Saturday, January 21, 2012

He Said/She Said: Technology

2011-10-11 14.59.18

Technology.  Our house is literally full of it.  I would estimate the amount of wires in our house in terms of miles, not feet.  Of course, I am not known for my estimating skills.  Still - its A LOT.  I tend not to give the backbone of technology in our house much thought though.  From my perspective, I simply press a key and get instantaneous access to just about anything.  Of course, if instantaneous access does not occur within 1.2 seconds, I sound the alarm and tell Troy that the world is going to end.  A friend of mine directed me to this clip that soundly puts this expectation into perspective:

Point well taken.  Next time, I will wait 2.5 seconds before getting in a huff.

I thought it would be interesting to compare my and Troy’s perspective on technology and how it works in our house.  Below, we have each listed: (1) the top five benefits of technology, (2) the top five downsides of technology, (3) how technology impacts our house, and (4) what we contemplate changing about our current technology usage.

He Said - The Top Five Benefits:

  1. The ability to access information anytime and anywhere. This is most important when I’m watching a movie and need to know who that “one guy” is and can find out he was in that “one episode of that one show.”
  2. It makes me laugh. I've probably spent countless hours repeatedly watching the Grape Stomp Woman.
  3. Allows me to ignore things. When I’m walking through the mall and someone wants me to sign a petition, I can just pretend like I’m talking on my cellphone. Brilliant.
  4. Lets people know how funny I am. Did you know I have a Twitter account (shameless plug)? I’m sure it will be good for plenty hilarious comments from me, in 180 characters or less.
  5. To be a bit serious, one real benefit is the interactions we are now able to make with others. I’m specifically thinking of things like finding out about Madelyn’s friend from China (Travis), something that would have been near-impossible in the pre-social networking era.

She Said – The Top Five Benefits:

  1. I can find pretty much any information I want.  Looks like Troy and I are in agreement on this benefit.  I will admit, I sometimes treat Troy like my own personal Google and ask him to look up something for me.  This does not necessarily stem from laziness, but rather the fact that my work is extremely research-intensive and finding a pancake recipe does not necessarily require the “uncover every stone” approach I might inadvertently apply.  Troy would have the pancakes made and on the table before I decided on “the best” recipe after comparing ingredients, reading reviews and so on.
  2. I can work from home via technology that connects me to my office.  I will forever be grateful to technology for this fact.  My week days at home with Madelyn are my most favorite days of the week.
  3. I can easily connect with my non-local friends.  I was REALLY late to the whole Facebook culture (I finally opened an account last year).  I have no idea why I waited so long because I now love the fact that I can easily connect with friends who I have not seen in a long while.  Hi Amber and Jackie!
  4. I can fit the equivalent of a library in my purse.  Where oh where were the Nooks and Kindles when I was a child trying to pack all of my books to take on vacation?  My back and shoulders have serious wear and tear from all of the books I used to carry in my backpack.
  5. I can make some pretty cool to-do lists.  I have spreadsheets, Google docs, pins, and bookmark systems for just about everything!  You should see our budget spreadsheet – it is a work of art if I don’t say so myself!

He Said – The Top Five Downsides:

  1. It has overtaken many personal interactions. It’s so much easier for me to email someone than talk to them. The ultimate example would be Facebook messaging your wife when she is sitting right next to you.
  2. If you know a lot about or work with computers, you will certainly be asked about computers and other tech things a lot. I’ve learned to be okay with that and wear it as a badge of honor.
  3. I’m not the paranoid type, but there is certainly the fear of “big brother is watching” that has come with all of our newfound technology. I’ve come to terms with all of my info being easily available, should someone want it, but it has opened up a whole new can of worms in regards to loss of privacy.
  4. Money and the never-ending battle to keep up with technology. I am far from an early adopter, yet I still manage to find a way to spend a lot of money every year on some new technology or home theater item. I have convinced myself I do NOT need 3-D TV, though.
  5. Sentient robots. If TV has taught me anything, it’s that eventually robots will turn on us and either nuke us or kill us with poisonous gases.

She Said – The Top Five Downsides:

  1. The mass amount of information available online is an overload for my perfectionist personality.  I shudder to think of all of the time I have wasted trying to find the perfect answer or the perfect deal, when the first thing I came across probably would have been good enough.
  2. I am always "plugged in" to the office, to social networks, etc.  I have yet to find the appropriate balance of unplugging and not stressing about what is happening while I am unplugged.
  3. I get headaches from staring at a screen all day.  Apparently I also get funny hair – I think I subconsciously run my fingers through my hair while processing information.  Troy can always correctly guess if I have been researching for a brief or contract just by looking at my hair when I get home from work...
  4. Stress when my computer/phone combo does not work correctly.  While I know that the world won’t end if I can’t access my email for a while, I can’t shake the feeling that it MIGHT end.
  5. I have too many cool to-do lists that I will never entirely accomplish.

He Said – How Technology Impacts Our House:

I’ll simply give a listing of the computers in our house to answer this question…

  1. My laptop;
  2. Tricia’s netbook;
  3. Desktop computer in the office;
  4. An iMac in the office for Madelyn (courtesy of Grandpa);
  5. Unraid server with 4 TB of space that houses all of our files and media;
  6. Home theater PC for the main floor with Xbox Media Center;
  7. Home theater PC in the basement;
  8. Emulation computer for my arcade machine;
  9. 2 Ipods;
  10. PSP;
  11. Blu-ray player;
  12. 2 DVD players;
  13. Portable DVD player;
  14. My BlackBerry; and
  15. Tricia’s Android phone.

She Said – How Technology Impacts Our House:

  1. Well, my original answer to this question demonstrates how little I really do know about the technology in our house – I thought we only had 6 computer devices!
  2. Madelyn already knows how to reset a router.
  3. I NEVER know how to use our television because Troy has always rerouted it through different (supposedly new and improved) computer devices and programs.

He Said – How We Might Change Technology Usage In Our Home:

  1. Just one thing for me -- I am going to prepare an instruction manual so Tricia can watch TV and movies and listen to music without needing my help.  And then I will promptly change everything again.

She Said – How We Might Change Technology Usage In Our Home:

  1. Mandatory curfew.  Most of my Internet time is while Madelyn sleeps – which means it also cuts into my sleep time.  A few too many people are starting to comment about how tired I always look.  Goodnight ipad!
  2. More time without electronics.  I'm already pretty intentional about this with Madelyn – we spend hours reading paper-version books and going to the library.  I just need to be more intentional with myself.
  3. Learn how to be satisfied with good-enough.  I don’t have to find every single piece of information about speed-cleaning a bathroom or organizing a pantry.

- Tricia Olson, 2012