The “Computer-dumb” People Are Very Smart

November 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm (Computers, Personal life) (, , )

This morning before coming to work, I was desperately trying to make some apple pies. Everything was becoming one sticky mess, and I was running out of time. I eventually gave everything up, left the unbaked crusts and half-finished pie filling behind, and ran out the door–after some hurried instructions to my mother to please do something with them ’til I got home. On the way to work, Mom I talked on the phone and she told me what I probably did wrong and that the pie crusts would be ok, but I want to throw them away!

This reminded me of my attempt only a few days ago to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies. I did everything I thought would make them special, but no. They ended up raising straight up and tasting dry and thick, instead of spreading out into large, round, chewy morsels of delight–like the ones My mom made last night! *sigh* :-( Maybe I’m not a baker after all.

While I was picking sticky pie dough off of my hands and the rolling pin and getting flour all over the floor, my mom was at the computer, trying to check her email. Now that I think back it makes me laugh. Mom was yelling from the office, asking me why the Internet isn’t working, and why the shortcut I made for her email is bringing up an error message, and I was in the kitchen yelling “what am I supposed to put in this next?!” We were both trying to do something the other was good at, and not being there to teach the other how to do what was common sense to us.

And then I realized that as many times as I want to roll my eyes that my mother can’t remember which icon to double-click, I will never remember the five (or maybe it’s six?) ingredients that go into pie crust dough! Everyone has skills, talents, and experience in different areas. So whether it’s tech supporting Internet services, or making pies and cookies, we all need each other and our smarts!

I think our society often pushes the older generations into a corner and pities them for not being able to keep up with the fast-moving technologically advancing world we  are living in today. We forget that they knew enough to raise us and give us good advice, and that they have years on us of experience on how to lead, provide, communicate, and overcome obstacles. Their stories might sound different, but their life lessons are ones that still apply today. Lets give these “technologically-backward” folks another chance!

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Email: Slowly Dying or Going Strong?

October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm (broadband, Dial up, Technology) (, , , )

I read an interesting article today in response to another controversial article about the “death of email”. I find it humorous that the poor woman who was nearly persecuted for her article, never said email was dying, just losing popularity and prominence. I guess there’s still some dispute on that idea. But I disgress.

I think it’s interesting that no matter how wonderful and revolutionizing a new technological advancement is, four groups of people emerge. *Note: Sometimes this does not happen because this advancement dies off before adoption by the majority takes place.

1. There’s a small group of activists who are overly excited about how wonderful and convenient this new *fill in the blank* is, how it will dramatically change how we communicate/entertain ourselves/do business/whatever else you can think of! And before you know it, <normal device that is working perfectly fine right now> will be completely replaced by this new *fill in the blank*!!!

2. There is a larger group of people who are interested, skeptical, briefly fascinated, or bored who try this New Big Thing and make up their mind about it. And, regardless of whether they use it or not, still use the old way or the other way of doing things for some time. The adoption rate by this group is usually the deciding factor of whether this technological development will become commonplace.

3. There is an equally large (usually) group of people who know very little about this so called New Big Thing that everyone who’s anyone is using and don’t really care about it, and wait to adopt the trend when the hype (and often the price) goes down. They adopt this technological advancement after several years when all the kinks have been ironed out, and when they discover this is a more efficient method of doing what they do.

4. There is a small group of people who are utterly clueless and will continue using their “extremely out of date and oh-so-not popular” method of doing things and will be perfectly content with it. This group only adopts the thing when their technologically advanced friends or relatives coerce them into updating or their local provider no longer offers the old way.

Nuff said. This happened for cars, telephones, and tv’s and is still happening to today with broadband Internet services, smartphones, blue-ray and facebook.

Because of group 3, and especially 4, there are still people using rotary phones, dial-up, and hand-written letters.

If it wasn’t for group 2, and especially 1, we wouldn’t know about some great conveniences that have truly improved our lives.

The truth is, the new big thing has its place for the people who like new things and need the change. But there will always be room for the good old days and the traditional forms of transportation, communication, education, and entertainmentation… *ahem* I mean… (hehe!)

I still remember in middle school, the first time that my little world was shattered by a Group 1 futuristic hopeful who told me that telephones would soon no longer be used anymore. But by now these future-thinkers don’t phase me. So lets not get our undies in a bundle! Email isn’t going anywhere! Just like radio, newspapers, dial-up, and telephones. They still have a purpose to serve.

