Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Joys and Cautions on the Internet

The screen and keyboard can be a window to the world.

         This week my favorite singer in the entire world accepted my invitation to join me on Linkedin.   When I think about it, the internet has brought me a great many amusements and joys over the years.  I got an excellent job over the internet in the nineties.  I have made some wonderful friends over time on the internet, the kind who would drop everything for me.  When my youngest son died suddenly, my friends worldwide staged funerals and remembrance ceremonies for him, which coincided with the one we had for him there, on all ends of the Earth.  It was really helpful to know that while I was grieving the sudden loss of my son, that there was a remembrance ceremony with flowers and pictures taking place on an Australian beach, all because of connections and friendships made over the internet.  To help understand what had happened to my son, I was able to talk to an esteemed cardiologist in Barcelona, named Dr. Brugada. He assured me that Daniel had not died from the syndrome named for him, and that we needed to continue to look for answers.   Eventually,  medical articles we first read about on the internet in tandem with numerous consultations with pathologists yielded us the best answer on what had most likely happened to our son.  
       Much later, we saw the son we eventually adopted as a teen, at first on the internet.   We added dogs and horses to the farm courtesy of the internet.  Both of my books were brought to publication much faster than they would have been, because outlines, plans, chapter samples etc. occurred with the use of the internet.
             There is great power and great benefits to this new medium, but we must be careful.  Our privacy and potential for robbery, identity theft, and other crimes also exists there.  We must be careful not to write anything that we wouldn't wish to have published in a book, because once the material is out there, one may not be able to rebox it.  Young people especially need to carefully consider pictures they place on the internet.  A partying teen at college may not seem like the kind of employee a certain employer might want, even if you really are perfect for the position.
             Enjoy the internet, and be mindful.  Best wishes to everyone.

Monday, August 19, 2013

One Wet August


   This is the busiest week of the year for me.  Two of my sons have birthdays this week, as do I.  It's usually quite hot here this time of year and in addition to the birthday activities, caring for animals is usually harder.  Then there is the mad dash to have sufficient money for tuition to colleges or even to borrow it, and the concerns for textbooks which go up as quickly as the egregious American national debt !  This year we have about eight inches more rainfall than is normal for us, and this means that a lot of our outdoor activities have been impacted by so much water.   We usually try to squeeze in a vacation, although this year it will be economically unfeasable.   Still it is a great time of year.  In August we sit on the precipice of new projects.  Most of us who started school in September of each year adapted to the rhythm of stretching our souls each Autumn, and then coasting, just a bit, through the Summer. I am afraid I have been set to that template also.  I will continue promoting the books that are out there, continuing on ongoing projects, and outlining for a lengthy book which is coming off in the distance. Enjoy your Summer.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Avoiding Technology Dementia

There is a place for technology. But there is also a place for conventional books, conventional planning and thought, and for pencil and paper.

     I don't mind technology.  As a nurse I wrangled intra-aortic balloon pumps, external pacemakers,  Harvard pumps, and insulin pumps of different types.  I not only performed peritoneal dialysis, but I taught other nurses how to do it, and helped to write the policy manual on it, in the hospital I worked in at the time. The wide variety of blood glucose monitors available to the public has made the control of Type I diabetes mellitus, and Type II actually possible, and it has done so far more cheaply than most thought possible.   I actually like technology when there is something positive to be gained from it.   I like the alarm system in our farm house, both the one that was hard wired in when the house was built, and the wireless one we added later which has some amazing features, and cost much less than the original, both in terms of installation, and for monitoring.  I like technology when it benefits my family and I.    This actually isn't what's going on now for many people.   Smart phones, smart apps, kindles, mini tablets, etc. have all gone whole hog.   I might be one of the only people I know who actually keeps 35 phone numbers in my head.  Why should I leave everything to a Smart phone ?  If the phone malfunctions, data is lost, then no one will be able to phone anyone.  Mothers won't be able to call the landline at their kid's schools.  Adults won't be able to call their elderly parents. People won't be able to make a call to their doctors.  What is more insidious is that at least some of the people in their twenties today can't plan a project or make a "to do" list without an electronic device.  There are a few studies which indicate that excessive use of electronic devices does "soften the brain".  Not having to recall at least some data means that this function in our brain is lost, at least temporarily, just as a muscle we don't use, tends to atrophy or weaken.
              I have technology as it benefits me.  I have no intention of becoming a slave to it. I won't pay for the best and the brightest new gadget.  I will pay attention because if something which benefits me emerges, then I might have a use for it.  However, I will not pay to "keep up with the electronic Joneses" and I will not pay my way to technology dementia making electronics inventors and software developers wealthy, or shall I say, wealthier men.