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Sometimes change isn't an advantage.

By Tigger_Two ·
I really do hate to be a whiner...

As I have gotten older and decrepitude has gotten significantly more pervasive, I find that I have less and less ability to deal with changes that are being made with- what appears to be- less and less regard for those who use a product.

I try to embrace change. I fail miserably when that change comes wrapped in a sense that it is inflicted, rather than granted, on we who must use the new and improved... rather than the old and antiquated that worked so much better.

I live with an iPhone and an iPad. I also live with a MacBook Pro and an iMac. This disregards the XP net book and 17" Windows laptop that also share my space. Since I come from a time that believes that redundancy is good, I don't question this. However, I begin to wonder what benefit- if any- is brought to the table.

I don't recall the last time I answered my cell phone. I recall the last time I used it- the first week of December, when poor weather and driving conditions combined with an insane GPS (can you get therapy for a GPS?) required me to phone a friend for more reliable directions than Google Maps (and my insane GPS) could provide. I try to remember to keep the darned thing charged.

I actually use my iPad. I was looking for a specific book at Barnes and couldn't find it where I assumed it would be... so I pulled out my iPad to find the section THEY thought was appropriate. Found what I was looking for, too.

Somehow, I don't want to believe that this is what they designed this tool for...

We've become a nation of inanity and absurdity. Worse, we accept and embrace this. Our social reality is encompassed by Facebook and Twitter, we think in concepts that can be embraced in 160 characters or less, and our "networks" are comprised of people we have never met- and never want to.

I find myself avoiding my computer and refusing to answer my phone. I don't recall the last time someone emailed me because they wanted to talk to me- the email I get is more often notifications of things I don't care about and frequently from people I don't know. At some point, technology stopped serving me and began to assume I would serve IT.

What did I miss?

I understand the idea that one must grow with the times. In general, this doesn't bother me much. But to think that "Dance Moms", "Toddlers and Tiaras", "Dancing with the Stars", and "The Bachelor" are a part of what is considered to be "the social fabric" makes me ill. That a fundamentally flawed search is the best tool I have to find content on an otherwise beloved site irritates me to my soul. That people who think like me are being driven deeper into hiding spaces tells me that perhaps the promised change is nothing more than an empty promise that is not kept.

I long for simplicity. I long for a day when I can actually find content that is relevant for what I search for. I long for the days when thinking was a requirement and not optional.

I long for changes that provide an advantage to the user... and are not merely changes for the sake of some ill-conceived marketing notion of "what's best" for the consumer.

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US 'Culture of the Now'.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

For the past several years I've noticed a shift in the mindset of this country. We no longer have any tolerance for delay. This is reflected in many of our habits, but especially in our information and communication technology tools and how we use them. I don't know if this is due to the way we've chosen to use these tools, or the way we've chosen to let them use us. But the more we interact with them, the less tolerance we have for delay.

We no longer plan ahead. Instead, we rely on tools to let us fill our needs on the fly. Unfortunately, many have lost the ability to plan even the simplest things. I can understand calling a spouse to ask if we need chicken when it's on sale. However, yesterday I was grocery shopping and frequently crossed paths with someone who appeared to be on the phone constantly. It sounded like she was asking about every individual item on the shelf.

No one plans a trip anymore, they just hop in and fire up the GPS. They may not have the slightest notion of even what major roads to take, so they can't attempt navigation when their blind obedience to the device leads them astray. (Sorry, not picking on you, but we've both seen it.)

Marketing tells us it's desirable to be in constant contact. Why? It wasn't a necessity even ten years ago. Do I really need to know right now who my football team chose in the draft, or the latest inanity to pass through a celebrity's lips? What's the impact if I don't get the vacation photos on my web site for a couple of days? Does every message sent to us merit an immediate response? We've lost the ability to prioritize; questions about where to go for lunch are treated with the same urgency as a notice that Mom had a heart attack.

All this immediacy leads to a failure to consider long-term consequences. We live in the 'Now', with reduced consideration for our actions. It's not just those who fail to consider the career impacts of the ill-advised Tweet. Look at the federal government and its repeated failure to deal with long-term problems. Kicking the can down the road occurs regardless of party in control of legislative or executive branches. Not only are elected representatives willing to make the big decisions, voters are won't elect anyone who says he will. Short-term convenience regularly trumps long-term necessity.