So… what group are you in?

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Websites Then and Now–Don’t Miss This!

October 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm (Internet surfing, Technology) (, , , , , )

Along with the evolution of Internet and Internet services, the way we make websites has dramatically changed! Where we used to have text, a few colors, and clipart, we now have dynamic graphics, multimedia features, interactive banners, and so much more!

Did you know you can see what websites used to look like? I just discovered this today. Check out the Wayback Machine! How cool is this?

The following pictures were from right around a decade ago. It’s fascinating to see how different they look today! From 1996, here’s MSN.com:

MSN.com 1996

And… Yahoo.com! (or should I say Yahoo! .com…) :-)

Yahoo.com 1996

Isn’t that precious?! And here’s Google.com circa 1998…

Google.com 1998

 

And, I know this is only four years ago… but just think about how much this site has changed!

Facebook.com 2005

Remember when Facebook.com was just for college students?

Check out more great memories at archive.org!

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Technology–Changing the Staples of Our Daily Lives

August 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm (Computers, Internet surfing, Technology) (, , )

I recently ran across a joke book that must have been written before I was born (I’m 23, in case you wondered). I know we’ve owned it more than 10 years. It was very interesting to read it–the comparison of humor now and then really surprised me. One section was called Why Don’t They Invent…. I was shocked to find a few of them had been invented: invisible braces, a robot pet dog, a car with built-in direction finder (gps), dictionary computer (spellcheck)!

Technology has never failed to surprise us. It changes our lives dramatically in a matter of a few years, sometimes without us even realizing it–until we stop and consider how it used to be. Oh yeah…… wow.

Here are a few things that we once considered a staple, something we couldn’t do without even as little as 10 years ago. How many of these things do you hardly ever use anymore?

1. Calendars and Day Planners. I can’t remember the last time I bought or wrote on a physical paper calendar. Cell phones, palm pilots, and several computer programs, like Microsoft Outlook now cover all of our appointment and scheduling needs.

2. Address Books and Phonebooks. Again, got it covered with the cell phone! The Internet provides multiple ways to access business addresses and phone numbers in the whole world, including maps to get there and pictures, etc. Facebook is another growing venue that allows a way to contact friends and aquaintences quickly, or list full contact information directly.

3. Cassette/CD players. This one may still be up for debate. Cellphones, computer media players, Ipods, mp3 players, and audio streaming from the Internet are quickly claiming the music playing audience with broader availability and better quality.

4. Newspapers. Again, not obsolete, but access to Internet services has opened a large, not to mention free, door for readers who at one time depended solely on their morning folded up paper on the front porch to stay informed.

5. Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. I remember the heavy volumes of World Book Encyclopedia and finding my topic after some time–either because I wasn’t sure where to look or I kept getting distracted by the pictures from other entries! Technology has added so much vocabulary, like “googled” and “add-ons” that it is difficult for the printed volumes to keep up! Websites like Wikipedia.com and Dictionary.com have transformed our research habits.

6. Calculators, Adding Machines, and Conversion Charts. Software programs have replaced these items for home, school, and office uses. Search engines and search boxes in browsers can now query conversions and calcuations instantly.

7. Microsoft Clip Art. Remember when you used clip art for posters and cards? Image searches on the Internet have by far replaced the role of the primitive collection of a person sitting at a desk and a piece of cake.

8. Film Cameras. Who wants to run to Walmart and wait several hours when you can load and print your pictures in five minutes at home? Digital cameras now offer the quality of a 35mm, but with zoom, black and white, timed shots, and, my favorite, the preview! You know right then and there if dad’s eyes were closed!

9. Wooden Pencils (and pencil sharpeners). Remember how loud the “roy, roy, roy” of the pencil sharpener at the front of the classroom was in the middle of a test? Wooden pencils  are still useful to artists, but the rise of mechanical pencils have made them less popular for schoolwork. Now students can submit homework electronically and type up their papers on computers. 

10. Watches. This one could be up for debate because of their use as a fashion accessory. However, many would agree that much fewer people use a watch as a necessity, as cell phones and computers nearly always display the correct time.

Count up your total! How many of these items are still a part of your daily life?

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