Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Technologically Challenged

I asked my daughter last week what she wanted for Christmas. She said a remote controlled dog. (Which I thought was insane, we have two perfectly good "real" dogs she can play with.) I said I would discusss it with Santa.

I asked her again, the other night, what she wanted. She said, (are you ready for this) "... a phone that has pictures, and movies, and songs. You know, the kind the kind that has the best games."

Logical Mommy replied, "I don't even have a phone like that. Why do you want that?"

And she said, "Phone games are smarter. I can beat all the levels on my game-girl and my computer (both by LeapFrog). I want to be challenged."

I almost dropped what I was holding.

I hate computer games. (Remember how old I am for a second here. Some of you may not know what I'm talking about.) I never played Pac-Man. Don't really know who Pong was... or was it Kong. I never desired to hang with Super Mario. I cried when they took the pinball machine out of the club I was working in and replaced it with some race car driver machine that all the guys loved.

I typed my stories for YEARS on a Smith-Corona. My big thrill was when they came out with the eraser tape dispenser. I balked at getting a computer. I got a word processer instead. (This was when computers were expensive, they were practically brand new to the modern era.)

Give me a man tool, for inside or out. I can understand that. Give me a recipe. Give me laundry, a weed-wacker, or any other physical task and I'm on it. Ask me to do anything other than write my stories with my brain -- forget it. You should see my checkbook. (But that's really math and that's a whole other post.)

I am Technologically Challenged.

I am scared to death to start a Face Book account. Dont' even talk to me about Twitter. I have no idea what a hash tag is...(but if I had to guess, I'd say it has something to do with potatoes) and quite frankly, I don't want to.

Thinking of starting a web-site has me sick to my stomach. I write in different genres with different pen names...does that mean I need three different web-sites? Oh. My. God. What have I gotten myself into?

As a writer, when I'm doing my physical tasks (and there are many at my house), that's when I do my best writing. If I'm lucky, it makes it to the page. I've been noticing lately, I'm using pen and paper. I don't know why.

Perhaps because when I started writing, way back when (when the dinosaurs were alive) I used pen and paper. It has been somewhat of an awakening. Does it make a difference in my writing? I have noticed, what goes down on the page is longer, more verbose, purple, if you will. When I transfer it to .doc, it becomes less.

Is modern technology wiping out my need for the more elegant language of times past? Sometimes I like to let the words on the page linger for a second, give me another way of looking at something, the -ly's, the adverbs.

I've watched our world transform in the last 40 years from Leave it to Beaver to The Jetsons. It's a scary thing to me. I guess I've been reincarnated in the wrong era or something.

I've been thinking for quite some time about getting Monster Baby her own, real computer. (I won't let her use mine. She crashed my last one and lost 60k of the orginal MASQUERADE ms.) My cousin Tommy is a... (see, I don't even know what he is but I call him a computer genius)...computer genius and made me my computer from spare parts. His kids have had their own computers since they were born. (Both of them are now on the "Fast Track Elevated Learning Program" at their school. Got this info from my cousin, his mother, yesterday.) Tommy can download all kinds of games and things for Monster Baby so she can be "challenged". Which might not be a bad thing.

When she's older, I can watch over her shoulder while she opens my FaceBook and Twitter accounts for me.

How do you feel about modern technology?


Anonymous said...

I'm technicall challenged, too. I just use the computer and hope it doesn't break down. Typewriters were much easier and took less brain-power, but even I don't want to be without my computer now! I got a BlackBerry this year and love it. I can go on Twitter with it and email, just about read blogs. But if anything goes wrong, I do start to panic!

CJ xx

DL Hammons said...

I embrace it completely. I am borderline geek myself, so I'm always on the lookout for the latest technology. I know computer games get a bad rap from the media, but they truly do challenge the minds and keep those neurons firing. :)

Liza said...

You are blogging, so you are not totally challenged. I think we have to expose ourselves to, and use technology because the word is running fast forward and we'll be left behind if we don't. As for Monster Baby, she'll be technology literate before you can even imagine. They learn so early it is all second nature to them. I struggle to make my daughter show me how vs. doing it for me...because she won't always be here to help.

Tracy said...

I actually like technology, but in most areas I usually let others do all the hard work of figuring out the glitches & I come along with it's been dummy-proofed.

Heck, I read the majority of my books on a machine now (love me some Nook, I gotta be honest) so I've given in to the technology age.

Saumya said...

I feel the same way even though I did a computer science minor! No Twitter for me and Facebook is honestly a huge waste of time. So cute that she asked for a fancy phone. I like a girl that knows what she wants haha :). And it is so cool that your writing changes when it is on paper and then the computer!! Don't give in to the technology crazy. Save your time!

