Back from the Great Beyond

Alas, my fellow bloggers, I have returned from the Great Beyond. I have my computer back!!! Took long enough, don’t ya think? I can now sit at my computer in the comfort of my home at any hour I please in whatever outfit I choose, and blog to my heart’s delight. I no longer need to muffle a laugh and pretend I”m coughing. The library folks were not amused. You laugh in the library at your own risk.

I would like to take this moment to thank you, friends, for stopping by my blog when I managed a few posts. Thank you for not abandoning me. I apologize if I was delinquent in responding to any comments. Blogging on a Smartphone is ridiculous! Possible, but not very much fun.

Thank you for the support as well. Please allow me to share some of your comments, because they are so poignant. I hope you don’t mind:

Life without a computer is like a flower without bees… Enough to make you numb… This made little sense. (No, Le Clown, this makes perfect sense!)

…alone in the wilderness of reality. (Ralph, I couldn’t have said it better.)

I went to the library to use their computers and found that equally scary. (Yes, Shalagh. I felt exactly the same way.)

All computers suck, but we can’t live without them…like cars, phones, tvs, deodorant, etc….(No doubt, Christopher. It was the pits!!)

I was an outcast, without deodorant, or honey….You know if you go on a trip without deodorant you can’t live without it. You break down and spend the three bucks and you buy it. Only I couldn’t…it was horrible, horrible, horrible….

So, now I am back from the Great Beyond, or is it….that I have returned to the Great Beyond. Hmm….

We know that I dislike Dell. This is putting it mildly, I’ll admit. So, I’m stuck with Dell, I hope, knock on wood, at least for a few more years. For those of you with Dell computers, my sympathies. I hope yours is treating you better. Of course, with a new hard drive, it’s like having a brand new computer. It’s like having a car with a brand new engine. Right?

Speaking of cars, I have always given them names. My little green car was Esmeralda; my white car, her name is Pearl. With proper maintenance, they have always performed reasonably well.

It got me thinking, maybe what I need to do is give my computer a name. You know, play nice to my computer. Talk gently to it, give it a few pats, stroke it once in a while.  No more yelling at it, no more cursing. Compliment it instead, “You’re so fast today. So zippy!” Maybe if it had a name it would be more sympathetic and take the time to know me.

After a family discussion, we decided, indeed, it couldn’t hurt. This is what we came up with:

1.  Daphne:  This was my suggestion because when I think of Daphne, I think of someone who is kind, sensible, hard-working, good natured, and fun. I once knew a Daphne, and while she was a little gossipy, she was fun.
2.  Adele:  My older son’s contribution. Adele is his favorite recording artist. Kind of cute, huh? Did you know that Adele is slated to sing the new Bond theme song? Yeah, I read it on the Internet.
3.  Stripe:  My six-year-old’s idea. Hey, why not? It reminds me of an animal, but our computer does have three vertical lines down the center of the monitor. Actually, this may be the most appropriate one.

And finally,
4.  Dalek:  Remember they are an extraterrestrial race from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. This was Mr. Bumble’s idea. Now why we would want to name our computer after evil and hateful robots who want to take over the end of time is beyond me. Is this really a good idea? Will the computer start taking over, messing with our data and spit at us, destroy our lives? Will our computer have a complex, and by having a name with a negative connotation, in fact, become EVIL?

A 2010 redesign of the Daleks (in this case the Dalek Supreme). He looks fierce….

We need your help to sort this out. I think a poll is in order. Please take a minute to provide your best answer. It would mean the world to me. Thank you, thank you. My head is bowed.

photo credits: kern.justin via photopin cc; Wikipedia

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Ode to Dell

Technology, you are not my friend today
Built-in obsolescence made in a land faraway
It is their grand plan
The twenty-first century scam

You need a new hard drive, you say
It will last a warranty and a day
Replacement number two, now three
Request a restore disc for a nominal fee

Dell, for all your lightening-speed computing
It’s your customer service that needs rebooting
On the phone 58 minutes, 4 employees, dropped calls 3
All for a restore disc? You got to be kidding me

Your mind-numbing musak infiltrates my nightmare
To do it online with my computer impaired
Dell, oh Dell
You’ve made my life hell

photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page via photopin cc

Facebook and the Confessions and Ramblings of a Gen-X’er

I’m on Facebook, of course, along with the rest of the almost billion users. That’s mind numbing. As of June 2012, Facebook has over 955 million active users. This number includes mobile users (said to make up half the number of users), underage kids who shouldn’t be there in the first place (FB restricts users under age 13) , businesses, social groups, and people like me, who have a page but don’t check in much.

