November 5, 2013 – Day 097
Two stories that are a little less about Thailand, a little more about me, and a great deal about technology.
Making the Connection
Before our trio of children embark for school, I ask them what their plans are after their hours of education are over. For this Tuesday, I knew the after-school plans of all our children.
At least, I thought I knew.
Our oldest came home right after school and our youngest arrived right after her art activity. Our middle child (and youngest son) who was not yet home was soon entering “tardy” territory. Once past that line, I picked up the phone and called his cell to find out where he was. My only telephonic response was a recorded message informing that it was impossible (their words, not mine) for the party I was calling to receive my call.
Translation: My son’s phone was turned off which is the second-least helpful state for a communications device to be in when trying to receive a call. The least helpful state is this.
Repeatedly calling my son’s number did not change the situation. His phone was still off and I still had no idea where he was. Calls to the houses of my son’s friends were also of no help. I was running out of options before I went to the metaphoric PANIC button.
Digression: Before I turned thirty, I embraced almost every form of technology that came down the digital pipeline. I had a computer in high school (circa mid-1980s) that even had a dot matrix printer. In college (late 80s), I had an online presence (okay, it was with Prodigy, but it was still online). I missed the whole explosion with CDs, but even the best hitters strike out. At some point, I fell off the tech bandwagon and my shining beacon for this disconnect is the fact that I did not have a Facebook account until last month.
The last option I tried to find my son in the haystack that is the community we live in was for me to log on to Facebook and see if my son was online.
Since I am new to the blue-and-white world that Zuckerberg built, it took me a while to find the “Chat” window and functionality within Facebook. Lucky for me (and for my son) his circle was green and we were able to communicate. He was at the school finishing up his homework and that was when I recalled he indeed did tell what he would be doing when we chatted this morning.
Ain’t technology grand.
Missed the Program
The previous story shows how far I have come in embracing certain technologies and how that tech has helped me. What follows shows how far I still have to go.
Tonight, my oldest son and I attended a banquet at his school to honor the sports teams that have played since the start of the year (soccer, volleyball, and cross country). At events like these where there are speakers and awards to pass out, there is usually a program. However, at this event, instead of a program, there were pieces of paper on every table directing people to point their browser to a certain URL to view tonight’s program. Alternately, tech-savvy attendees could scan a QR code to view the program. These directions were only helpful for those people who have smartphones. I am not one of those people. My phone only does three things: it makes calls, it receives calls, and it is a calculator. Reading QR codes and navigating URLs are not in my phone’s CV.
My Flintstone-era phone shows how far I still have to go to reach (tech-wise) the second decade of the twenty-first century. It also meant that I was unable to know what was on tap for tonight’s proceeding.
The irony (to me) about placing the program in the cloud was that it was probably done to save trees. However, the organizers had to print out paper to let people know that the program was online.
Of course, my irony is cancelled out (and once again only shows the miles I have to go to understand the new tech landscape) if the program would have been longer than one page.