Out of Step, Out of Time

Dear Abby, (or anyone else who will listen and comment)

Technology gives me a headache. Don't get me wrong. I'm ultra grateful for my laptop computer and the Internet. I'm also fond of DVD movies and cell phones are convenient. But ask me to comprehend and utilize anything beyond the most basic function of these things and I'm LOST.

Yes, I am one of those people who can't program a clock on the microwave or set the timer for a VCR. I have a new computer with all sorts of nifty programs but all I use it for is Microsoft Word and the Internet. I do fudge around in FrontPage for my website, but again, only with the most basic functions. We just got new cell phones. This one has a camera. Okay. I understand how to snap a shot, but how do I save it? How do I upload a pic to the computer? A friend recently told me it's Blue Tooth compatible and that I can text message too. I only very recently even heard those terms. And there are a gazillion other functions that I can't remember. *sigh* Really. All I want to be able to do is make a phone call and to retrieve messages.

I don't own a PDA. I'm quite possibly the only person left on the planet who does not own an I-Pod or some compact version of an MP3 player. I wouldn't mind having a PDA and MP3 player. They sound pretty nifty. But my temple throbs just thinking about dealing with anything beyond the 'on' button.

I recently learned that you can see and talk to friends through this web cam thingee. I remember when I was a kid and they hinted at future video-phones. Apparently, they have arrived. Blackberry. I still don't understand what that is exactly.

Is it just me? Or is technology advancing at lightning speed? It seems like there are new gadgets every day. Then the next week those new gadgets have even newer versions with more functions.

And another thing! Am I the only one left on the planet who does not have a space at My Space?? Blog-buddy/actor Bruno Amato just launched his 'Space'. A few weeks ago novelist/screenwriter Lee Goldberg launched one, too. Author J.A. Konrath has one. So does Alison Kent and many other novelists. Hey! Just saw Zach Braff has one, too!

Probably I should create a home at My Space. But it's one more thing to 'create'. One more thing to keep up with. Just now, I lack the motivation and energy. Just now I am overwhelmed with technology and yearning for simpler times. Is it just me?

Yours Truly,
Out of Step, Out of Time


Tori Lennox said…
I love technology. I'm fairly tech savvy, too. That said, however, I don't have an iPod or a PDA. Not that I wouldn't mind having one of each, but I don't exactly NEED them.

Nor do I have a page at MySpace. I spend more than enough time blogging and doing email. If I spent more time doing stuff like MySpace, I wouldn't be able to write.

I'm happy with my iBook, my DVD recorder, and my satellite dish. :)
Cynthia said…
I don't understand the whole MySpace thingy. I've seen some of these pages and they look like they've been designed by drunken monkeys. Combine that with the fact that you can't get much beyond the front page without signing up (big personal pet peeve) and I just don't care much for it.

Now, technology is pretty. I'm a bit weird, if it's bright and shiny and does something - anything - then I want it. I had a PDA but the poor thing didn't do well inside the pocket of my furry coat one winter. It kept taking static shocks and losing everything in the memory. I've been drooling over the LifeDrive by Palm but have resisted up to now.

I do have an MP3 player - listen to it daily. The idea of being able to keep my entire music collection on one piece of equipment small enough to hold in my hand was just too much to pass up. I'm one of these people who can never have too much music, so to have a couple hundred cds on one player and have access to it, say on a road trip - it was worth the investment. Even if it's not the sexiest little thing on the market(but don't tell it that).
Scott Oden said…
I don't own an MP3 player, nor do I own a PDA; my cell phone is a literal dinosaur (it's on old Nokia with a green screen and no other functions besides 'talk'). My computer is as basic as it gets, with only Word and WordPerfect loaded (beyond the old Windows standbys like paint and freecell). I've never Ebayed, and only recently have I even made an online purchase (Amazon, if you must know). I think I qualify as more of a neo-Luddite than you, Beth ;)

As for Myspace: I use Blogger, and Blogger is good. What on earth does someone need multiple blogs in multiple formats? Plus, after watching the Chris Wallace 'Dateline' specials on internet predators, anyone over 18 who uses Myspace might be a bit skeevie* :)

*Before you Myspacers lay into me, that was a joke.
Beth Ciotta said…
Tech savvy, eh, Tori? Color me envious. As for already spending more than enough time on blogging and email... That's what I'm talkin' about. ;)

iBook? What's an iBook?
Beth Ciotta said…
"I've seen some of these pages and they look like they've been designed by drunken monkeys."