It’s been months since I’ve changed my status. People must think I’m dead. In light of recent tragic events, I shouldn’t say that casually. There’s a bigger representation of society as a whole on Facebook, the good and the bad. There’s bound to be some non-trustworthy individuals and, in my opinion, people who have lost their minds.

A business doesn’t exist now unless they’re on Facebook. This is so if someone “likes” a sandwich, their social network of hundreds or thousands will see that they like that sandwich, and hey, maybe they’ll “like” it, too. It’s creepy. I’m not on board.

This didn’t make me a good candidate for a marketing position (that included social media) that required that I apply through Facebook and, somehow through an “app,”  grant them access to my social network. I was too creeped out to apply. I let this one go.

Call me old-fashioned. I’m of Generation X, which means I’ve seen a typewriter. In fact, once upon a time, I owned one and used it. Oh, now I’m feeling old. I don’t miss typewriters. I do miss seeing people and socializing with them face-to-face. I don’t feel like it happens as often, or perhaps, it’s just my individual circle of friends. I sometimes get the sense that people think so as long as they’re checking in with you on Facebook that they are actively involved in your life. It could be that some people are now more accustomed to a virtual replica of you, the one that puts you in the best possible light, a version they prefer over the real you that may not be up to “liking” an updated status.

What’s with the status? Before Facebook, all status ever meant to me was whether you were  1) Single 2) Married, or 3) Divorced. If you were single and dating someone, “in a relationship,” you were still “Single.” Am I right? If you’re not married, you’re single.

Now, of course, we have eleven categories of the relationship status: 1)  Single 2) In a relationship 3) Engaged 4) Married 5) It’s complicated 6) In an open relationship 7) Widowed 8) Separated 9) Divorced 10) In a civil union, and 11)  In a domestic partnership. Everyone is invited now.

I appreciate Facebook’s openness to everyone’s sexual preferences, etc. I really do. I like that about Facebook. Sure, it makes everything a little more complicated. Oh, that’s a category in and of itself.  What am I saying again?

I can’t imagine this is what Mark Zuckerberg imagined when he created Facebook. Remember, initially it was a mating dance for the college set, Harvard students and a few other campuses. People could report their status (Was it their relationship status? Whereabouts/event status?) Whether or not they were in a relationship, seeing someone, dating, and this conceivably, at the college age when everyone is really horny, changed on a daily basis, or hourly. Perhaps, this is where the idea of “status” updates began. I could be wrong.

I did make an effort with Facebook when I signed on. I joined Facebook when I was in a dance theater group. Facebook was our method of  sharing photos taken personally and  professionally. Well, what a better place to display them but on Facebook. It was free press for our dance company. The dancers were gorgeous and in their twenties and, like celebrities, always ready for a photo-op, a potential tagged photo for Facebook. I learned quickly.

No matter how much I tried to be Facebook ready, I just wasn’t. These dancer friends of mine, they were seasoned Facebook pros. Still, even if I didn’t like the photos that I was in, I still wanted to see them. I’m no longer in the group, but the dance photos remain. There have been other photos since, again ones I’m not crazy about. My husband like to put up family photo albums. Usually I respond this way,  “Oh, no. Yuck. That’s got to come off.” I guess I can put up with a few bad photos of myself for the sake of our family.

In the meantime, I am by no means passing judgement on those who enjoy Facebook. I realize I can and probably will publicize my blog. Perhaps, some of my friends will want to read my posts. But,  probably not today.

I’ve rambled long enough. Thanks for reading.

photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via photo pin cc

The Library, My Friend and Yours

Recently, I had a bit of snag with overdue book notices from my local library. Like the rest of civilization, the library must progress with the digital age. I’m not going to pick on the library. I love my library. I rely on my library.

