My Technology Crisis

Breath, Eyes, Memory
Breath, Eyes, Memory (Photo credit: wpwend42)

I am in the middle of a technological crisis.

I was reading Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations by J.M. Bryson. I mostly find this interesting because I love Strategic Planning, well…planning in general. There was a word (Governance) where I knew the meaning but it seemed out of context with the section I was reading. I pressed my finger on the word thinking the dictionary would pop up and give me another meaning that would fit the context.

Expect for one small problem.

My text book is the old fashion paper kind, not an electronic e-reader. The dictionary was never going to appear. Nor could I highlight with my finger and add notes.

I realized I have become one of the converted. This hit home today when my Book club Padawan texted me with a title of the next book. I couldn’t find it for download in Canada. Which is stupid because it is ELECTRONIC – meaning digital, it should be the easiest way to find the book. I looked online for it through my libraries (I have access to the Univeristy of Alberta and MacEwan as well as the City of Edmonton Public Library) and there were no e-copies available.

Do you know what this means? I will have to DRIVE my CAR and go into a STORE hoping they will have the book I want to read. I may perhaps have to drive to a few locations before I find it, well, no I won’t because I will search their data base at the store to find a copy. However, what if I have to order it in? Then it must travel to get to me. Ask me how annoyed I am? If I am going to be searching all of the place for this book, I will CALL the independents first. I HATE PHONE CALLS, why can’t I just text them? I will call local booksellers like Greenwoods or Audrey’s before I hit Chapters and Indigo because A) support independent  B) Chapters doesn’t have an e-book copy so I am punishing them.

I have learned something about me through this process. I prefer to shop online for regular stuff, who are we kidding, all stuff except shoes and handbags, and diamonds. I will buy on line but I prefer the experience of being in the store for those items. Shopping on-line is mostly a great experience for me. I did 99% of my Christmas Shopping at www.thinkgeek.com (by the way, if you are thinking of buying me a gift, I’d like the Tardis Tea Pot) Sure I preferred to buy that stuff for me, but I have raised young geeks who need that stuff too. We are in short supply of geek stores in Edmonton. So on-line it is!

Last week I bought office furniture for my new gig. I loved the process of having it delivered to me, or so I thought. I ordered everything and then sometime today a single chair was delivered to my front yard. Did UPS ring the door bell? No. Did Someone call me to say it was coming? No. Was I home today? YES! All stinking DAY. I wouldn’t know my new chair was in my front yard if I didn’t have to walk my daughter to an event at school tonight. Thanks UPS for the email at 9:00 PM telling me you delivered my chair. I never would have known otherwise. This to me is a shopping on-line FAIL.

I can’t wait to buy a 3D printer. I can order my cool stuff on-line, then print it off in the comfort of my office. I may have to then assemble it but I am great with Swedish Directions, Ikea doesn’t scare me. Anything is better than random items spread all over my lawn. This is why I love E-Books.

You pick the book, download it into my e-reader and start reading INSTANTLY. I LOVE IT. It is part of the reason I have read so many books this year.

I need one of two things to happen to me, I need a bookstore to open up down the street from me OR have every book available in epub format. Let the flaming begin, but my house has way less stuff since I have changed everything to digital format, photos, music, movies, and books. I have freed up rooms of space! I don’t think I am asking for too much…I just want a copy of Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat. 

And a dictionary installed into my paper text books.

And a 3D printer.

And a million dollars.

That’s not asking too much.

It’s just not what it use to be

English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie.
English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at the university today in search of actual books. The kind made from paper, glue and ink. The kind of book you open up and sniff that distinctive smell of book. 

It has been a very long time since I read a paper book. I have become the new generation of reader – ereader. I have to admit, I love it. I love having 500 books on my shelf that I carry in my purse. I love that my carry on for airplane trips was light and had room to bring stuff back. In my bag for my last trip I had my iPad, charger cord, tissue, hand sanitizer, and a pashmina. My iPad had a couple of movies and tv shows loaded on it, my New York Times Crossword puzzle, pdfs for university, photo editing software and 500 photos before my trip, 682 hours of music and my beloved book collection. I felt like Arthur from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. All I needed was a towel. I know there are a lot of you who will tell me you love your books and can’t convert. I am not trying to convert you, but I caution you not to close your mind of because books are going the way of the vinyl album, betamax and vhs tapes, cds, typewritters, tube tvs, space shuttles and Concords. This is just the way it is.

I had a hard time at the campus book store finding the required reading material needed for my next class. Seriously, those dudes are USELESS. I left empty handed and went to Tim Horton’s to drown my sorrows in a steeped tea (because Timmy’s coffee is VILE) I had my iPad with me and I started to google. I discovered the chapters I needed were available for download. SWEET! Into my ereader they went and now I have the added benefit of highlighting, adding notes and working right from the tablet. I found the other book I needed available at the campus library and now it also is installed on my ereader. The best part is, I don’t have to lug around a heavy bag filled with text books and note pads. I don’t worry about pens without ink or other crud I don’t need.

This was true of my kids this year as well. Both my kids have some sort of electronic device for school. The oldest has a lap top, the youngest a iPad. The youngest uses apps that connect her with the smart boards at school. The notes are available on-line, so time is spent exploring the topic rather than copying copious amounts of notes. They both email in their assignments, communicate with their teachers via email and have access to on-line learning labs. My youngest understands her need for some hands on work and notes so I bought her pens, pencils, a binder and some paper. The oldest didn’t need anything but his laptop and an ereader. His library has ebooks that he downloads on his reader. When the due date is up, they disappear. This is also possible through the public library. The need for text books is also going by the wayside. This style is perfect for my eldest’s learning style. He reads it, he retains it, he discusses it in chat rooms or clusters with his peers. It’s all very appealing to my children to learn this way. If they have their laptop, they have their homework. Things are saved to clouds and flash drives. Gone are the days of “I forgot to bring it home”.

Don’t bother telling me they way you use to learn is better. Things evolve and change. There is a huge debate on texting versus spelling out the entire word. Let me just say if we always did things they way we use to, I would be writing this blog on the walls with a chisel. Embrace change, maybe even marvel at it. Sure it isn’t the same but it opens up blocks of time for other things that expand the mind. Less time on core details opens up more time for extra curricular creativity. This helps my kids explore things I never had the opportunity to try.

Wednesday I have a class that takes place in my home. I will fire up my laptop, don my headset and microphone, and discuss stuff online, live with a visual of what my classmates look like. Technically I don’t have to change out of my pajama bottoms, shoulders up is all they see, so I’ll brush my hair, wash my face and wear a clean shirt. I can sit on my deck if it’s nice out. That’s right, I will be living my high school dream from 1984. I will have class outside in the sunshine on Wednesday at 5:00 pm and get stuff done. Give me wifi and I could be by the pool.

Who do I thank for this? Steve Jobs? Steve Wozniak? Bill Gates? If you ask me, they are worth their weight in gold because THIS is awesome. I don’t have to drive in rush hour to get to my class. I don’t have to pay for parking. I don’t have to pack a lunch. I don’t have to wear socks.

Now, I cannot WAIT for work to go all electronic so I can do it from my lounge chair while soaking up the sun.