Category Archives: Computer

New Year Wisdom


New Year Wisdom

After going to a New Years party for a few hours, I came home to welcome in the New Year online with okcforgottenman. I was railing on about the fact that a prompt site for which I wished to download an app only had apps for phones and tablets. When I asked if they had an app for my Mac computer, they said no, the place they went to set up the prompt site didn’t have a setup for a Mac computer.  This, in addition to the fact that more and more apps and software are being set up to accommodate the tiny screens on cellphones and tablets without taking into consideration that some of us are on computers has caused me to wonder if  computers are becoming obsolete!

The fact that many baby boomers are now well into their sixties and approaching their seventies means our eyesight is not going to get any better, and frankly, I need the bigger screen. In addition, somehow those born in previous generations (at least mine) seem to have been born with larger thumbs than more recent generations, for I find it is physically impossible for me to navigate a phone or Kindle or tablet keyboard with even my fingers, let alone thumbs.

I then mentioned how everywhere I went, people were all on their phones—playing games, talking to people other than the people they were with, reading the news or blogs or email. No one was where they actually were! He replied that this didn’t bother him but then seemed to do an about-face by admitting, “I think something big is going to happen that will bring about the end of civilization, but I don’t necessarily know what it is. It might be Isis and it might be iPhones!”

What he has just said has the ring of truth to me. I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing, but never put it so well. I am frightened about how smart phones have taken us away from our surrounding people and environments. We are no longer one place at one time. Even if we are not talking on the phone, there is the potential of every person we know calling us at any time and any place. And most of us make that call a priority over whatever is going on at the time.

Okcforgottenman then told me about a new app that photoshops the faces of those talking on the computer, fixing the glitches, covering up all those details that Photoshop is so adept at covering up. Again, I had a feeling of déjà vu,  because I’ve been reading Ultimate Jest by David Foster Wallace, and just today, he talked about a time in the future when people on social networks are able to download an app that Photoshops their faces.

Eventually, the app makes changes to the point where people no longer really want to meet in person, because they feel they have become the false representation of themselves—or at least prefer it. No need to put on makeup, comb your hair, get dressed. Virtually, they will be perfected!! The trend reaches its zenith when in time, the app doesn’t even bother to start with the real image of the speaker but instead uses the image of a movie star or other “beautiful person” who most resembles the speaker–eventually coming to the place where what they have in common is four limbs and the same color of hair!

What he describes is so close to what okcforgottenman describes to me that I get a chill down my back and the brain freeze I always get when I’m faced with a startling truth I’ve never thought of before. Is there any science fiction that will not eventually become fact????

David Foster Wallace describes a turn that eventually makes people reject their fake personas and to go back to voice-only conversations that do not even present any images at all. In time, those who use the visual phones with face and body altering apps come to be seen as narcissistic, gauche and behind the times. This is something I cannot imagine happening as our dependence on cyber unreality becomes more and more prevalent.

As we retreat more and more into fantasy and living in the far distance, what will happen to the immediate world around us? Will it cease to have importance as anything other than providing for our immediate creature comforts such as food, bed, warmth, water and medical attention? Will all of our psychological, artistic, amorous, social and familial needs be met through our online devices? And as these devices get smaller and smaller, will we ourselves evolve into miniature beings capable of managing them? Are we evolving back down to subatomic size, and is this a cycle? Has it happened before?

Ridiculous. I’m being ridiculous. And yet who among us, born in the forties or fifties, would have ever imagined we could communicate with both words and pictures through the air, watch a movie on a device smaller than the hand piece of a telephone, or that people would be living their “real” lives out and even choosing husbands and wives on TV for all to see? How do we tell the difference between what is possible and what is  impossible anymore? I’m afraid it is hard to predict with any confidence at all.

Post-Migraine Depression

Disclaimer: Yesterday I suffered my first migraine in sixteen years or so.  I had just been telling a friend how long it had been since I’d had my last one and the best way to overcome them when suddenly, a few days later, when I was standing on a ladder putting away material in my studio, I grew dizzy and would have fallen off the ladder if I hadn’t had a chair back and file cabinet to steady myself on.  Soon after, the migraine descended, along with the nausea and this time with a shortness of breath that was probably psychosomatic but which made me feel as though I was going to suffocate.

What was worse is that there was no one around–no one in my neighborhood–no one I could think to call.  When I tried to think of someone to email or Skype, my mind fogged and I couldn’t figure out how to type the letters or who exactly to call–just to have a sense of presence.  I was too sick to talk and could barely even stand the distraction of calling on Skype.  Nor could I figure out how to actually make the call.  Luckily a friend who was about to leave on a trip to another town and who was already connected to me by Skype, contacted an old friend and she called me and talked me down a bit, poor thing, talking for ten minutes or so without relief.  All I needed was some soft distraction so I did not think about not being able to breathe.

Today just the slight edge of a headache is there. Enough so I dare not bend down or chance seeing a bright light or smelling the odor of Jacaranda, which I am afraid is what caused the problem this time, but I have started thinking about old age and being alone and vulnerable and all of those things I’ve never really thought of seriously before.  When I tried to write something else entirely, what got written was the rather self-indulgent piece below.  My impulse is to put it away and to write something else, but I also have a curiosity about whether others might have the same feelings sometimes so I just might have another look at it and print it with the understanding that when such things are written, they sometimes serve as their own antidote.