As a kid, I went to the library with my mom often. It was part of our cheap fun. My two sisters and I were allowed to check out 10 books a piece, and my mother, an avid reader, checked out her own set. At $.05  a book per day, we could rack up some fines, and my mom recalls we often did just that.

The date stamp was imprinted on each book. If you wanted to know when a book was due, open the inside cover and there it was. No hassle. No remembering. Ah, yes, simplicity at its finest. The date stamp. I fear some of you may not even know what this is.

What you have now is an onion skin sheet of paper printed with a list of your books and the due date. All good and well if you can keep track of a thin scrap of paper. It usually gets lost inside of a book until, of course, the books are past due, or it’s thrown in my purse, the big black hole.

I pick up books for my sons on a regular basis, especially my six-year-old who only wants to read everything just once. Occasionally something is worth mentioning, named by title, or even considered for his permanent collection. “Mom, buy this one.” I keep checking out more and more books.

So, understandably, I get a pile of books each time. I usually scan them myself, even though the librarians look, well, a little lonely. I doubt that they don’t have enough to do. With all the budget cuts, hours have been cut as well. It’s hard to keep track of the new hours and, at my local library, Mondays are just simply closed all together.

Conveniently, I have an online library account, which for the first two years went to the wrong email address. My fault. But this didn’t help matters. I was in a darkness for a spell hoping I remembered when my library books were due, usually about a dozen or so books at once, a guess a far cry from my mother’s forty books that she had to keep track of. I knew they had a three-week check-out span, and I could more or less keep track of that. More or less.

If my son was finished with most of his books, but really just wanted to hear one story over and over, which didn’t happen often, I would return the other books except the one he fancied. This was confusing if I then later stopped by the library to pick up a few more books. You see, now I had books with two different due dates.

When I finally visited my online account and provided the correct email address, things were working like clockwork. The library gives a three-day notice to gather your books and return them. Things were working like clockwork I tell you until I received an overdue notice of books I had already turned in. Panic settled in momentarily. This must be a mistake? Was there a library thief awaiting with gloved hands as I dropped them into the book drop abyss? Was someone just dying to have my book on The Everything Guide to Social Media?

My next notice from the library was a list of books that were due in three days, Ellison the Elephant and Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent (I highly recommend this book).  Fine, but it didn’t list the other ten or so books I checked out. Whatever, I can assume they all due.  

So, they are promptly turned in and I go about my business checking out a new set of books using the lightning quick, efficient scanning machine. Even the very young want to have a crack at it, swiping to their heart’s delight. It’s not like the self-checkout at the grocery store, which is only convenient when buying no fruits or vegetables, and/or if you don’t have many groceries. I feel a sense of obligation to use it to move forward with technology. Can’t you see the capable scanner there? I But I wonder if the librarians miss the human interaction. There must be less of it, yes?

Still I hesitate. What about my late books? Will the scanner scream at me, “Your account is delinquent. Access denied.” Will I be in trouble? Will it resemble the airport late check-in? Since it is the library I think they would announce something like, “Your account requires attention. Please seek assistance from your nearest librarian.” Oh hell, the library is so dignified there is no voice, only quiet. They let you check out books even if your account is past due.

I racked up almost twenty bucks in late fines once when I was in my darkness period (the wrong email). When I checked it out with the librarian, he encouraged me, stating I only pay half of it on that day. I don’t even know what the fee is these days. I think 25 cents a book per day. I can’t find the information on their website.

I decided to check my online account. I guess I should get re-acquainted with it. Oh, I just owe a $1.50. fee; $1.25 for a special book with no renewal possible and $0.25 for a book from long ago.

My ever-forgiving, understanding library. No mention of the latest charges, missing, overdue books. I guess they will show up if necessary. The library relies on the honor system for your support. What would I do without you?

All is wants is for you to read. One of the last holdouts of civilization.

The High-Priced Bumble and Where’s my Upgrade Already?

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

July is the month I’m supposed to get my new phone, an upgrade from my current flip phone. You may recall this from my previous post.