I could go on, and probably will, but it's not just you. Maybe it's the result of the 'self esteem' approaches to child rearing. Maybe it's the desire for new toys, and the feeling that if we spent the money then we must maximize the use of them. Maybe it's just that I'm older and less adaptable. Or less gullible. Or less materialistic. Or more discerning regarding what I need vs. what I want.

C'mon over and we'll scream at kids on my lawn together.

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You *get* it. You really do!

by Tigger_Two In reply to US 'Culture of the Now'.

The "Culture of Now" describes what I was thinking perfectly. You nailed it when you say that we don't seem to be capable of planning in any meaningful way any longer. When my cats get in my face and demand my attention RIGHT NOW it's cute. When the entire society I live in does it... not so much.

I have fought against immediate gratification all my life. ADHD minds tend to see the entire world in terms of "now" and "not now". Learning to wait, learning to do the due diligence, learning to consider choices from a variety of angles, isn't something that came easily to me. It took active effort on my part... but I finally learned, only to find myself in a world that no longer seems to place a value on it.

I have become obsolete.

*sigh*

Scream at the kids on the lawn? Yep. I'll bring the lap blankets and whiskey if you provide the rocking chairs.

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Planning

by dogknees In reply to You *get* it. You really ...

Partly it's that people don't stick to their plans any more. Used to be, once you set out to go somewhere, no one could contact you to suggest something else. Now, my friends decide, when half way there, to go and see someone else because they posted on Twtr.

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That bothers me

by Tigger_Two In reply to Planning

Living with ADHD means that I live with a brain that is easily distracted and speeding through life at 100 mph. A ton of energy going in ten directions at once and accomplishing little if anything at all. Staying focused on a task is something that does not come easily to me at all. It has required significant training and medication.

Yet I was taught that I needed to learn this- needed to learn to pick a direction and go in it, to stay focused on the task at hand. I was taught that learning this was not optional, that it was an important life skill that I needed to have. So I learned, and learned also to put the structures in place that enabled me to be successful at it.

Now the world I live in changes on a whim. Plans are made, yet seldom followed through. Accomplishing a task is seldom as important as talking about accomplishing the task... which baffles me no end.

Perhaps my ADHD brain is simply an early implementation of a necessary skill set- the ability to look really busy and directed while accomplishing little or nothing.

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Still stuck in the 20th century.

by LocoLobo In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

Cell phone, desktop, no GPS, no ipod or smartphone, not even a laptop. Joined facebook but hardly go there. Those shows you listed, "Dancing Bears", etc., don't even make sense to me.

Your comment about IT serving us or the other way around reminded me of my Dad. He did almost all his auto repairs himself, to save money. Thing was he spent a significant amount of his free time (as a trucker he worked 60+ hrs/wk) fixing the cars. OTOH, by the time he was my age he was one of the best Mickey Mouse mechanics I ever saw.

I think to each generation there's always something that changes for reasons that don't make sense.

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Changes that don't make sense

by Tigger_Two In reply to Still stuck in the 20th c ...

Your comment about your dad reminds me that one of the changes that surprises me is most people's inability to DO stuff.

When I was a kid, it was expected that one would be able to sew- at least enough to replace a button or mend a seam. I was taught to cook and clean, but also to knit and crochet. I could catch a fish, clean that fish, and turn it into supper. These weren't considered to be "special skills", they were considered to be necessary to LIFE... as necessary as breathing.

At one time, I had at least a 50/50 shot at fixing my car if I broke down. Today, the only thing I am able to reasonably do is put gas in it. The shade tree mechanic has become extinct as vehicles have become less mechanical and more computer.

As far as television goes, I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who is baffled by "reality" shows. I have hundreds of channels available at any time of the day or night... and watch a total of two programs with any regularity- Mythbusters and The Big Bang Theory. They can keep the rest.

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Do stuff?

by LocoLobo In reply to Changes that don't make s ...

Yeh. I know. But heaven forbid you just do stuff. You're supposed to call a professional to do it. I quit doing most of my auto repairs when I found a "simple" job, replacing the thermostat, took me 4 hours.

It irks me to. Instead of teaching kids to become competent we teach them to call somebody. Of course that's just my perception. Of course you can still do most of your own work, but you have to spend hours researching sometimes to figure out how to do a 15 min job.

BTW all those skills you were taught I was too, except sewing and knitting. That was my fault. My Mom tried but, "I'm not doing that!" Wish I had tho.

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Oh dear. I feel a soapbox moment coming on.

by Tigger_Two In reply to Do stuff?

