Old Tech Memories

Every night I plug my iPhone into the charging cord beside my bed. The cord often falls to the floor so I have to pick it up in order to place my iPhone on my bedside table. The other night I grabbed the wrong cord. A cord I didn’t know I still had.

We haven’t had a landline in about four years. Ever since our oldest finished grade seven. At that time, we had a set of four cordless phones that all connected at one location- our bedroom. When we ditched the landline, I simply unplugged the phone. Over the past few days, I’ve been pulling stuff out from under our bed for Christmas. I guess the cord got caught and came out and I hadn’t noticed it.

There are plenty of images out there along the lines of “Remember corded phones?” I remember. When I was little, we had a rotary phone. I remember them in other people’s homes as well. Then push button ones. And really long cords to reach from one room to another.

In the mid 80’s we got our first cordless phone. I thought it was the greatest thing ever! It had one of those telescopic antennas that you could push down when you were finished the call. Except for the antenna- which eventually got bent and snapped off- the phone was extremely durable and aerodynamic! It flew across the room at my younger sister a couple of times.

Phones have come a long way since they were first invented. I’m using my phone to write this blog post. I listen to music, take photos and watch videos every day as well on my iPhone. Crazy.

The coolest thing a kid/teen could have in the 80’s was a Ghetto Blaster with a black and white tv built in. Man, did I ever want one of those. I guess I have to settle with having the world at my fingertips as an adult instead. I wonder what inventions my kids would wish they owned when they grow up?

Did you have any memories like this, or did you own one of those Blasters? Please share.

Data Hogs

A few days ago, my cellular provider informed me that we were about to reach our data limit. Actually, I was notified on July 20th and our data cycle resets August 3rd… I could not figure out how this was possible, since for months we barely hit our allotment. Between four iPhones, we share 12GB.

I checked our usage and found the culprits. Our youngest daughter had gone through over 5GB on her own in under three weeks. While our oldest had only used about 800MB. My wife had used 1GB. I had used over 4.5GB.

A story of two sisters who are very different data users:

Our oldest keeps her phone on airplane mode most of the time. She also has it set up to connect to WiFi all the time. She has conditioned herself to only go on social media when on WiFi as well which keeps her data usage low. She’s been doing this for a few years now- since her first phone.

Our youngest daughter has no concept of how much she uses her phone. She also doesn’t pay attention to whether she is on WiFi or not. This summer, she hasn’t been anywhere that requires her to be online. Turns out, while she was in our backyard sharing Instagram pictures and watching YouTube, she was never connected to our WiFi. She had been using data the entire time. And watching videos in full HD. I had to have a little talk with her about this and hopefully she will correct her behavior.

My wife works from home and hardly uses data. She likes to do comparison shopping in real-time when we are out. She does still play Pokémon Go and only checks social media when bored. I tend to use data far more frequently. I’ve always hovered around the 4GB range. But I use my phone for work quite often. Checking email, looking at maps, connecting with coworkers, that sort of thing. I also use social media a lot. That’s my crutch.

So for the past few days, I have shut off all data access to everyone. The biggest results I have found is that iMessage only works on WiFi now and Siri can’t figure out how to make a handsfree call when I drive. These are things I can live without for a couple more days. As we discuss as a family how to move forward with our shared data plan.

This could be interesting…

Please feel free to share any tips or advice on limiting our data consumption. I’m sure there are ways to still enjoy the cyber world…

Sound Off

Today I was going through my iPhone and changing up some ringtones and sounds. Life is too dull with only having the default sound effects set up. I would like to say that I often change up my ringtones, but it’s more like once a year. Usually my phone is on silent/vibrate. But lately I’ve been wanting to hear it again.

I realized that the ringtones I have are from movies, video games, and some of my favorite songs. After years of using these themes, I still like to hear them. Pretty sure that subconsciously, when others hear my ringtones, it brings up feelings and memories. I know that a couple of weeks ago, when I was using the ringtone from “Episodes” it caught people’s attention. Mostly because it is a very irritating theme. Also, I was getting a lot of phone calls, so even I was getting irate.

I guess that this is what makes life a bit more interesting. Sound effects are everywhere. But we become so accustomed to them that they get filtered out. I sometimes add my own from my mouth just for fun. Nothing like singing a line from a song before answering the phone. “Who can it be now?” Or yelling out “Boom” as you hit enter on on email.

These are my current sounds. I love the Disney Turnstile beep. It’s one of those sounds that you hear in Disneyland all the time, but ignore.

I’m always on the hunt for new sounds/songs. What do you have set for your phone?

The Dystopian Now

I have always loved Dystopian Future stories, shows, and movies. Books such as “1984and “A Handmaid’s Tale” were great reads and I wrote a bit about it here: Dystopian Life.

Movies like “The Matrix” , “Brazil” , “Blade Runner” and even “The Fifth Element” show a technological gritty society. Always gloomy and wet with momentary rays of sunshine that bring forth a quick smile on one of the characters. I’m currently in the process of watching “Altered Carbon” on Netflix. Darker than most dystopian shows, but still very riveting.

