Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.

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Chasing the Bi- Scene

free_technology_coursesMore than thirty years ago, I learned about a series of “on” and “off” switches that functioned on a binary number system which was supposed to be the wave of the future.  These series of numbers, ranging from 0 to 1, were going to revolutionize the manner in which we would learn.   I remember having to learn how this intricate numbering system would be able to do things that were only imagined at that time.  I laughed thinking that a binary number system could be more effective that the base 10 system which was so widely accepted at the time; besides, what a person could do with 2 numbers could be done 100 times more efficiently with ten.  I assumed that these tiny switches that would turn things on and off to make learning easier was a scientific fad much like long division.  This ridiculous system would never last!

How little did I realize that this binary number system would, thirty years later, bring me to tears.

Being born in the late 1950’s, my computer usage was very limited.  It wasn’t until I had children in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that I thought that learning how to use a computer would be “fun.”  Off my husband and I went to the most techno-geek electronic store to purchase the biggest and baddest  computer we could find with the idea that our children could use it when they entered high school in about 10 years or so.  In the meantime, my husband and I could be well versed in the computer world and give our children a distinct advantage.

Needless to say, the computer was in the electronic graveyard in a couple of years along with WordPerfect and all those other wonderful programs that would “last forever.”  The state of the art computer that we had purchased merely a couple of years before was already obsolete.  Words like “upgrades, and external hard drives” were to come years in the future, and when that future did arrive, the average Joe could only dream of doing those amazing upgrades himself.  More than likely, when the computer you had purchased a couple of years earlier for thousands of dollars became useless, off you went to one of many electronic stores, which were popping up all over at alarming rates, to finance another computer for thousands of dollars.

In the thirty years since learning about the revolutionary binary number system, I have made every attempt to keep up with the changes that have been occurring in our cyber world.  I’m sorry to say that most of the time I have always been a step or two behind the latest updates.  Just when I feel marginally competent in the use of a new device or technology, it changes and I become resistant to that change.   Maybe it is not that I am resistant to change but I just want things to slow down long enough for me to catch up.  I have grown weary of chasing the bi-scene.  I have grown weary of watching others pass me by and me being left in their cyber dust.

Recently, I feel that I am no longer in the cyber dust.  I have upgraded to cyber mud that has infiltrated each and every one of my synapses and has made the working of my physical binary brain sluggish at best.  Technology has succeeded.  It has brought me to my knees.  No longer can I be a passive learner of technology only educating myself to what is necessary in the moment;  I must be an active participant in the future that is technology.

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Addicted to Instant Gratification

My beloved computer has not been feeling well.Image

Naturally being the wonderful MotherBoard that I am, I rushed her right to the hospital.


She was in intensive care for what seemed like forever.  I didn’t know what to do.  Fortunately I had learned a previous lesson about making backup files; but even though I learned how, I was remiss in backing up ALL my files.  Sad to say, those are now gone forever.  The files lost were “unimportant” which is probably why I decided they could wait to be backed up; but now they are going to be a pain in the behind to re-do them.  Another life lesson learned.

Since my computer has been ill, I’ve had to relive the days when the US Mail was my friend.


I don’t really care for the US Mail much anymore.  I have grown accustomed to the instant gratification of electronic bill pay and email.

Of course, while keeping a password keeper is very handy since each and every thing I do involves a password that has specific criteria different from all other passwords; it is best to keep it on more than one computer or at least make a hard copy of the list.  I didn’t do that.  Another valuable life lesson.


I didn’t realize I was such a huge electronic addict.  I’m depressed to know that I am.  I’m further depressed to know that I actually had to stop and think how I did things in the past.

Life is slowly getting back to normal now.  My computer is feeling much better.  She connects me to the ever-changing world once again.


I am slowly beginning to re-build my computer life.  I am finding all my favorite places a little at a time, I am making new book marks.  I have decided to enjoy the journey again and leave bread crumbs along the way so I can easily find my way back.

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Did You Call?

I do not live with my cell phone attached to me.  In fact, there are times when I forget my phone at home when I am out and about running errands.  I know this may be a major shock to most people, but I don’t find it necessary to turn around and travel back home to pick up my phone to have it next to me.  There are very few messages important enough that can’t wait until I get home to retrieve them.  Of those messages that are of the utmost importance, I find that there is very little I could have done to change the outcome even if I had my cell phone attached to my hip.

I do not need my cell phone with me when I am eating dinner.  I do not need to hold my cell phone lovingly in my left hand while eating dinner with my right.  I do not need to take a bite of my food and listen while my phone beeps, buzzes or tweets to see what is happening with my family or friends.  I’m not sure, but I think that most of what the people I know does can wait until I see them in person for them to tell me directly.  I’m not sure, but I’m willing to risk it.  I like living on the edge.

I do not need my cell phone to tell everyone I know what I am doing or thinking.  I don’t think my life holds that much importance for everyone to know where I am, what I’m doing or what I’m thinking.  Maybe I like a little intrigue in my life; an element of mystery that makes me not want to bellow to the minions what I’m about; or maybe if the general population knew what I was thinking I’d have a permanent home in an asylum.