My husband managed to take my last two upgrades for a new phone. That’s right. The last two. I’m scratching my head as I type this, wondering how this came to pass. Moments like this make my mind go a little fuzzy. He must have spiked my coffee with something or dosed me with a happy pill to get away with this one. Twice he did it.

“Sure, honey. Take it. You need the upgrade more than me.” Did I say that?

This first time he took my upgrade, he just wanted a new phone. That’s all. He didn’t need it. He had a workable, Razor flip phone.

Second time. Here’s where he really blew it. I put this is the high-priced bumble category.*

My husband decided to leave his precious iPhone, the phone he can’t possibly be a part from for more than minutes at a time, on top of the car. He drove off, and what do you know, the phone fell off the car. What does he do? He backs up and rolls right over it and smashes it to smithereens. Yes, the high-priced bumble!  Nice. Well done. Brilliant.

I was due to use my upgrade at that particular time. I was only convinced that he use mine because our grand scheme was that I would be taking his upgrade later, in just a few months. Ah, he didn’t have any phone at all. I was feeling sympathetic at the time, I guess. He gets to have another iPhone. Fine, fine, I was due soon. Right?

When his upgrade month finally comes up, we go to the AT&T and while I’m waiting, I pick out my newly upgraded smartphone.

It’s my turn to talk to the person with the computer, and he tells me, “No. It’s not possible for you to have his upgrade, because you currently do not have a data plan on your phone.”

“What do you mean, not possible? Of course, it’s possible. I’m here, the phone is here. Just check that little box on your computer and make it possible!” Don’t they know I lost my last two upgrades?

What the hell? In moments like this, the planets must not be aligned properly.  I can buy a phone and have a data plan and owe more money every month. Isn’t that what they ultimately want? Does this make any sense to anyone? I throw up my hands on this.

I’m forced to make good with my flip phone for another year. Meanwhile, my husband tells me to “embrace technology.” ( I really didn’t plan my last post to link. I swear. This is what husband tells me all the time, while he tweets away on his precious.)

Now it’s my turn for a smart-ish phone. Will this change my life? Will it become my new best friend?

Consider the perks. My text conversations will appear in a cute little bubble format? I can use WI-FI connections everywhere, plug in and tune out, no matter where I am. My son will steal my phone and play the latest video games. I can access information and place calls immediately? I can take pictures if I forget my camera and take a picture/video and send it out to my social network in a flash? I can buy apps and never use them. I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t had the privilege of learning yet.

I may never need to write anything down again. I may never need to remember another thing?  My contacts, my appointments, my calendar, everything in a glossy, slender box. Hmm. I’m not sure a gadget is ready for all that responsibility.

But do I want a smartphone? You bet. Besides, it’s part of my upgrade. How can I refuse? If I don’t, someone else will take it….

* Anything over $100.

photo credit: okiave via photopin cc

Embrace Technology

The flip phone, so slick, so smooth. It could fit in your pocket.
Remember the flip phone? I know there are a few of us left with such device. My sister had a good laugh about it during her last visit.

“What is that? A flip phone? Is that a phone from the eighties?” Ha ha.

July is the month I’m getting my new, twenty-first century phone so I can be part of civilization. I’m probably one of the few remaining on the planet who has a non-smart phone. My phone is not very smart because all it’s good for is phone calls and, you know, texting. Of course, it’s the kind of texting where you must touch the individual keys several times to get the correct letter or symbol. Remember when?

Specifically, a “?” is 5 touches on the keypad to get the right symbol,  a “!” 6 touches, and the “:-)” delightful happy face that, you know, punctuates everything just so perfectly, is 14 key punches. I can do the happy face quickly now. I have that one down. It requires me to go to an alternate screen, and tab over, select…you get the idea.  My finger pads are calloused up quite nicely.

It’s painful at times. Here’s a sample of a text conversation with a friend who has a smart-ish phone.

*********************

FRIEND: Hi. How are you? Sorry, I’ve been so busy. Do you still want to get together tomorrow? About what time?

ME: Hi. I’m good. How are u?

