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Saturday, February 12, 2011


I sometimes get frustrated with modern technology and electronics. ( I have a brand new Mp3 player that has nothing on it. I bought it last summer so I could use it while the family was doing other things and I was on my computer. I haven’t a clue how to load it. Notah was going to help me. SETH volunteered. Hmmm. Yeah. He’s eleven. But then we got involved in moving and we never got it done.)
But this morning I turned on the weather to see what the temp was and what the day had in store. Then I stopped griping for a bit. I watched as the man explained the giant map behind him. There was a band of clouds (indicating cold weather) across southern Canada and a little bit of the US. There was another band across the middle part of the country that was indicated as ‘mild.’ And finally from about southern Colorado and northern Arizona/NM on south it was positively ‘warm!’ It was neat. From one side of the country to the other were these wide bands of weather. And it probably will be the way he said.
We used to joke about the weatherman, but anymore the weather forecasters are pretty much spot-on. The cold that they forecast usually does show up. The coming snow or rain usually does arrive within a few hours of when they call for it. The amount may vary, but I won’t quibble over that. I mean, how can they tell how many inches of snow those clouds will ‘decide’ to drop on Columbus?
There is a channel on my TV cable called Weather On Demand. I have it programmed to show the current temperatures and weather, as well as the forecasts, in Westerville, Belen, Wilmot and Gallup. The four places in this world where the people I love live. It is amazing to me. I can only wonder what my old Pappy would say about it.
And then I love my cell phone. It enables me to talk with Notah almost every morning of the week as he drives to work. I grew up and lived most of my life in the days of long distance charges. Anyone older than 35 probably remembers when we had to be careful how long we talked to someone in a city 50 miles away because there was an extra charge for each minute of conversation beyond the first three. And talking to someone on the other side of the country cost two arms and a leg for just those three minutes. So we never called to simply chat. A long distance call was made for important events only.
NOW I spend 30 to 40 minutes every morning taking with Notah about everyday happenings and what’s going on in the southwest. It’s seldom anything very important, just the kind of conversation a family might have over breakfast or dinner when everyone gathers and shares their day with one another. My heart sometimes aches for Grandma Howe and other mothers who raised their children and sent them out into the world not to hear their voices for months sometimes years. How much their hearts must have yearned to talk with them!
My brother in law has been sick this last week. Notah gave Helen his home cell phone so she could keep in touch with him and her kids even while she was in the hospital with Leonard. I consider myself as being pretty current with life in the 21st century, but my mind boggles sometimes.
And then let’s talk about this neat ‘app’ on my word processing program that allows me to check spelling, look for synonyms and antonyms for words, check my grammar and even look up the meanings of words in several different dictionaries. How astonishing is that!  There’s even a button to click to give me a language translation! Gone is the need for a dictionary or thesaurus. Gone is the need for a grammar handbook. Almost gone is the need to proofread for spelling, although the application does tend to skip over things like plane and plain or red and read; BUT even those sometimes have a line of little red dots under them if it doesn’t make sense in the sentence!! This computer is smarter than most people!
I have to say that no matter how much I crab about my wonderful little laptop (Oh yes, I have to mention that, too), no matter how much I complain when my laptop freezes up or contracts a virus, I freely admit that the technology that produced it is so far beyond my comprehension it is like Gabriel trying to understand how his bits of dog food drop from our fingers. He has no idea how it happens he only knows that it does. That’s the way I am with my computer.
I’m of the generation that can remember simple computers filling rooms. The vast machines had ranks of blinking lights that conveyed information only to the most informed. There was a special 'language' that was used to transfer information to them.  The next step was when a computer was reduced to the size of a kitchen table, but you still had to speak the 'language.' Then it jumped to a rather cumbersome system that sat on the table. Finally it was broken into component parts called ‘the monitor,’ the ‘keyboard,’ and the working part that I always called a ‘PC’ even though I know that means ‘personal computer.’ I don’t know what that box with the mother board and all the other stuff in it is called. This one was usable by the informed secretary or writer because some guy had created a program called 'Windows' that made it simple to work with. And now, now I can sit here with my knees propped on my recliner foot rest holding my little laptop on a little base in front of me. And this laptop isn’t even particularly small, slim or light weight. I've seen some advertized which are smaller than the regular 8 X 10 notebook kids use for homework.
More later.  My fingers have worked too hard on this keyboard.  When-oh-when will I be able to just talk and have the words appear on my screen....yeah, I know, I've seen a basic one advertized...wow.

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