The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Posts tagged ‘computers’

Tuesday's Technological Moment

In the past few weeks we’ve acquired several pieces of new technology. Some of it is amazing. Some of it is fun. Some of it is both. Anyway, I’m going to share. (Stop me if you must….there’s that back button up there in your browser.)

Since early December I have made some big technological advances. First off, I got a nook color. That’s Barnes & Noble’s e-reader. Now don’t think I’ve become a turncoat to the world of books. I still love books as much or more than you do. I just can’t read them anymore. Presbyopia is not for the young. After a couple of years of removing my glasses, sqwinching my eyes, covering the left one, and holding the book under my nose just to read a couple of pages before my right eye wore out, I made the case to Jenny that an e-reader was not a toy, it was an adaptive technology. Suddenly I’m reading again. All the time. In 12 to 14 pt font, with cream letters on a mocha background.  She, of course, had to have one also. But hers is a toy.

On the same logic, we stepped up to a 42″ television. Last year Jenny insisted on watching the Rose Bowl because the Ducks were in it. I am a Duck, having graduated from U of O in 1973, but I care nothing about football. Still, I tried to watch it with her. At some point she was talking about the score as if she knew what it was. That’s when I discovered the little box at the bottom of the screen that tells you things like that. Well, I didn’t actually discover it. I just was informed that it was there. About 20 years ago, we replaced our 13″ television with a 27″ because I could no longer see the small screen. This year, we moved up to the big screen. This is good because I’m also starting to experience some trouble with my hearing and need visual cues to decipher some of the dialogue on the television.

For no other reason than that we wanted to, we bought an xbox 360 with kinect. It’s fun, it’s exercise, and it allows us to get rid of cable. Because it’s also a computer and modem, we can now stream Netflix and television, without commercials. We kept just enough cable (the basic plan) so that we can watch the news while it’s happening because I happen to be a news junkie. However, by doing this, we will realize a net savings of about $50 with the money-grubbing monopolistic Beavercreek Telephone Company.  Although the people there are great, I still want to put the screws to them all the time. Talk about expensive. For just cable (without HBO and that stuff) and Internet, I’ve been paying $150 a month. That’s without a phone. We joined the cell phone only generation after moving out here because Beavercreek Telephone is long distance to every place EXCEPT Beavercreek and we know like four people who actually live in Beavercreek. You know who you are.

I had a 22″ monitor in my office, but my work requires me to have two documents open side by side and the smaller screen wasn’t cutting it.  (Just to give you an idea, when I write in Word, I use 12 pt Verdana and blow it up to 200 percent. I wanted a 30″ monitor but they are prohibitively expensive (over $1000) so I decided to settle on a 27″ for about $300. We walked into Best Buy and almost tripped over a 32″ flat screen television for $270. It had all the right innies and outies for my computer so I got my 30+ inch monitor and am loving being able to see again on all fronts.

One last thing, perhaps the most amazing of all. Our cell phone contracts were up on Dec 28th. This was good because I had “bricked” mine. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge, the camera was broken, and the dang thing hung up on people all the time. I spent a lot of time saying “Are you there?” to nobody. So we toddled into the T-Mobile store and found a BOGO on smart phones. For those of you not in the know, a BOGO is buy one, get one free. We now have new MyTouch 4Gs. I swear this is the most sophisticated thing I own, and I’m a technology geek. The thing will even turn into its own wifi hotspot and allow me to access the Internet with my Nook or my laptop from anywhere I can get a cell phone signal. The camera in it is 5 mpx, better than my digital camera, and has flash. I can record videos or just voice. I can tell it to call people and it will. I can talk to it and it puts my speech into emails or texts. I’m going to try using it to blog as soon as I figure out how.  It’s an mp3 player, you can watch movies and television on it, it comes with Word and Excel. It’s better than my laptop or my netbook (except for being hard to see).

So there you have it. All new technology, most of it adaptive in some way. My mom used to carry magnifying glasses with her so she could read or see things. All I have to do is turn on my nook. I’m not sure, but I think my phone will even read to me. But I’m still trying to figure it all out. The major problem I have with this phone is that when someone calls, a big red button appears. Now, to me, a big red button screams “Push me.” Which I do. Forgive me if I hang up on you. I promise to call you right back.

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