FRIEND: How about 4:00? What can I bring? I could bring a watermelon or some kind of side dish. A casserole? Mac n’ cheese? A fruit salad?

Well, she could bring a watermelon. I don’t have that. But I’m not going to type that out. I could say H2Omelon, but then I have to get the “123” format, and then go back to the “abc….”

ME: What about 3 ish? Waterm

FRIEND: I know you like my mac n’ cheese. Do you want to go the concert? I think it starts about 5? Or did you wanna BBQ?!!!

What concert?

ME: Bbq sounds good!

FRIEND: If we go to the concert we won’t have a lot time to BBQ. We could meet earlier?

ME: Yes

FRIEND: Or, we could just eat out or pick something up for the concert. We could have a picnic. Jim would like to join us. Do you remember him?

The guy who avoided her for three months? Not that creep. Going out or picnic? I think I’d rather BBQ. What concert is she talking about?! Concert in the park? It’s 102 outside.

ME: Jim from online? No. Park concert?

FRIEND: Jim needs to bring his dog if he comes with us. Yeah, that guy. We had a really good talk. Is that ok? Then we can’t go out.

To the Park? To restaurant? Pick something up? Is it a big dog? I don’t think my kitty will approve of the dog. That guy is no good for her.

ME: Go out where? 🙂

FRIEND: Why don’t we just come over. What can I bring? 4:00 ok?

ME: Yes fine

I should call her.

*********************

I do try to keep up. 🙂

photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc

The Inexcusable Bumble: The Late Check-In

Late Check-In

When you fly, there’s not only getting on the plane, there’s getting to the airport. Often, a friend or family drives you there, and there’s always the question, “When do we need to leave?”

Let’s see, “When’s your flight?” And, then you factor in the suggested allotted time necessary to stand in the check-in line if you don’t have your boarding pass, the security check line, maybe a tram/train line, and finally, the get-on-your-plane line.

Even if you don’t quite get to the airport at the time suggested, everything is cool if you make your flight. You may have a panic attack, but long as you make it, it’s as good as being there on time, right?

Unless…unless, the airline attendant slaps the yellow sticker on your luggage that says, “Late Check-In.”

Late Check-In

This is what happened to my sister when she went to the airport on her way to visit me.

When my sister plugged in her confirmation number into the computer, a siren blasted announcing to everyone, “Late Check-In. This luggage may not arrive with flight.”

What? Huh?!

“Is it going to make it?” my sister asked, in a state of shock.

“We’ll see,” said the airline attendant smugly. Then, rubbing it in a tad more, “Check-in is an hour before your flight.”

This is the official, “YOU ARE LATE.” Everyone knows it, too, because you got the yellow tag and your luggage might not even make it. The folks you’re visiting, or whatever the may case be,  they’ll know it, too. They’ll see the big yellow, “Late Check-In” tag on your bag.

If this isn’t bad enough, no one at the airport really cares why you’re late. This is the inexcusable bumble. You could have been behind a twenty-car pile up or maybe you hit your snooze button one too many times. It doesn’t really matter. You’re late, you bumble. You could have had a flat tire. You loser. You could have been held at gun point. You’re late, you slacker.

The airline attendant put the sticker on my sister’s luggage without any hesitation. It was a big bag, so a carry-on was out of the question. If a carry-on was possible, you would contemplate whether you could live without your toothpaste, mouthwash, perfume, contact solution, moisturizer, shampoo, and anything else that violates the three-ounce liquid rule.

The ultimate test is the security check line. If you’re running late, it’s the longest you’ve ever seen it, moving at a snail’s pace. In my sister’s case the line was longer than she had hoped with a man trying to push his way through. The  guy behind my sister let the desperate man in front of him.

Now, he turns to my sister, “Can you help me out? I’m gonna miss my flight.”

My sister, still thinking about her late luggage asks, “When’s your flight?”

“10:40.”

“Mine, too,” she says. “We’re in the same boat.”

The guy behind them pipes up, “What time is it? I’m on that flight.”

And then a chorus of, “We’re late!”

Now they must wait to be late.

I am happy to report my sister made her flight, along with her luggage. Of course, her flight was delayed and arrived late.