Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Triumph over Technology

As most of you probably know by now, I am not the most technologically savvy person on the planet. Heck, I didn't even start using email until 2001! And now my kids inform me that email is for dinosaurs. It's all about Facebook chatting and text messaging now. Figures! Anyway, I've had a couple of a real technological triumphs recently and I'm beginning to feel empowered!

My first victory occurred right before Christmas when I successfully downloaded my library system's Overdrive software to my computer so that I can load eBooks onto an iPod! I was able to follow the instructions provided by the library's instructional brochure. No big deal, right? Well, this brochure included terms such as: "conversion software", "downloading the installation file" and the dreaded "the downloading process itself is a little different on every computer". What??? How the heck am I supposed to do it, if the instructions may not be valid for my computer? But, I took a deep breath and forged ahead. And it worked!!! This is HUGE! I was then able to download a book without any problems! The only problem is that it put the book in my iTunes account (which I was not expecting). I want to listen on my daughter's iPod and when I tried to put the book on her iPod I got all kinds of scary messages about losing iTunes playlists and overwriting data - or some such scary language. So I gave up in defeat. So close! I may have won one battle, but I've yet to conquer the war. I'm working on it. I think my next step is to buy myself an iPod and hope my computer will recognize it (since my iTunes is already synced -am I using the right vocabulary here?- to an iPod Shuffle, which I don't want to use for listening to books). Why does this all have to be so complicated? Or is it just complicated to me? Don't answer that!

My next big victory was Sunday night. I was preparing for a Monday morning trip to Boston to view the new Art of the Americas wing at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) with my friend Kristen. Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will remember I do not have good luck when it comes to driving in Boston. Remember my GPS fiasco and my impression of a rat in a maze. Not pretty, right? Well since then, I have managed to use the GPS a few times with rousing success. I decided to throw caution to the wind and use it yesterday as I once more entered the maze that is Boston in search of cheese the MFA (of course I still had two different sets of written directions as a back up. And for the record, the GPS was sending me yet another way. Oy vey!). But (there's always a "but" isn't there?), my GPS is from 2008 and has not been updated. I figured that if I'm going to use it in a city as confusing and possibly as changeable as Boston, I should update the maps. Good luck with that! This is something I had tried to do one time before when the GPS kindly informed me that it was time to update. It even helpfully provided me with a web address. The problem was it asked for all kinds of information that I didn't have - like what model GPS I have and some special cord to connect my GPS to my computer. What? Can't this be done remotely? After spending nearly an hour trying to navigate the web page, I gave up. But not this time! I still couldn't find the manual that would tell what model I have, but I did find the fancy cord (that's a triumph in and of itself). And when I connected the GPS and computer with the magical cord, low and behold, the computer could tell what model I had. As I continued I got all kinds of information about downloading software and attaching this and that to the other and after sweating it out for another hour (or possible more) it worked!!! And I felt empowered!

The biggest test though was yesterday when I decided to put my trust in a machine and let it guide me to the MFA. I decided to go against my better judgement and blindly follow it's instructions (even though deep in my heart I know I'm smarter than a mere machine). And guess what? It got me there. And even when I made a mistake on the ride home, it "recalculated" and managed to get me right to my door. Maybe I'm not giving that machine enough credit!

And by the way, for anyone who might live close to Boston, the new Art of the Americas wing is fabulous. It's very unique as far as art installations go and I loved it. I saw some gorgeous paintings in some very unique galleries. I recommend taking one of the hour long tours or using the audio guide. You won't be disappointed.


Janie B said...

Technology scares me to death. I want to understand it so badly, but the language is totally Greek to me. Good for you!

Katherine said...

I'm joining the group of technology scares me. Although I do know what a widget, sync, and vlog all are, so I guess I'm going okay.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Good on ya! It plumb wore me out just hearing about all that technological stuff. Alas, it's true. You're no where these days without technology and kids are too impatient to teach you. It's all about experimentation or the manual. Regarding the ipod-I have done the same thing and it's not so bad having it go onto your Mac. You can then go into itunes and listen to it out loud right off your computer and not have to use the ipod. That's not right, is it? Oh well, that's the way it worked for me and I was happy. I actually felt empowered just to download a book! I'm easily amused.

Sue Jackson said...


I'm no tech expert, either, though I usually get along OK.

Have you tried Family Sharing on iTunes? It allows you to share stuff (including audio books!) between different people's iTunes and iPods in your family, within your home network.

Personally, I don't trust GPSs! I prefer to rely on old-fashioned maps. Glad you enjoyed your trip.


Darlene said...

I am no where near being a technology expert! I'm just now getting good at downloading pictures onto my computer! I do love the GPS though. It has saved me lots of frustration many a time!

Terra said...

Technology, ever changing, making it hard to keep up...especially for us "older" folks...the kids to seem go with the flow much better than I. I don't like GPS and have avoided it like the plague....so far.

Anita said...

I love my GPS, I also admit to being good with maps and directions. I haven't tried to do anything like find books for my Kindle beyond Amazon, or download audio books to my iPhone.
I'm very impressed with your success...keep going woman!!

Karen Peterson said...

I'm not afraid of technology. I've learned that there are very few things I can do that will ACTUALLY break anything. I might get stuck and not know what to do, but there's always a way out.

The only reason I know how to do most of the stuff I do is through plain old trial and error.

Congratulations on your triumphs! Next stop: networking your home computers and printers! ;-)

Jen said...

I blogged about technology as well today. I'm getting better! But I'm still not fully embracing it all. I will say that I do love my Kindle. I wonder if I can use the ebooks at the libray on that? I should dig into that!


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