I do not carry my cell phone so I can carry on a conversation via text message.  I’m not going to fight, apologize or make solid plans via text message.  The intonation and expression is lost in the 160 characters I have to explain to anyone what I want, need, am sorry for or excited about.  I’m inclined to think that many a good relationship could be ruined by a text message.  In a world of cold and impersonal attitudes towards mankind, I can’t think of anything that can express that better than a conversation held via text messages.

Please, don’t get upset with me because I didn’t answer my cell phone right away Imagewhen you called or I didn’t get back to you until early evening or the following day.  It is probably because I forgot my cell phone at home or decided to run errands without it.

Please, don’t get upset with me because I don’t respond to your the buzzes, beeps and tweets to my cell phone.  I’m probably eating a meal; and I don’t answer any phone during meal time with family or friends.  If I’m not eating dinner, I might not answer my phone because its buried deep in my purse and I don’t hear it.  I am not so in tuned to my phone that I can hear it in any situation.

Please, don’t be alarmed or think I am excluding you from a friendship if I don’t respond immediately to your text message.  If I see the message on my phone, it was probably sent 2 hours ago which means I have to call you to apologize for not getting right back to you.

Communication by way of advanced technology is at our fingertips.  We can reach out and touch others as we never have been able to before.  We can connect to others in our home town and across the world.  We can communicate to the nations and still leave mankind cold.

I’m sorry I didn’t answer my cell; please call my land line!

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Shampoo, Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Amazingly, the directions on a shampoo bottle, no matter how expensive that shampoo may be, have changed very little.  “Wet hair, apply shampoo, lather, rinse and repeat” has been the mainstay of many a shampoo product.  I like those directions.  They are simple and too the point; as all directions should be.

In years past, television equipment came with the same basic instructions.  “Plug television into a grounded receptacle, locate the on/off switch (which came with a picture) and turn the television on.  Later, television instructions became a little more complicated as the advent of cable became a stable in many homes.  Once again, the instructions were basic and for the most part easy to follow but you might have had to follow instructions in two booklets not one:  the cable booklet and the television booklet.  The instructions still came in the same box that the television or cable box came in and it had pictures and diagrams for all to follow.

Of course, if you were a music enthusiast, the instructions to connect tuners, amplifies, cassette tape decks, reel-to-reels, turntables and speakers put you far above those lowly consumers who only assembled their television and cable boxes.  Diagrams, speaker wires and channels were a part of the common vocabulary when it came to assembling the perfect in-house stereo systems.  “Real” stereo geeks laughed at the purchase of the all in one stereo systems that doubled as a piece of furniture.  Even after the stereo/furniture became a thing of the past and progress was made to put all the components of a stereo in one, the geeks still turned up their nose to the advancement.  Good thing these geeks had a firm foundation in components because the worst was yet to come.

Oh no they didn’t.  They combined television and music!  Say it isn’t so!  As technology evolved the television combined with surround sound.  Stereophonic TV.  The idea appealed not only to the television enthusiast but the stereo snob as well.  “Live” sound emanating from a visual source was more than anyone could refuse.  The connection war was on for all to enjoy – or not enjoy – as the case may be.

The instruction pamphlets turned into instruction booklets.  Each component:  television, receiver, tuner, CD player, DVD player, Nintendo, speakers each had their own booklet and each had their own idea on how things had to be connected.  Getting a new component meant a weekend project; complete with assemble, test the new component, disassemble, re-assemble, test the new component with a whole lot of swearing in the mix.  God forbid if you bought an entire new system complete with the latest and greatest gaming system.  Assembly of such proportions may have taken a couple of weekends and a few week night which gave you about  2 weeks to learn how to use the remote (which, by the way, comes with its own instruction booklet).

Surround sound gave way to 5 way surround sound which eventually was ousted by 7 way surround sound; each upgrade giving more and more of a live experience until eventually one could fantasize that they were at the premiere of the show they were watching or maybe even at the theater itself.  Life couldn’t get much better.  What more could the consumer want?  Why wouldn’t anyone want to convert their weekends and a few of their week nights into assembling one of the most prime entertainment systems ever?  Of course, after the assembly was perfected a new, much better, product hit the market and only left you wanting.

Fear not.  The makers of all our components heard the pleas of the common man and decided to thin those thick instruction manuals down to a pamphlet once again.  Of course, the pamphlet only contains the website one needs to assess in order to download the manual that contains 3,652 pages of words and diagrams each separated into its own unique topic that refers you to a later page or an earlier page that you didn’t understand anyway.

There are other options to the instruction manual nightmare.  Hire someone.  Hiring someone only takes one weekend-day (but you may have to wait for months for an appointment) or take a vacation day from work  and spend the morning watching someone install your easy-to-assemble entertainment system and spend the afternoon in class while he teaches you how to use it.

Technology has made my life much more simple.  I am so glad we have advanced beyond those silly instructions of shampoo, lather, rinse, repeat.