Or, perhaps the extreme of what I wrote is simply priming the pump–a surge to get me going.  Well, I’ll have another read and we shall see.  If I do print it, I’d appreciate comments–lots of them–no matter how negative.  My grandmother used to say a Dutch phrase when she was feeling sorry for herself, “Mama Miet mi Dote!” (Mama might be dead.) It became our family’s saying, only my mother (her daughter-in-law), who didn’t understand Dutch, said “Mama Milk My Goat.”  My dad thought this was funny so never told us differently until I went to college and tried to use it and got blank stares from all those who didn’t know the phrase I thought everyone used.  It was then my dad ‘fessed up.  So, “Mama Milk My Goat.” Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself in the ditty below, but it helps to rave sometimes and tomorrow is another day.  For now, I’m lying low for one more day.

Post-Migraine Depression

My life is growing narrower, the walls are closing in.
I don’t care where I’m going or care where I have been.
I never thought life would wear out or that I’d tire of it,
but suddenly the life around me does not seem to fit.
We’re schooled to be cheerful and to make the best of life–
to emphasize our happiness and overlook the strife,
but somehow everything has changed. Perhaps it is the weather,
for suddenly I feel my life is on too short a tether.

I think I’ve worn my old life out but cannot seek a new one.
I’ve simply not the energy to try again to do one.
So I shall lie abed today to contemplate my fate–
to have a look at what I do and what is on my plate.
I need to feed the dogs and then to feed my own self, too–
to dress myself and try to put each shoe in front of shoe.
My grandma was a martyr and perhaps I am the same,
but I don’t try to make this into any other’s blame.

I simply feel that I must stir the pot up once again–
take off on an adventure someplace I’ve never been.
Find a niche and fill it and live a simple life.
Try to find diversion without turmoil or strife.
To inspect the Caribbean or a tiny town in Spain.
Live alone in solitude with nothing to explain.
My family is scattered and has no need of me.
In terms of obligations, I am really fancy free.

So if you do not see me later on this blog,
just know that I have gone away and slipped my usual cog.
Perhaps I’ll be beach combing or traveling out to sea.
Perhaps I’ll be investigating what else I can be.
My life will soon be over and although I’ve had the best,
I feel that I need more of it before my final rest.
Or, I may not stir at all. I guess I must admit,
perhaps my need is satisfied by contemplating it.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

(This is a follow-up to Judy’s computer is kaput for awhile.)

I finally got on as an administrator of my site but it is slow going on a Kindle which won’t charge as I type and when it gets low on battery, starts substituting random letters for what I type. The truth is that I tipped a full glass of Diet Coke on my Mac Air and after 4 hours of watching a young Mexican man removing 222 microscopic screws and then disemboweling my most treasured nonhuman essential element in my life, I was given the sad news that by my careless action, I had slain my motherboard!  Somehow, in spite of not being able to post, I had the second highest number of viewings ever, so I am hoping folks will still view me—either randomly choosing a past posting, or perhaps Duckie would assume a roll of blog jockey and post a link to a past post each day. Can it be that this is nature’s way of telling me to get a life? I must admit I was utterly traumatized by this all day yesterday. Today I have chosen to wax philosophic. Let us see what happens, but please, please continue to visit. Keep Duckie busy and away from the bottle and if they ever publish another prompt,  will someone send it to me?  In alternate states of shock and mourning. —Judy

DUCKIE, please edit and add tags? Kindle instructed people to rabidly choose to read. You didn’t catch that, ed. I Changed to randomly.

(Edited by Duckie)

The Air Around Me

The Prompt: Object Lesson—Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?

My MacBook Air—no contest!!!!  There is not a time when I’m home that it isn’t with me…and usually not a time away from home.  I have to be able to write at any given time and my Kindle is too hard to type on.

The Air Around Me

In the morning when I wake, she’s on my bedside table
where she’s been charging all night long, so now I find I’m able
to perch her on my counter as I brush my hair and dress,
put mascara on my lashes and curl them, I confess.
I take her to the kitchen as I blend my smoothie up—
slice the fruit, add soy milk, and pour it in a cup.
To my desk we go then, to write our morning verse.
If I wrote it longhand, I fear it would be worse.

When I do pool aerobics, she sits at pool edge.
(I put her on a table that has a little ledge
to protect her from disasters that might tip her in the pool.
I never take her in with me. I’m not a complete fool.)
That hour of exercise flies by as I watch junk TV.
Old situation comedies are what I like to see!
But when I drive to town I always listen to a book.
Much better than a video, as I don’t have to look.

At the plaza café, at my favorite outside table,
I converse with favorite friends whenever I am able.
But if they’re busy I just take my laptop there with me
and talk to her with fingers whenever they are free.
When the waiter brings totopos and the sauce to dip them in,
salsa on her keyboard would be disastrous sin;
so I have to move her—our contact I must breach—
but close enough so earbuds are still within my reach.

Before I eat, I talk to her with fingers fleet and swift.
During the meal, I listen, for my food I have to lift
from plate to mouth from plate to mouth till it becomes a rite.
Then my computer talks to me. She has no appetite.
She is my secretary and my bookshelf without end.
My video library and my calendar and friend.
She is my photo album and the archives for my writing.
She corrects my spelling and she’s expert at reciting
all my words right back to me so I can see what’s wrong.
And when I need interpreting, her language skills are strong.
So perhaps it’s clear now why she’s always here with me.
For the bond that binds us both is electricity!

Packing Light

The Prompt: You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

Packing Light

Well obviously, my computer. It is my communicator, entertainment, authority, reference engine, game board, stereo, movie theater, playground, tablet, singles bar, family gathering place, archivist, doctor, shopping mall, photo album and so much more. This is a no-brainer.