Ha! Love it, Cynthia. Actually, the few I linked to look pretty darn proessional. I haven't skimmed much, but have seen a couple that fell into the drunken monkey design group. :)

Re: Technology. I see you are at one with Tori. So this LifeDrive thingy you're drooling over... what's it do?

I confess, I did ask for an MP3 player for my birthday I'll let you know if I get it. Maybe you can help me to learn how to actually USE it. LOL Our library now offers a service where you can download audio books to an MP3 player. I thought that, in addition to music, it might be fun to listen to books as I walk. DId I mention I'm TRYING to work a daily (okay, weekly) walk into my life?
Bethany said…
If it weren't for my job and my hubby, I'd likely be behind the times on this stuff too. Don't worry.

Here's the thing-- you don't NEED all that stuff. Just what you are going to use. Sure, I have almost all the gadgets you discussed--but how many of them do I USE? Maybe 60-70% of them... so hang in there. Only buy what you know you'll use (for instance, listen to music a lot, them maybe the iPod is for you. If you don't-- then don't spend the money!).

As for MySpace. Well there are 2 trains of thought about it. For me, a blog and website is enough. It targets MOSTLY the younger audience. I don't write for someone in high school or college. At least not most of the time-- I write for mothers. Mothers that had a career (and maybe still do). And a lot of those moms feel technology challenged like you do. Thus, they likely don't have My Space accounts either. :-) Or at least I hope not...

And I really don't *need* another thing to update either... technology centric or not!
Beth Ciotta said…
I had to look up 'neo-Luddite'. You're doing wonders for my vocabulary, Scott. LOL Well, it's good to know I am not alone. Techno-goobers unite!

Re: MySpcae. I know you were joking about the trolling factor, but I must confess, that sit creeps me out a bit. I'm sticking with Blogger. Speaking of, have you moticed they're asking if we want to go 'Beta'? And that would mean??
Beth Ciotta said…
"Here's the thing-- you don't NEED all that stuff."

Words of wisdom, Bethany. So true! I also enjoyed your observations on MySpace. Okay. So there are at least four other people aside from me who do NOT have an account there. Nice to know. Maybe I'm not so out of step after all. The out of time thing though... that sticks. :)
Cynthia said…
What does LifeDrive do? What doesn't it do? I'll admit upfront that I've always had a weakness for Palm devises. But the LifeDrive is almost a palm sized computer. It's not just the largest address book I'd ever need. I hoard addresses, seriously. I have addresses and phone numbers for everything. But this little beauty (and it is tiny) holds pictures and music. You can check your email and write documents in Word and read ebooks.

I could go on and on but I'll spare you. Basically the attraction for me is the bright shiny object about the size of a deck of cards that will hold every last piece of information I could ever need. I keep promising myself that if I can actually make my Palm Pilot work for something beyond shopping lists that I might just make the investment - but I haven't gotten there yet.

Today's a new day, a fresh start, maybe I should dig out the old PDA and see what I can make of it.

Oh and I do agree that the MySpace sites you linked to are very professional and well designed. However, it still doesn't take away the other problem. You still need to have a profile on MySpace to access much beyond the front page. I don't mind signing up for sites like NYTime online or other newspapers/news organizations. But social sites that demand I create a profile just bug me.
Constance said…
I like toys. I have lots of toys from cell to laptop to iPod. I design webpages at times. I use a computer program as a sketchbook for my art. The trick is remembering that all this stuff is just a tool. Are you intimidated by a hammer? Cell phones are just shiny hammers. *g*

I like my iPod. I have music, audiobooks, pictures and tv programs on it. I use it mostly to listen to music and audiobooks in the car. (No, not with headphones, in-dash plug in- I'm not suicidal) I listen to poets read their work. I record myself reading, upload it to listen and compare. (I still sound 12) It's a handy tool. Especially when you have 2 hour commutes through Nothingland.

MySpace gives me headaches. I avoid it. I find you folks on Blogger and others much friendlier and far more literate. I like my interactions without whirly, flashy things and music you can't shut off. Don't feel obligated to go with the herd. Quality over quantity. Verboseness over all! - See, I practice what I preach. :)

(If Scott is a neo-Luddite, than I guess I'm a geekLight.)
I feel like I am SUPPOSED to be using all of the bells and whistles as business tools to launch my career. So I have any number of toys that I am underutilizing. I actually have a goal that during this convalescence, I am finally going to learn how to syncronize my Microsoft Business Contacts Manager with my Samsung PDA/Phone. I have a 300 page manual. It's gotta be in there somewhere. Doesn't it?
Beth Ciotta said…
"You can check your email and write documents in Word and read ebooks."

