On entering the 21st century

I’ll admit it: I’m having some trouble coping with the proliferation of doodads in the twenty-first century. Smartphone, Iphones, Ipods, Ipads, bluetooth, PS3s, Xbox 1s, Kinect, cams, blueray, thumb drives, kindles, Android, chargers of every make and model, cigarette chargers for the ipod, battery packs for phones, charging, running out of batteries, charging, losing your phone, cameras locking up, ipods locking up, miskeying phone numbers, screens going black unexpectedly, GPS vertigo. You know? I’m the sort of person who hangs on to old technologies (paper and pencil, for instance) with my fingernails, while the future grabs me by the waist and pulls me forward. I still own the old cell phone I bought eleven years ago, under protest.

It wasn’t always like this. I was one of the very first people to use computers, back in the olden days. My dad, a computer programmer, used to bring me into work to play Adventure on his company’s mainframes. Big, big, enormous things! They had to have their own room and their own air conditioners. And I was one of the first people to use a modem. My dad brought it home, cradled our telephone on it, and we listened as it squeaked and squawked and blipped into the line, speaking to the mainframe on the other end. We used it to play Pong. I loved it all. And I loved my first scientific calculator. I read the instruction manual front to back and learned all about exponents, sines, and cosines. And I loved my first VCR. Again, I learned it front to back. (Is it any wonder I became a technical writer?) In college I learned how to do all sorts of things on UNIX (precursor to Linux).

The new technologies were fascinating, exciting, and took a lot of brains. But compared to the devices that are coming out now, they were downright straightforward. I miss that. Everything is happening so fast, and the graphical interfaces keep changing, and I’m thinking that in five years we’ll need to be rocket scientists just to keep track of which charger goes with which device.

However . . . the times, they are a-changing. And so must I! I’m married to a programmer and have two children who are increasingly tech-savvy. I can grouse all I want, but I’m going to have to learn to type on a cell phone keyboard even though it looks patently impossible for my huge finger to accurately tap the tiny keys.

I got an Ipod Nano for my birthday, and I’ve been gradually poking around with Itunes, figuring out how to do this and that. Over the weekend, I figured out how to check out a digital audiobook from the library and put it on the Ipod. Score! And yesterday, I very nearly figured out how to subscribe to a podcast. I clicked the “Subscribe” button, and it said I was subscribed, but it downloaded nothing. Off to do some google searching, I guess. I finally managed to download one episode and listen to it. It was fabulous! I picked Verity Podcast, a Doctor Who podcast in which six women from around the world natter on about Doctor Who. I am now listening to Episode 32 – “Doctor Stew is Required.” All six are having a blast dissecting the Christmas Special, “Time of the Doctor.” Everyone has different viewpoints and insights. Just lovely.

Future, here I come.

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One response to “On entering the 21st century

  1. You need an iphone. it has big letters and is easy to use. i know what you mean though. i can do a few essentials and learn the rest as i go along,maybe).

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