Episode 827 Technology– Keeping Up
This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.
"The paperless society" – that is how Alvin Toffler referred to the future back around l970 in his famous book, “Future Shock”. Paper would become obsolete. He claimed we would watch computer screens and information – like newspapers, magazines, and books - would appear on a hand held electronic book; no need for paper. Well, that day is here. Seventeen years ago we visited our son and family in Anchorage, Alaska. He had a Kindle”. It did all of the things Alvin Toffler predicted – just an amazing instrument. Especially amazing for eyes that start to burn after reading for very long. Imagine; just seventeen years ago. it is already so dated. It seems like Kindles have been around a long time.
One attribute that accompanies many of us into retirement is a reluctance to accept new trends, ideas, or inventions. “I guess I’m just set in my ways”, we often hear. “No, I don’t want any of those new fangled thing-a-ma-jigs”, is another. “I don’t trust those things.” It doesn’t seem to matter what the “thing” is. Some older folks just don’t trust it.
There is justification for these attitudes. But sometimes it is like relegating ourselves to an early death. Sort of like being dead before we die. Just because this stuff didn’t exist when we were kids doesn’t mean that it is useless. I feel very fortunate that my son became a technophile. He likes to keep up to speed with the electronic world. It isn’t his business, it is just one of his interests. He continues to pull us along on the ride.
I am now on my third Kindle as well as my third iPad. We have skipped some of the generations. These look like leather bound books. And they do all of the things Toffler told us about – and then some. And the iPad came out on April third,2010. Three things that I really liked about them are the size, the weight and the ability to increase the size of the font. They are so small they fit easily in a small bag or large pocket for easy carrying. They don't weigh much and I can maintain good posture and hold them at eye level for reading in coffee shops. And then there is the font size. If you would like a bigger print it is just a click away. Bingo! It becomes a little easier to read instantly. What is that worth?
Since you are listening to this program – a podcast – I assume you make an attempt to keep up with technological changes. The thing is – just when you think you have caught up, here comes another “thing”.
Seventeen years ago my son and family were hot on two computer games called Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I had never seen anything quite so amazing. Here is an interactive computer game. Members of the family would all pickup instruments - lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and microphone for vocals. Then the music would start. Hours each night they would stand in front of the screen playing and sway to the rhythm. I have never seen a family activity that was more interactive and fun. Now that is old hat. I haven't seen or heard of it in years. It has been replaced - by new technology.
Today the rage is all tablets and smartphones. Of course with the Tablet and smartphone you can play any number of games, navigate the roads, the bike trails or the stars. You can read the Great Books or the latest best seller. You can watch the latest movie or TV show or have it wake you at the end of an afternoon nap(my favorite thing). And of course you can write letters, poems or the great American novel, listen to music or book narration. The possibilities seem endless. The technological trick is to figure out how to get it to do what you want. It probably will do what you want - it is just a matter of finding the right apt.
In the last few years we have rocketed through technological innovations with names that don't mean much unless you have one: roku, vonage, Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, a couple of different iPhones, four different iPads, GPS, and probably others that I have forgotten. Then there are all of the different programs: Dreamweaver, Audacity, Feed-for-all, Photo stream, Skype, Spotify and so many others. And I must mention Amazon’s entrance to the electronic field with its Echo, or Dot, or Tower and probably lots of stuff I don’t know about.
It does require some “keeping up”. Even these podcasts required a certain amount of learning to operate certain sound production programs and machines, plus setting up and maintaining a website.
Two lessons learned through years of experience to ease frustration and make keeping up with technological changes fun:
Ask. Ask a friend or go to the computer and in the search space for Google or YouTube type in your problem. Just ask: How to...and then fill in the blank: how to - go to spell check on an iPad, how to - record a podcast, how to - turn on photo stream on your Apple TV. Or how to do anything else with new technology.
And then there is the trick of getting some sleep. After struggling with something new it is amazing what a night's sleep can do. Just turn off the machine and when you wake in the morning the answer may have come to you like magic. It has happened that way to me many times.
Imagine the New York Times in big print each morning waiting for you – and you don’t have to feel like a major pollution machine when you throw it away each day. And a subscription costs $20.00 per month. That sounds good to me; cheaper than a hard copy. Then there are all of the best sellers books of all time classics. One click and they can be downloaded to your Kindle or tablet for less than the price of a print and paper book. And think of all the trees you will save.
I must include a reference to my Apple watch. How would I time my tea? Wake from a nap? Answer the phone? Keep track of my daily exercise activity - heart rate and all? My, oh, my…there is just so much.
This is Retirement Talk with something to think about.