Category Archives: technology

There’s way too much Smart in my life

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There’s way too much Smart in my life

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to snatch the power back from my Smartphone, my Smarthouse, even those obnoxious Smartkids of mine, and become a Smartwoman.

But now I have a new foe and its proving problematic.

My Smartcar.

smart1This is the fourth time in a week I’m in my garage and standing outside my new car, anxious, a knot in my throat, a feeling of dread. Quite a difference from the love I felt at the dealership. It reminded me of the football players I liked in college.  They looked good on the outside until they spoke. Then I wanted to punch them.

Same for my new car.

I calm my nerves, take a deep breath, slowly place my hand on the door, and get in.

I push a button and the car turns on.

Champagne, anyone?

So far so good.

I hit the menu button and the computer screen lights up asking if I want the menu to smart2appear on the virtual cockpit.  I don’t want to fly over Russia, I want to drive to HomeGoods.

I sign into the car’s WIFI then synch my iPod to my car. I’m killin it here!  But in synching my iPod I can’t figure out how to synch my phone. They both use Bluetooth technology and one seems to be cancelling the other out. I feel like I’m in the car with 2 squabbling kids fighting for my attention. Which do I want more…music or phone?  I choose the iPod because it’s been 20 minutes in the garage, so at least I’ll have music while flying reconnaissance over Russia.  I sheepishly grab my bag of old technology and use the headset to synch to my phone.

My husband walks by and informs me I no longer need the headset.

Think of 2 words, people…I can’t repeat them.

I don’t need a Smarthusband.

Maybe I’ll have more luck with navigation: An alphabet chart comes up. 977valleyroadgilettenj. I’m unable to add spaces so I toggle down and I’m instructed to draw address on optional touchpad.  Excuse me?  Draw? On a touchpad?  What touchpad?!  I. Want. To. Go. To. HomeGoods! Not draw! Grabbing the bag of old technology, I find the Garmin GPS, plug it in, type the address (with spaces), and waa-laa….it calculates the trip. Thank you, Jesus.

smart3$10K extra for technology is so worth it, said no one ever.

My husband walks by, and notices the plugged in Garmin GPS.

This time he says nothing.

Smarter than Einstein, that one.

It’s been 30 minutes in the garage. Maybe I’ll skip Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, synching, flying over Russia, and just drive the damn car. So, I’m off. At a stop light the car turns off. My blood smart10pressure is up to 450. Miraculously I step on the gas and the car turns on, but a green foot with an arrow appears on the dash which means I’m going above the speed limit. My car obviously has a dual personality, morphing into my mother telling me to slow down. How much more did this cost me?

Mistakenly, I hit a button on the steering wheel and a voice in sotto voce asks what I want to do next. What I’d like to do next is punch the car in its virtual cockpit, but instead while pulling out a chunk of hair on my head, I loudly speak, “call smart6home.”  I need to apologize to my husband. Sotto voce informs me it doesn’t recognize my voice.  Then I come to a stop sign and the engine turns off.

My next car will be a golf cart.

Where was I?

Ah yes…HomeGoods.

So, I finally get to HomeGoods.  I buy the dishes I came for and try to swipe my points card which hangs on my key ring and realize I don’t have my keys. My Smartcar doesn’t require keys  to turn itself on or off.  Did I turn the car off?  Cripes, the car is so smart it may be at Burger King having a whopper by now. I leave the dishes and find my car. It is running and I swear its snickering.

I hit the same button I previously hit by mistake and in my own NOT so sotto voce speak, smart9go home. And it calculates the route home.  Cue a crazed woman with a bald spot on the right side of her head, doing the dab dance in the parking lot.

I feel hope.

Over the next few weeks, armed with a 425-page manual, various YouTube videos, on-line tutorials, trial and error, and yes, my friends, screaming at the dashboard/virtual cockpit, I snatch the power from the Smartcar and become a Smartwoman. I learn to synch everything, master steering wheel controls, the start/stop system, the optional touchpad, the instrument cluster, the virtual cockpit, navigation system, voice activation, cruise control, Apple CarPlay, programmed smart7Sirius, set my seats and synch the climate. I am familiar with 87 possible indicator lights.

I put my trusty bag of old technology back into the old car.

I am a Smartwoman.

Now if I can just find the keys to get into my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Email, texts, shmexts…what’s the difference”

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“Email, texts, shmexts…what’s the difference”

As our parents age there are many things we wish they would stop doing.  Driving, eating too much salt and sugar, or becoming too sedentary seem to be the most prevalent concerns that I’ve heard from my friends. My suggestion to my parents isn’t quite so health textschmexts1related.

I simply want my Mother to place her iPhone under the front tire of her car and then drive over it. Many times. Until it’s pulverized.

First, the calls to me:

“Delly?”

No Mom, its Tracy.

“I didn’t call you, I called Delly.”

Mom, you called ME. You’re talking to Tracy.

“Well I meant to call Delly.”

At times I may receive a text with a red pin on a map indicating her current location. According to the map she’s in her house and apparently not lost and hoping I can find her so there’s no need for alarm.

The FaceTime application makes me yearn for those days of the land line telephone. My mother doesn’t know why my face appears on her phone even though she is the one who textschmexts2initiated the Facetime call. It’s difficult to converse; she is too busy laughing and has no idea what to do next. Turning her phone this way and that makes her face jump side to side, up then down on my phone. I get dizzy trying to follow her image. Mom, I ask, what the heck are you doing?!  She replies, I’m LOLing.

Calling her takes patience until she figures out which pocket, which purse, which counter, which chair, which car, which room her phone is in. Then she swipes to answer. Usually she swipes the wrong way no less than 3 times disconnecting me each time. When we finally connect she’s still laughing.  I’m learning to take deep breaths as I count to 10.

When I call, and my mother’s out of the house she puts the phone on speaker and then textschmexts3places it to her ear.   I hear the lawn mower, the check-out girl, a blow dryer, all sounds going on around her but I can’t hear HER. She can’t hear me and I can’t hear her.  My ears are ringing. We’re like walking advertisements for Verizon…Can you hear me now?

Despite my frustration, my dizziness, and the constant ringing in my ears, I’m impressed technology doesn’t scare away this 80+ year old.  My interesting, intelligent mother reads the NY Times on her iPhone forwarding articles on Tesla, hedge fund tax loopholes, and recipes.  So it’s with patience, respect, love, and deep breathing that I explain to my mother that no, I didn’t receive her message in an email, but received it in a text which textschmexts5didn’t include the attachment indicated, and oh by the way the text went to 4 people I don’t know.  From my still feisty mother, “email, text, shmexts, what’s the difference.”  And she inserted a red faced emoji.

But the worst day of my life happened with the inevitable, dreaded phone call.

I knew it was coming, but still not quite prepared for it.

My distraught sister on the line, tearfully saying…

“Mom’s on Facebook.”

STEP AWAY from Facebook, I quickly texted my mother. This is nothing to be LOLing about. She texted back an emoji of a certain hand gesture.

So I accepted her Facebook friend request.facebookheart

It might be easier to get her to stop driving.