Gadgets


Now I can see the garden and the birds.

As old as I am, I like electronic gadgets. I’m probably as bad as the young boys that I coach except they are light years ahead of me when it comes to understanding these modern-day tools and I don’t use computers to play games. I was lucky that the past 20 years of my working life, I had a job that required the constant use of computers. We started with Mac’s but eventually switched to PC’s only because the Mac didn’t have the right software for the job. At one time, I had both of them on my desk at the same time with some programs on one and some on the other. What a pain.

Current office setup-note the cats

In my private life, I have spent the past 20 or so years as a Soccer Consultant in which role I helped the local Soccer Associations run their leagues. This was all computer work so my skills continued to improve as years went by. When computers were evolving and it was necessary to keep adding on or changing parts,  I even ” got under the hood” and learned quite a bit about how computers work. My current office set up is two PC’s and three screens with three different printers. The screens are set up so that all three can be used by one or the other of the computers at the same time. It’s pretty slick.

Needless to say, I have outgrown that system. Maybe that is not really true as what has happened is that the way I do things has streamlined so much that now I sit in my kitchen and work with a laptop. I get to look at the yard out of the picture window and watch the birds and see the ponds and the lush vegetation. Times have changed with the advent of the web and much of my work is web-based and I just don’t need an elaborate set up with a lot of different software anymore. I have a home network and all of the printers are hooked to it which really makes life much simpler. Heck, I even get a lot more exercise as I traipse back and forth between laptop and printer. Of course, when things don’t go well or the network is down, then the frustration level goes up. Sometimes, I hate computers…

The reason that I started this blog is that gadgets and human mental frailties go hand in hand. Men are like an older version of their son’s when it comes to gadgets and even though I don’t have any young people living with me (unless you count Richie), I still fit the bill when it comes to gadgets. I wonder if it is the inherent inquisitiveness of youth as they grow up that is the reason for it in young kids or is it the passing down of that same value from Father to Son (or Daughter)? But, that’s a different discussion.

What I am talking about is the iPad version 2. I managed to fight off all of the impulses to rush out and buy version 1 when it came out telling myself that I just don’t need another computer. Heck, I had no trouble convincing myself that I needed one of the small Acer 9 inch screens (or whatever size they are) telling myself that it was small enough to be really portable but along with the portability came the problem of accessibility to the web. So, I went out a signed up for one of those things that plug into a USB port and gives you access to the web for a small price of $60 a month. Turns out that as well as it worked, I just didn’t need that small portable computer and web accessibility as much as I thought I would as circumstances changed. I ended up paying good money to turn the USB gadget back in which was cheaper than seeing out the 2 year contract. How stupid can I be. Don’t  answer that…

So back to the iPad. I have a couple of friends that really love their iPad and told me so in glowing terms. I should never have asked them for their opinions as all they did was to add gasoline to an already roaring fire and my need to satisfy this overwhelming urge was greater than all or any commonsense arguments that I could muster. Then, I got an e-mail from American Express telling me that I had nearly 100,000 points and why not redeem them on something, anything. I had collected these points up over a 32 year span as I became a member in 1979 and quite honestly, could not think of anything else to redeem them on. I could have left them in place to gather the proverbial dust but as time is marching forward at a rapid pace in my life, I thought, “What the hell, let’s do it”. Points are no good to anyone if you are dead. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun actually buying the thing on-line and then waiting in anticipation for UPS in the little Brown Van to deliver it. It only took 3 days from ordering to having it in my hands.

The reason for the story…

Bottom line, I am now the proud possessor of an iPad 2. Yes, I have one more gadget to add to my collection. Hopefully, this one will not collect dust and will get used a lot more than the 9 inch Acer computer. Like all gadgets, it doesn’t end with just buying the iPad. First, I had to get AT&T to authorise the ability to receive e-mails and the web. Not free but a lot cheaper than the USB gadget. Then it really needed a case because it is so thin and smooth, that I know I’ll drop the bloody thing unless I put a cover on it. I spent literally hours in Best Buy looking at the large collection that they have before picking one out that I thought would be perfect. This came complete with a Blue Tooth keyboard and it worked great. Trouble was, it was clunky and was turning my iPad into a small size portable computer (sound familiar) and hard to manage so back to Best Buy to exchange if for a smaller, lighter one. I am writing some of this blog on the iPad 2 except that now, I have just lost the blog somewhere and have had to resort back to the laptop in order to continue. Wonder where it went?

Have I told you about all of the tools and garden gadgets I have purchased over the years? No, well then, that’s another story…

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