anyway, as I was saying, here I am on the ledge, down below is an unproven, first edition of iPad, and I want you to help me make up my mind.
A few weeks ago few had seen the iPad, though rumors abounded. Even then I was snatching those trial balloons by the string and pulling them to examine. Well, now the newest tech creature is out there. I’ve held one in my hand, though it was wisely tethered to a strong desk in an Apple store. To my credit I didn’t hug it to my chest and suck my thumb right there, but almost.
So now you are thinking, well what’s her problem? She wants it badly; it might poke holes in her budget, but she wouldn’t eat cat food, so what’s the problem? The problem is I’m a practical girl. Objects should fill a need or at least beautify me or the house (extra points if it beautifies me). I’m not sure the iPad qualifies. This is my assessment.
First, why NOT?
I have a laptop.
I have a desktop.
I have books.
I have magazines
That pesky budget thing
iPad doesn’t have a phone
I don’t travel all that much
Second, WHY NOT?
So much easier to travel with than laptop
So much cooler than laptop (Think of modern cell & old mobile phone.)
So much lighter than laptop
Touch screen—Whoa Doggies!
Easy note pad & quick research at writers’ conferences
Cats won’t get in front of screen
Can read online magazines instead of germy ones at doctor’s office
Can update blog, twitter and Facebook anywhere (Why? I don’t know)
Can easily download and send pictures on the fly
I talk less than 10 minutes a month on my cell phone
I can watch movies, TV or listen to music while on treadmill
Probably the strongest argument for WHY NOT? Is the whole treadmill thingy. OK I don’t have a treadmill, but I’ve thought of getting one. The problem is without something to keep me from getting bored, we both know I won’t be using it. There is no room to keep a treadmill anywhere in the two rooms with TV’s. The guest room, though would be perfect, but it has no TV, no cable connection. You see where I’m going, don’t you.? Buy iPad, buy treadmill, work out regularly, lose weight, gain bone mass, strengthen heart, become hot babe with hot new tech device.
You can see I might not be objective. That’s why I need your help. What do you say? Jump or Don’t Jump? I’d like your comments as well as votes.
So Obama is using text messaging to announce his VP in order to showcase his technological superiority over his opponent. Clever. Now if I were running McCain’s campaign, this is what I would tell him. “Listen, you Luddite, you have lost the technological battle. That’s a remote, not a Blackberry. Put it down. We are going with your strongest quality, your wicked sense of humor.”
Then the day before the Republican Convention McCain would announce his vice president via CB radio. “Hello, my friends. I mean good buddies. Riding shotgun with me on this journey will be **squawk squawk**. See you at the polls. 10-4, over and out.”
It just went off again in the drawer—the alarm on my mile counter. It’s playing a tiny, unrecognizable tune as it has every day at 7:30 p.m. for almost a year. You know, I’m self taught, but usually manage to remain respectable around technology. My VCRs aren’t blinking 12:00.But I cannot, absolutely cannot get that alarm to silence. It has already sucked the battery to the point that digital indicators are blank. I would have no idea how far I walked with this on my waist, but I would be alerted that it is 7:30 p.m. It’s not only an annoyance, but testimony to my fallibility. I wonder if it works under water…….
Gas is almost $4 a gallon and you have no choice but to drive to work or drive on the job. What do you do? Some of you are squeezing mileage with every fuel saving trick in the book, inflating tires fully, coasting when you can, cutting off your engine instead of idling, cleaning your filters, etc. There is nothing you can do about the fact that the ethanol mixture you are forced to burn gives you about one mile less per gallon. You’d done everything you can possibly do. Maybe not. Maybe you need to think outside the gas tank.
My son is a roofing contractor, one of the many tradesmen whose job entails a lot of driving between worksites, estimates, getting supplies, and to the office several times a day for paperwork needed in the field. Gas was taking a bigger and bigger bite out of his profit. He planned his trips to reduce mileage, helping some, but not enough. There was nothing more he could do—or was there? Perhaps desperation is the true mother of invention.
Just today in one situation Jason saved about $10 in gas—just one situation. This is how. Last week he picked up a used laptop cheap, then a small printer, set the computer up with an Internet card from Sprint, copied office forms into the computer. So today, on the way back from Daytona where he made an estimate, printed and delivered it, he received a call to come by the office. There was a bill that needed delivering today. “Fax it,” he said. The bill was in his computer in minutes. He then printed it right in the truck and made only a slight detour to Apopka to deliver the bill.
I tell you this for two reasons. First I’m proud of my son’s creative thinking and second I am imagining how many gallons of oil OPEC would not be selling if only a fraction of tradesmen adopted a similar method. I know off site technology is being used in large companies, police departments, professionals, etc., but think of all the independent business owners you meet on the roads everyday. What if they each could save only three trips per week? How much would demand go down and supply go up? And dare we hope–prices come down? And that is aside from increased productivity.
Sure, do what you can to increase fuel efficiency, but don’t stop there. Tap into that great American resource—INGENUITY.