Here we are, on the cusp of the new millennium, and I feel we are already in a Dystopian world. I drive into Vancouver for work and home again- a dreary wet world stuck in traffic. My vehicle’s dashboard has a screen showing me the radio station I am listening to or I can switch to navigation or many other options. My cellphone connects through my car as well. I can use voice commands to send and read messages or actually talk to people. My car warns me if I’m too close to another car or if one is in my blind spot.

That’s just my drive home. At home, my phone controls the music and media I play in three different areas around the house. Music from anywhere in the world can pump through my home. Nearly every electronic device can be connected. My wife has a Fitbit and it watches her heart rate and counts her steps. It connects to her cellphone and connects with other people as well.

So yes, I think we live in a Dystopian world. The future is now. Rain and technology- that’s my daily life.

No. You Say Goodbye.

I’ve known my wife for nearly 18 years. During this time we have developed excellent communication skills. This is because we have a tiny quirk between us. It’s probably the biggest thing that keeps us together. It’s really simple actually.

We call each other on the phone. That’s it.

When we first met- my future wife gave me her phone number. A few days later, I called to ask if I could call her again later that evening. That was my first phone call to her. And it worked. We now call each other constantly.

Every time I drive to work, I call my wife. Whenever she is out on an errand, she calls me. Even a quick drive to drop the kids off at school- our phones are connected. We talk about dinner plans, schedules, people, politics, pretty much everything. We’ve even had conversations when we are a ten hour drive apart from each other.

It’s difficult to get into my car and not call my wife. I’ve done it since I first met her. Hearing her voice is a part of my daily drive. It brings me joy. I never want the phone calls to stop.

Because every call ends with “I love you“.

Note Taking Skillz

At work, I am constantly taking notes. Always scribbling on pieces of paper- tidbits of information needed throughout my day. Before my day is over, I review these notes a few times during my shift to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I don’t take any long term notes in notebook form anymore. Over the past few years, I have begun using my iPhone as my note taking device. It has become invaluable to me. (As in having lots of value, not having no value.) I use this because of the simplicity and ease of using the “Search” bar to find keywords. Much easier than flipping through notebooks.

I’d also like to think I have a decent memory. But some of my computer skills would tell you otherwise. I often forget the DOS style commands and end up fumbling through until I discover the correct code. At that point, my phone comes out and I figure out where I went wrong. I’ll probably die with a bunch of memorized codes after 25 years of work. But by then, we’ll all be integrated into the Matrix and my mind will just be another battery…

Danger Zone

Absolutely no reason for my thought process today.  I was going to write about “Roasted Sea Laver”.  But this is all I could come up with:

Roasted Sea Laver is a delicious healthy treat.  Mmmm seaweedy goodness.  Like eating only the green part of sushi.  No rice or fish?  Sure, sell me a pack of that!

And here’s a photo:


Then I began thinking that I should write about how I enjoy using hands free technology with my cellphones.  My car has the ability to sync with my iPhone which is cool.  And at work I picked up a fancy “ear mullet” to use with the blackberry phone (not my choice of smartphones).  And here’s the photo I was thinking of using:

But all of that pales in comparison to my strange obsession with 80’s movie theme songwriter extraordinare Kenny Loggins. Footloose.  Danger Zone.  The only two songs I know and neither is from a film I enjoy.

And here’s the picture to go with that because Archer:


My brain couldn’t cope with getting a full article about anything in particular.  So there you have the three random thoughts I had as I drove home today.

Tomorrow I may write about a fancy new word I learned today: “Automagically”

Technology 

I live for technology.  The iPhone in my hand, using the free wifi offered inside of a building, as I write this while watching my kids skate just blows me away.  There are numerous other people here (including small children) with laptops, iPads, smart phones, wearable tech, all accepting of it as a way of life.  I don’t see it as a dumbing down of our society.  Sure, I could put down my phone, have a conversation with a stranger, maybe even pay attention to my children, but why?  We don’t live in the dark ages any more.

I had my first computer and learned how to use BASIC by around age six.

You’re so BASIC.

A few years later at age thirteen, my computer could connect with other computers through a dial up 2400 Baud Modem.  It was already a step above the film WarGames.

By age seventeen, I owned a pager.  No reason for it, I just wanted one.  It’s now in a landfill somewhere is my guess.

 

Beep me sometime.

Then I got a cellphone.  It had snake on it.  That was about it.  But it was reliable.  I’ve gone through about five or six different models now, replacing it every four to five years.  Technology has come a long way and I love every bit of it.

I’ll be the first to admit, technology has been sneaky.  We willingly allow GPS to track our moves through our devices.  There are cameras just about everywhere watching our every move.  Drones, GoPros, smartphones, dashcams, who needs Big Brother when we do it to ourselves?  Sure you can argue about privacy, but if you’re doing something wrong, the law won’t care about your privacy.

I’m not afraid of what the future brings. I’m sure more good is on the way.  Perhaps one day there will be ocular implants instead of screens.  Perhaps one day there will medical advances through nanotechnology.  Perhaps one day there will be a way to keep our consciousness alive in a virtual reality setting.  Perhaps there will come a time where we plug in like the Matrix.

As long as the bugs are worked out, sign me up for Josef V2.0 and allow me to see where the world goes.  Technology doesn’t scare me.  I fully embrace it.