Summer said...

Technology has been a part of my life since I was about 5 or 6, I guess. My dad was in the computer business at the time, having just gotten out of the USAF. It was an ancient old thing, but I still remember it. And we had a computer ever since then, which would have been around 1992 or so. The internet was becoming more accessible to us regular folk during my childhood, so I was out there doing all the IM and chatrooms and web boards. Honestly, the internet is the reason I can type as fast as I do, even though my mother made me learn to type on a typewriter.

However, i don't have a smart phone. I'm connected enough to my computer as it is--when I'm out and about, it's nice to have a break from it all!

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

i embrace it. Then again, i'm quite a few years younger than you, so i grew up with it.
Here's the thing about the websites, too, if you're that worried about it, when the time comes you can just hire someone to make it for you. Problem solved!

Anonymous said...

I sell software so technology pays my bills right now! But do see its downfalls too. At least the Jetson's still had real conversations--no texting the person just a few feet away from them! As long as society also embraces human contact, face to face conversations, I think we'll be okay.

adam.purple said...

I've been using PCs since they first came out. I got my hands on one when I did an internship with IBM (a few years ago). Booting from a floppy disk. WordStar and Wordperfect and Lotus 123. But now my kids put me to shame with their gadgets.

Shannon said...

I love technology. Thanks to the 'net, I'm able to work from home!

I grew up with it from the early Atari to my Commodore 64 to my new x-box Kinect. I'm consistently impressed and amazed with what we're accomplished in the past ten, nay 5 years and cannot wait to see where we are in another 20!

Embrace it if you can...you already have with the blog. And don't be scared of Facebook - it's easy to use and will connect you with so many people from your past and present. It's easier than setting up a blog! =)

Melissa Gill said...

Oh Anne- I am so with you sister. My nephew turned 8 Sun. and got a new game for his Wii. He kept yelling at me to teach him how to play it. I'm trying to "read the directions" like an idiot, but before I can even find the English language version, he had it figured out.

I got on Facebook about a year ago. It was depressing as hell. I looked at all my classmates and though, OMG you look so old. (I of course still look 18! NOT!)

I got on twitter, I've tweeted 23 times in the past year. Woohoo!

But hey, your blog looks great, so you've got it going on there.

Stephanie M. Lorée said...

I am a SuperNerd, so my opinions are biased.

When I was growing up, things were changing rapidly. Nintendo was making it big and Mom had enough foresight to realize her daughter was going to live in a technological era. She took me to visit her friend's workplace where I put punched cards into a big machine and thought it was magic. At age 11, I got my first DOS based computer. Some girls wanted Barbies, I wanted a 3.5" floppy drive so I could convert from my 5.25" monsters.

The rest is history. I now live an almost entirely digital life. I can say with pride that having exposure to technology made me who I am. It granted me some fantastic opportunities. I still don't do Facebook and I'm not on Twitter, but that's a choice. I know if I wanted to I could pick them up and learn how to use them within a few minutes.

With all things, it requires moderation. But if the kid wants to learn, I say let 'em.

Anne R. Allen said...

As somebody pointed out, your blog gives you a some geek cred. And a blog is a website. Yours is writing-focused and professional. I don't think writers need a fancy website until they have a book to market. Then you can have it designed to go with whatever book/pen name gets picked up first.

Facebook is the devil as far as I'm concerned, although I'm on it. You'll need a teenager to help you set up the privacy stuff on your account if you start one. Otherwise every time your cousin's daughter's old boyfriend posts his Neo-Nazi rants, they'll show up in your email box--and on your home page. It's soooo creepy.

Twitter is fun once you get the hang of it, but it's a time-suck.

As far as I've been able to tell (and I'm of the Pinball Wizard generation, too) A blog is the #1 most important social networking tool for writers.

And you have one. Be proud.

Anne Gallagher said...

Thank you so much everyone for all your kind words and opinions.

I don't feel quite so alone now. Technology is here and I know I can't stop it but I just hate it. I wish I could "know" how to do all that stuff but the time it would take me to learn, there would be a new gadget or thing coming down the pike in the next 5 minutes. So why bother, right?

I'll wait to worry until I get published.

Terry Towery said...

Well, I'm old and I LOVE technology. Honestly, I do. I would totally freak without it. I love my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have a state-of-the-art Dell laptop, a new desktop and a smart phone.

I think I would die without them. But I fought it for years, until about 1995, when I decided it was easier to join them than beat them. I haven't yet looked back. :)

notesfromnadir said...