REALLY? *eyes lighting up* Me want one, too, Cynthia! But, of course, that would mean I'd have to learn how to use it. My eyeballs hurt just thinking about it. LOL Do let us know if you break down and buy one. ;)

Regarding the MySpace profile page.... I agree. Annoying.
Beth Ciotta said…
Constance, you can watch tv programs on iPod? What? Do you upload from the Internet? Man. I'm really living in the ice age!

Your comments about MySpace made me smile. And I agree. The blogger-folk are indeed a friendly and interesting bunch!
Beth Ciotta said…
"I am finally going to learn how to syncronize my Microsoft Business Contacts Manager with my Samsung PDA/Phone."

Argh! Toni! *Beth clutches her chest* Yup. That inspired heart palpitations. Good luck, woman. Of course, you know the techno-whizzes of the world would say," Manual? I don't need no stinkin' manual!" ;)
Tori Lennox said…
My iBook is my Apple laptop. :)
Constance said…
*Psssstt* Boys and girls... here's a little secret for all of us who hate making a log in for the NY Times and places like MySpace. Go to http://www.bugmenot.com
Enter the URL of the place you want to crash. Use the username and passwords provided to log in.

Beth, I download programs from iTunes, upload them to my iPod. Down, up, down, up. It's like aerobics for your eyes!

I can download History Channel programs! My life is complete! Or pathetic. You choose...
Scott Oden said…
But, my hammer is just a hammer. I don't have to program it for compatible nails; it doesn't have a clock to set. It doesn't take pictures. It has no music (unless I hum) and the only way I can watch TV on it is to polish the head and watch the reflection. My hammer has no games (unless you count a very low-tech version of 'whack-a-mole').

Oh, and I can throw my hammer and it won't break (nor will it come back to me, sadly, as Thor's hammer did to him).

I'm returning to my cave now. Don't trip over my knuckles.
Beth Ciotta said…
Er, I knew that, Tori. (Not.) I know. I know. I'm a goober.

Um, Constance, the Internet police aren't going to hunt you down for passing on secrets, are they? *looking over both shoulders* Regarding your iPod, you can download the History Channel?! Your life is COMPLETE! I LOVE the History Channel. Does tht work for all MP3 Players? Or just iPod?
Beth Ciotta said…
Oh. Ow. My side hurts. You're killing me, Scott. *Beth snorts with laughter* You just riffed on a hammer. Jeez. You can't make that stuff up. Well, YOU can. *snort* I bow to your knuckle-dragging greatness.
Constance said…
Scott, Scott, Scott, what ARE we going to do with you? I was trying to be all mystic and Zen-like and you respond with Freud and Whack-A-Mole? "Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer." Ouch. Low blow. So to speak... *g*

Beth- History Channel- iTunes/iPod only, as far as I know. Sorry.
And no knuckle-dragging Neanderthal or hammer exposes on the site- so far.
Gabriele C. said…
Lol Scott, I don't even have a cell phone. My printer is a Neanderthal model that refuses to communicate with my Cro Magnon laptop, and I don't own anything in the way of ipods and M3thingies. I had a black and white TV player until 2000, I've never had video equipment and my DVD player is the most basic thing on the market. Can I join you in that cave?

The only new and spiffy features in my techno world are my laptop and the music equipment. Oh, and my digital camera. Love my little digicam.

Though I do have some fun with website programming, and one of these days I will figure out how to make a minimovie. :)
Mary Stella said…
Beth, I don't have a PDA or an MP3 player. I do, however, know how to work my camera phone, do text messaging and now have a Blue Tooth for hands-free cell phone usage.

I don't have MySpace and am avoiding it like it's a pathway to Hell. You are not alone.
Beth Ciotta said…
Digital cameras. Ah, yes. Forgot aout those. Ours takes awesome pictures too, Gabrielle. Does all kinds of nifty things, although, surprise, I only know the most basic functions. ;)

Mary, I can so see you with the Blue Tooth thingee. :) As for MySpace, seems many of us are avoiding it. So glad to know I am not alone!
abby z said…
Hee! I read this post and thought, "Why are you telling this to your technophobic editor? It doesn't bother me!" And then I realized you probably didn't mean THAT Dear Abby. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Ha! I didn't even think about that when I wrote this post, Abby 'Z'. :) No, no. I meant that other Abby. You know. The one with the funny hair-do. LOL But it's nice to know my editor is a fellow techno-phobe. ;)
Larissa said…
I'm with you on the MySpace thing--I don't have one! I totally don't get it, and I don't have enough time to put one together or maintain it. Maybe eventually, but for right now, it's just not on the schedule!

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