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April: Tech Talk

Hi, Tech!

All the talk about Artificial Intelligence, driverless cars, and other glimpses of a future we are beginning to imagine but previously considered pure science fiction set me thinking.  Just a few decades ago, I would not have imagined the devices I now take for granted.

I was on my first Earthwatch adventure –on an island in Tonga in the South Pacific when a letter from home came through the island’s new fax machine, which was easier to access than the public phones.  Oh, the marvel!

Today, so much more than the fax is at my fingertips right where I am sitting.  I’m at the computer, smartphone and Ipad nearby, the laundry humming away and timed to stop when everything is clean.

How would we even know each other without our devices!  Which ones do you rely on most?  Have they changed your life?  Where are they taking us?  Do you ever miss phone booths?  Please discuss.

I’m an early adopter and adore almost all of the new technology. I just flew back from a conference in Vegas (ugh) and had a whole library of books in my Kindle app that I could read on my iPad without lugging a ton of carry-on weight and bulk.

But air conditioning? As much as I sometimes appreciate it (I love the heat), I am convinced that air conditioning has ruined civilization as we knew it. When I was a little kid in the 1950s, no one had air conditioning. In the summer, everyone stayed outside. My mom and her friends played scrabble on the front patio while the kids climbed our crabapple tree or played in the sprinkler. We knew our neighbors. We saw them every day. Not just the ones who lived one or two houses away, but the WHOLE BLOCK, and in the houses behind us and across the street too. Now? We run from our air conditioned cars to our air conditioned houses. I have met most of my neighbors only during power outages and blizzards when everyone comes out of their nests and, if only for a short while, becomes a community again.

It wasn’t too long ago that I used a telephone booth. There was one in the hospital where I worked from 1996-2000. Whenever I stepped into the small private compartment and shut the folding door I felt safe. At ease to speak without being overheard and able to see people passing unaware of my presence. And when i see movies with a telephone booth, rotary dials and answering machines, it reminds me that there once was a slower pace to our daily living. I’m no dinosaur. I no longer have a landline, only a smart phone, I use PhotoShop, social media, texting, Facetime, and texting.

But every once in a while I wish I could find a telephone booth, sit on the wooden seat, close the door, and slip into a past era.

I’m here in sunny Florida getting ready for a swim. Tech has changed my life! I absolutely rely on my PC, tablet and phone. These devices keep me current with my life and with the world at large! It’s so easy to Google a question or check for a phone number. I make reservations for dinner and shop almost exclusively online. In fact, there are so many practical facets to the use of technology that I am startled if something goes wrong and my service is interrupted!

But I haven’t given up hand-written correspondence because I still believe that personal outreach is the best. I want to hear the sound of my daughter’s voice to “take her pulse” when she’s wrestling with a challenge and the real deal for me is face-to-face. I favor the “person” in “personal'”

I wouldn’t give up what we have at our disposal but I hope the creative problem solving isn’t over ridden by You Tube and such. And no, I don’t miss phone booths-I always wondered what germs were on the handset and number pad!

I may be 87, but I’m finding I’m more tech-savvy than a lot of my younger friends! I learned to text ages ago when I realized that if I had a question and wanted immediate access to my grandson, that was the only way to do it. Call him on the phone? He’s at work. e-mail him? Maybe an answer tomorrow. Text? Hi, Grandma. What’s up?

Facebook?? Of course. How else would I see the latest photos posted of my 6 year old great-grandson? Or know what’s happening in my daughter’s world several states away from where I live.

Yes, BJ, you are absolutely right. If I find I’m in the car and forgot my iPhone, I turn around and go back to get it. A whole day without my iPhone?? Not a possibility. How would I check my email? Or get a phone call from a friend?

Aaah, technology. How did we get along without it.

I love all the tech. I love being able to look things up, read books on line, and basically do whatever I want. And the ability to stay in touch with all my loved ones and friends at the drop of a hat is just wonderful. Being able to do that influenced my decision to travel to Australia for a month. I welcome it all and pick and choose what works for me.