Connected

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September 24, 2019 by phicks2012

In this day and age everything is becoming “Connected” except possibly human beings.

We rely upon the internet, computers, and smart technology in a way that used to smack of Science Fiction, while at the same time too often sacrificing face-to-face interaction with other people. I’m trying to strike a balance, but it isn’t easy.

I love the convenience of my smart phone. I’m never out-of-touch with help if I run out of gas or have other car issues that would otherwise (and formerly) have had me hiking along stretches of isolated (or busy, or otherwise dangerous) road in inclement weather to find a gas station or a payphone — and because it has GPS I no longer have to rely upon separate GPS units that cost a bundle to update, or upon the really old-school option of stockpiling road maps to get me where I want to go — like to SCA events when the printed directions aren’t the best. 😉

I also love the convenience of voice activation (for me a recent development with a phone upgrade) because it allows me to tell my phone to navigate to unfamiliar locations, give me weather reports, send texts, and make phone calls, and find out the scores of college football games. It also allows me to ask SIRI impertinent questions even while I’m driving. Okay, assuming that SIRI can understand me.

On the other hand, I never (or virtually never) watch streaming videos on my phone, because I have no interest in squinting at a tiny screen that I pretty much have to hold in my hand. I don’t use my phone (if I can avoid it) to surf the internet or play games either. I use my home computer, monitor, and flat screen for those things, and happily so. Big screen and HD. Think about it.

I rarely get or check email on my phone either, because I tend to be “wordy” and really don’t like typing on a minuscule keyboard. Size does matter. 😉

I like being able to chat via Facebook Messenger (if the person is available and on-line), or Skype — or Text (if he or she isn’t presently connected or available), or to call friends when I’m away from home, but I prefer talking to them in person. That’s right. Face-to-face, and it bugs me when people fiddle with their smart phones and send texts during live conversations! Unless it’s an emergency call/message/text — well, let it wait.

I like being able to send mail electronically via email, because it’s instant, free (no stamps needed), and is less likely to go astray. I pay all of my bills on-line if that option is available, because I get an instant receipt, and companies (like Progressive Insurance) can’t claim they didn’t receive the payment until after the due date and get my license suspended even though I mailed the payment two weeks early. Yeah, I do hold grudges. 😉

I DON’T like getting hundreds of junk emails (SPAM) every day from scammers, would-be extortionists, and people selling drugs I have absolutely no use for. Viagra and male enhancement products? Give me a break! I also do not like having nuisance phone calls reach me even when I’m away from home (and am on the National Do Not Call List).

Another thing I really like is being able to tell my TV to go to certain channels or shows via remote (rather than going on epic quests through the +900 channel guide). That’s a time-saver, but I do not need to “talk” to my appliances. Recently I replaced a counter-top microwave oven only to discover to my shock that many of its functions would not work (at all) without ALEXA. I returned it. I am perfectly capable of getting off my ass and pressing a few buttons, thank you very much, and (until I can instruct a trashcan to self-sort garbage and recyclables and teleport them to a landfill or recycling center) I simply do not need that convenience.

I like being able to say “Hey SIRI, add a dozen eggs to my shopping list” if the need occurs to me when I’m driving down the road, and having it done, and I like having a convenient app on the phone that allows me to scan and find out how many Weight Watchers points are in a product BEFORE I buy it in the grocery store based upon the fact that the label reads “Fat-Free” or “Sugar-Free” or “Low Calorie”. I like being able to say “Hey SIRI, what time is my doctor’s appointment”, but sort of hate the fact that SIRI cannot seem to figure our how my doctor’s name is pronounced if I use it in the inquiry or the appointment notation.

As I said before, I never game on my phone. For that I want a big screen and a comfy chair, and the same holds true for watching TV and sporting events. For sports I want, in fact, the biggest honking screen I can get, with High-definition picture and audio you don’t need earphones or earbuds to hear and understand. I want to feel (as much as possible) as though I were THERE and not watching from a high-flying blimp.

I rarely Tweet, generally could care less what other people (especially politicians) Tweet, and I am not influenced by so-called “Internet Influencers”. I like having my phone double as a camera when I don’t have a “real camera” available, but I do not take selfies everywhere I go, photograph my food, or share everything I’m asked to share. In fact, if someone tries to “shame” me into sharing (the old “If you’re a real friend/good person/moral human being/not the Antichrist you will share this” trick) I will balk. If they try that, I’ll absolutely NEVER share it.

But — funny thing — while I can do all of those things (the positive ones, not the negative) on my phone almost anywhere, until recently the signal strength of my home router/modem has long been such that I could not use a wireless computer or other device in the basement, attic, or in my own bedroom. Those devices just could not connect to the WIFI network, so forget using my laptop or Kindle Fire other than in my office — where I already had my desktop system and thus did not really NEED those devices. My housemates could connect, because their rooms were and are closer to the router, but not ME — and I somehow figured that the Lady of the Manor ought to be able to enjoy the same conveniences as the Vassals. Thank you very much!!

A new, upgraded router/modem was recently supposed to have fixed that, but didn’t. BIG shock! When I complained, I was told by Comcast that I should purchase their available “Pods WIFI Extenders” (a set of three for around $100 + tax), to amplify the signal and extend it throughout the house, but when I finally decided to bite the bullet and went to their store to buy these I was told (after considerable confusion and miscommunication) that while they would work/sync with my new router they still would not “work” as I needed them to unless I also upgraded my internet package to a higher level. That would have cost me about $40-$50 more per month, and because I simply couldn’t justify/afford the increase I threw my hands up in the air and finally just left without the pods.

But luckily, for once, I had purchased (some 2 years previously) a relatively inexpensive Trendnet WIFI extender from my local computer store. It hadn’t worked at the time because the WIFI signal from my old router was not strong enough. I couldn’t position it close enough to the router to amplify the signal and still have it close enough to my bedroom to function, but the other day I decided to take a chance and dug it out again.

As fate would finally have it, I actually was able to sync it with my new router, and because the new router had a stronger signal I could plug it in further away and still have it communicate. It actually WORKED this time around. No need for either $100+tax pods or a $40-$50 per month internet upgrade, Thank God!!!

I now can connect to the internet (via computer or other portable device) just about anywhere in my house except maybe the attic (I haven’t checked on that yet, but I probably can). I also now can upgrade my phone apps (that requires a WIFI connection), and have a few more safe feline-free zones to put my laptop ON my lap without having a demanding cat (that would be YOU, Thiam) jumping constantly up onto the keyboard.

So, in the final analysis, I like being connected, as long as the connections actually work and don’t become intrusive — like SIRI telling me “Sorry, but I can’t do that while you’re driving” — pushy bitch! I like being able to connect anywhere, but don’t expect me to be available 24/7, okay? Sometimes I just don’t want to be available — maybe because I’m having way to much fun hanging around with flesh and blood human beings. 😉

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phicks2012

phicks2012

I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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