Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

The Machine June 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:28 am
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When do modern conveniences become modern inconveniences? I just spent the last 20 minutes syncing my online calendar to my old-fashioned appointment book when I really had intended to spend that time writing my blog. But this morning, realizing that the calendar in my phone (which is synchronized to my online calendar) was not correct, it dawned on me that I better straighten that out before I inadvertently create a schedule conflict. This makes sense to me because I always have my phone with me, where my appointment book is a little big to lug around. Nonetheless, I was talking to someone yesterday about how much time we spend updating, synchronizing, upgrading, servicing and troubleshooting all of these little helpers and it really got me to wondering – is this really helpful?

When I was young and my parents got their first digital clock, they needed me to set it for them every time they wanted to change the alarm. It seems incredibly simple to me now (it did then too) but for some reason they just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. In retrospect, maybe they were just trying to disperse their “to do items” and pretending they didn’t understand the technology was their way of doing that. I don’t have to pretend that I don’t understand half of the machines and functions of my modern gizmos, I honestly am at the mercy of the technical support systems that the various manufacturers have set-up for people like me. Just yesterday I needed to call on their assistance to help me fix a sudden problem with my email which prevented me from being able to send out any messages. It was a quick fix for the friendly, young man on the other end of the phone, but it took another half an hour out of my day – as I waited on hold listening to music and watching the clock.

Don’t get me wrong – I actually love all these gadgets, I happen to think they are pretty great, but when you get to the point when your dependency on them exceeds your ability to operate and maintain them independently – you have to wonder if they are serving their intended purpose in the best possible way. It takes a lot of time and energy and money to keep up these days. I do buy into the idea that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages; there are many ways technology does indeed make our lives easier. But I guess I am still working with mastering the machine, afterall “they are supposed to serve me” aren’t they? (I sure hope I don’t have that backwards!)

 

It’s So Simple – I Missed It! March 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:45 am
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This past weekend was, here in New England the first real taste of spring. The temperatures rose into the mid-50’s and after what feels like an eternity the sun shone bright in the beautiful blue sky. The sounds of hammers and children’s laughter peppered the air as the warmth-starved inhabitants found reason to get themselves out into the day. It seemed everyone was outside – except me. Despite my great intentions to take a long walk and enjoy the outdoors yesterday, I was (for the most part) in my house doing “chores”. Actually, there was one particular chore which ate up the bulk of my hours – setting up a new desktop computer for my kids (and myself).

After allowing myself to sleep in a bit I went up to my third floor with full intention of “conquering the beast”; coffee, eyeglasses and flashlight in hand. I figured at worst I would spend a couple of hours getting the new machine configured and linked in with the new printer and then I would be able to go play for a little bit before returning home to finish the more mundane weekly tasks that also crowded my list. But it just didn’t pan out that way. Despite my best efforts, and some minor successes, I descended hours later defeated by the technology that is supposed to make my life run more easily. As I struggled to understand the cryptic instructions – hopeful that if I tried just one more time I would be successful – I pondered the irony of the task I was tangled in.

Computers are no doubt an excellent tool to allow us to do a myriad of things in our lives, like write this blog for instance. They certainly have the ability to make our lives easier but in so many ways they do quite the opposite. Whether it’s struggling to install new software, weeding through virtual junk emails or waiting endlessly on hold for technical support, they can be major time-suckers – and what is meant to be simple is often rather complicated. Now, don’t get me wrong here – I have most certainly bought into the computer age – hook, line, and sinker. I love my computer – if “love” can be used in this context – but sometimes the promise of the ease it will offer doesn’t outweigh the simple alternatives for the use of my time.

By evening, I certainly wished that I had mapped out my day a little differently. Given that the reward of completion with regard to getting the computer set-up eluded me, I wished I had given up earlier and gotten myself outside more. The promise of simple had outweighed one of the simplest things of all, a walk in the warm air. Next time I am faced with a similar choice – I will choose the simple, renewing path – the chores and tasks and technology aren’t going anywhere, they will be here to frustrate me for many years to come and the first days of spring are never meant to be ignored.