The idea that no longer being self sufficient is good bugs the mess out of me. I understand that things change and all that, but the assumption that one shouldn't TRY- is foolish to try, even- bugs the mess out of me.

Back in my support days, I encouraged end users to at least check the basics before yelling for help. To me, this seemed reasonable. Help Desk was going to ask them if they did these things, might as well do them BEFORE placing the call.

I had a guy who had moved into the UNIX team from Help Desk. As I was heading for my desk one morning, he stopped me to tell me that he couldn't get to the network. I asked him if he had done the basics- reseat the cables at the plug points being step one. He assured me that he had.

I reached around the back of the machine and picked up the network cable... not plugged in. He had the grace to look quite ashamed of himself.

Not being able to do many things for myself is something I find VERY irritating. I own a tire gauge and know how to use it, but have to take the truck to Ford if the tire pressure light comes on. I am physically unable to check the pressure in the tires and physically unable to add air as needed.

The same is both true, and not true of changing a tail light. I can physically do the work but am unable to figure out how to remove the housing in order to change the bulb. I never used to have that problem. The fix- replace a $0.69 bulb- cost me $60 to accomplish.

*sigh*

One of the most difficult things I have dealt with since hubby died is "call someone". When my washer decided that it was time to die, I spent an hour or two trying to troubleshoot the problem, and another hour or two trying to figure out WHO one calls about a broken washer. Hubby took care of that stuff.

I can teach you the basics of sewing and knitting. I may have had a slight advantage- I am one of five daughters. Mom insisted that we be able to do the sewing and knitting stuff, Dad taught us to fish... and to clean the fish we caught.

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Grrrrr.....

by cmiller5400 In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

This is the second time I'm posting this...

Just the other day a friend and I were speaking about technology and its impact on us. It's quite frightful that when you go into a store and a teenaged kid types in the wrong amount into the register, and it gives them an absurd amount of change due, they just stare at the cash register like a deer in headlights. They have no concept of a simple task as making change.

After working for 8-9 hours on computers at work, I go home and avoid my computer like the plague. People are often surprised that I'm not on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn etc... They constantly say, "well you are a geek so you must be on those sites." Ummm, No. Another client asked me if I had an iPhone. I said I have a simple 5 year old phone that I use for calling and the occasional text. That's it. I don't need access to the web or any other thing that it may offer. I have a GPS in my car that I love, but I still carry my trusty Rand McNally in the trunk. Call me cheap but I already pay $45 for internet at home and I'm not going to pay an additional $15 - $30 for access on my phone.

Another thing my friend and I pondered was what would happen if the electrical grid went down due to a solar flare/storm and it was down for weeks, months or years. Could you survive? I think I could. Every summer I use to go to Maine with my Uncle before he passed away and we would spend 2 weeks without phones, power, and cell reception at his "Man Cave" (no bathrooms either. A port-a-potty in the garage or a tree were your choices ). Now that's roughing it. Nothing like sitting down to a campfire with good company and telling stories. I loved hearing my Uncle tell me about when he was in the Army during the Vietnam era and his travels across Europe.

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Roughing it

by Tigger_Two In reply to Sometimes change isn't an ...

Hubby and I went camping every fall. He would go up and irritate the local grouse while I read (yes, a book with PAGES!) in the truck. About an hour before sundown we would pull into a camp area and put up the tent, make fire, grill a steak, and have a martini. There was generally an outhouse somewhere, but it was so darned COLD that a downwind tree was often the better choice.

We'd wander back to civilization after a few days- him with greying stubble that reminded him yet again why he refused to grow a beard, and both of us in need of a shower and wearing blaze orange. We loved it.

Up there, our phones didn't work and we didn't miss them. The computers stayed home and we didn't miss them either. The GPS wasn't optional- we had two. One lived in the truck, the other was a handheld that he insisted I carry on the theory that I would be able to find my way back to the truck should I get lost. Nice theory, but I never went further than the sound of his voice. I can get lost in my BATHROOM.

I have the smallest plan for my iPhone that is reasonably available. The rationale for the phone was that it cut the number of devices I carry by one. With it, I no longer need a PDA. I find that I use it- or USED it quite a lot. The iPad is easier on my aging eyes as well as my aging back. Both tools are handy to have when the GPS decides to go bonkers. All the technology in the world can't keep me from getting lost on a regular basis and I don't have the option of staying close to hubby any more.

Those chilly evenings by the campfire enjoying a martini and listening to the silence of the trees were some of the best in my life.

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