You've done pretty good w/ your Blogger page so consider me impressed enough w/ your computer skills. Twitter's actually easier than Blogger but you're really limited in your word count!

Your daughter sounds like she wants a Blackberry or iPhone or something like that! As you know, they aren't free, so good luck convincing her to stay w/ her Leappad or Leapfrog or whatever it's called.

Mostly, you have my utmost sympathy if she lost your manuscript on the computer due to a virus. I hope you're backing everything up to a USB drive.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

"I have no idea what a hash tag is...(but if I had to guess, I'd say it has something to do with potatoes) and quite frankly, I don't want to."

Love it! You're so funny :)

I'm fairly technologically challenged too. But, it appears, Anne, you're doing quite well with blogger...

Anonymous said...

Born in 1940, I did the pen and pencil way of writing, and don't want to give up the computer to go back to it! I did the typewriter thing, too, for decades. Don't want to go back to multiple carbons, and correcting the mistakes on them, either!

But I don't understand the inner workings of the computer, and I'm lost with all the "gadgets"--iPods etc. I'm lost pretty much with codes, too, though I do try them out and when they work, great! I did get a Facebook account, which I rarely use; but I like it as a way to connect with friends and relatives. You could do it, Anne! As someone above says, you're on Blogger, so you're not totally technology illiterate! I also set up a Twitter account, and I think I can do that too. They all do work on the same principle. You can play around with them and not wipe out your computer if you get stuck!! (Though you could get stuck like I did on Blogger and have to do a new blog. But I did the export/import thing, and it worked!! I just lost my followers. Sigh.)

These are my just before Thanksgiving thoughts, for whatever they're worth. Hope you have a good turkey/chicken/or whatever Day!!

February Grace said...

Is modern technology wiping out my need for the more elegant language of times past?

Oh heavens, I hope not. I have a friend who always writes me emails in true letter format. Headers and footers. I always try to send back the same even when I'm rushed. It's an agreement we have because we both prefer it. It's more like getting the letters the old fashioned way, and I have always loved letters.

You don't need to be scared of the networking sites, Anne, well, at least not in your ability to navigate them. You're a very smart chick. Anyone who can write like you can and already has a blog like this can certainly handle Twitter (it's like cotton candy. Lightweight, and in most cases just hypes you up.) Facebook I'm finding more of a challenge as it's more involved and I have as you know limited eyesight time. I'm trying it. It makes me nervous. I'm afraid if I don't reply to this comment or that tag that I'll offend somebody. But I am doing my best. If you do come to the dark side, well, to quote Woody and Buzz, 'you've got a friend in me'.

I stopped Tweeting because following all those random trains of thought (and a lot of commercials...) gave me a headache. But you have no need to fear. Well, except maybe that you'll forget how to spell. A lot of people seem to, but I for one, won't give up whole words.

...and in case I don't get back by before then, Happy Thanksgiving!


Christine said...

If you can blog, you can tweet and facebook, too. But it is a time suck. The trick is to manage it in small chunks just as you manage your writing time. I read a great book by Kristen Lamb called We Are Not Alone --writer's guide to Social Media. It opened my eyes about how to use Social Media wisely so that it doesn't suck away valuable writing time (no point in having a following if you haven't got any books written LOL).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Linda G. said...

I love it, as long as I have somebody around to show me how to use it and to maintain it for me. ;)

The Las Vegas Writer said...

I grew up in the technological era. I can't imagine writing my stories by hand. Notes, yes. An MS, NO! How do you edit them?

Eric W. Trant said...

I'm in technology -- semiconductors -- and I usually stay two or three nodes behind the pack.

For instance, I didn't get a big-screen tv until last year, and then I got a DLP. It was a ton cheaper than flat-screens (still is), and far more reliable than the early models.

Same with my phone. I only recently got a QWERTY phone, and it's not touch-screen. It came with the account.

We just this Christmas agreed to get an XBOX 360. I still have my old Nintendo 64.

I program in PERL, HTML, and Visual Basic because the newer languages still haven't fully hashed out, not if you ask me. .NET maybe, but I haven't ~needed~ to use it, yet.

Same with my computer, and all my other electronics. I avoid NEW technology at all costs, because it is too dynamic, too unreliable, too immature, too unpredictable, and way, WAY too expensive.

That's how I feel about technology. Stay a node or two or three behind. You're doing fine.

I'm sure you've found it's a LOT easier to erase your story on your computer than it was on your old typewriter, and I don't recall EVER dropping a call when I had dial-tone and a busy signal and a rotary dial.

Technology... so many times takes us backward, eh.

- Eric