Moving Day, 100 Degree Heat, Technology


Moving Day, 100 Degree Heat, Technology

Whenever the muse leaves me, or I become frustrated or bored, I rearrange my office. It would give me a different perspective and hopefully get me past whatever “block” (writer’s, sales,’ management, etc.) was lurking in the space around me.

The problem I have had for the past seven years was that my desk was bolted to the wall. So much for that.

As of a month ago, I have an entirely new outlook. We have moved into new digs just around the corner from our old place. We are still within hailing distance of LAX. Someone asked me how I felt about moving. Initially I was rather nonplussed over the entire thing. Robyn, Eric and Joyce did everything; I just griped and complained.

I have always thought that all change is good.

The move over here has not only changed my perspective, but also started me down a road of getting all the electronics back to the way they were. That, for a luddite like me, is no mean feat.

Email doesn’t work. It’s the same problem you have when you check in to the Holiday Inn and the Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to let you sign in to your email account.

I haven’t been able to fix it, so I’m calling in tech support.

The phones – ah, yes – a completely new phone system with different displays, buttons, and the like. Fortunately, Eric is handling the setup. I know that in a day or so, I will get a call and not be able to answer it.

My smartphone seems to work just fine, but of course it doesn’t pair with the new Wi-Fi. Tech support is coming (different from email), so we will see what happens then.

I have completely rearranged the furniture in my office from the way it was placed when I walked in. Sigh. I was told that that was the way it was originally designed, but I didn’t like it and told them, no, change it. A conversation I swear I never had.

I asked if this new place was going to make us any money and was told that if being more efficient, having employees who wanted to come to work, and having a staff that was warm in the winter, cool in the summer, having a restroom that worked meant anything, then, yes, we should see a few bucks on the bottom line. Time will tell.

Our new address is at the top of the right column of this page. You are welcome to drop by. It’s not perfect yet, but we are receiving.

As I write this over the Labor Day weekend, it’s hot in Southern California and I greatly appreciate the work of Willis Carrier, the inventor of the air conditioner. Marcy tells me that the 100 degree heat that surrounds us is nothing compared with the temps in Phoenix. I guess that’s true. I don’t plan to head over to find out.


Technology. That’s the topic of the day in this issue of PT. Is it a good or bad thing? When I can get to London in nine hours, talk to friends in Australia on a moment’s notice, heat my oatmeal in seconds, then one might say it’s a good thing.

However, when the kids spend hours texting, the skies are filled with smog, we sit in traffic for hours getting to places that took half the time yesterday, it might give one pause.

My concern is that when technology gives on one hand, it takes away on another. There is no possible way I could fix my car if it breaks down. However, half a century ago, I knew enough about what went on under the hood that I could keep old Bessie running with bailing wire and duct tape.

Remember when we used to take vacuum tubes to the hardware store and test them, and replace the burned out ones and keep the radio or TV running? Try it today.

Of course, the TV today is solid state, will probably run 10 years without service, and has a 60-inch full color screen. So …

But do we even know how things work? Internal combustion engines aren’t particularly mysterious, but if you add air conditioning, fuel injection, sensors, computerized this and that, do we consumers have a clue?

I and folks my age are fortunate to have grown up when things were simpler, but also when more complex technology was in its infancy. The first computer I saw was when I was in college. It was housed in a room roughly 40 by 40 feet, had flashing lights, huge tape drives, and punch card readers.

We would go to the school of business administration and watch through huge windows as the lights flashed and the tape ran. (Today, I probably have 100 times the computing power in my smartphone than in that 40 by 40 room.)

But when we grew up with computers and integrated circuits, we sort of understood how they worked. We knew that data were stored on tape or disks, that the computer was a very fast calculator that processed the data, and we were a bit in awe.

The young today take all that as ancient history. The smartphone in their hand just works. If it doesn’t, they get a new one. The tiny tablet or laptop allows them to communicate with the world without a second thought.

Do math? Why? My phone can do it for me. Have the discipline to actually go to a library and research for information to be used in a report or term paper? Why – Google has it in an instant.

Chat with the clerk in a checkout line? Never – there is no clerk any more. Have a filling station attendant pump your gas or clean your windows? Are you crazy?

I’m afraid the young of today are missing so much human interaction that they are changing in ways that could be frightening.

Enough of this – gotta go – have to check for the latest Tweet, be sure the web site is current and, oh yes, see if the email is back up and running.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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