… the incessant ramblings of a voluble gal

Archive for the ‘life’ Category

As much as I love and preach the rapid growing technologies that are making life and work easier and more effective in less time, the more I hate technology as well.Thanks to Live Digitally for the photo, aka Jeremy Toeman

I am so addicted to all things mobile and how it connects me to the world. I can remember the shortcode for Twitter (40404), but I can’t remember my best friend’s phone number. In fact, I can’t remember anyone’s phone number post 2002, when my father finally bought my very own cell phone. I was late to the cell phone game as most of my friends had been using cell phones for a few years by then, but even 4 years out of the Army I was still clamming for a hard line. Now even my alarm system in wireless and I haven’t had a home phone in three years.

So since 2002 I have been becoming dumber. And I blame it on the cell phone. I mean think about it, before you owned a cell phone, you probably knew all your friends numbers that you called from your private line in your parents house and you could dial those numbers fast as lightening. But now, every time you lose your phone, reset it, or upgrade, you send a message out to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or whatever ever social network to ask for everyone to send you their numbers again. Even those whom you have weak ties.

Why bother remember 10 little digits when your SIM card can do it for you?

So what happens when we rely on that technology so much, it fails us in life? We can end up looking like real assholes.

Don, Steve, Sean, Andrea at HBS, 7 April 2008This was the case for me back in April this year for instance. I was flying up to spend some time with my best friend in New Hampshire before heading to Boston to meet with Andrew McAfee, of HBS and to sit in on one of his classes. As the plane landed in Manchester Airport, I turned my T-mobile Dash HTC Excaliber smartphone back on so I could text him that I was on the ground. I was able to see that he had txt’d me he was waiting just as my phone froze. I restarted again and my phone started going into what I call the loop of death. This had happened once before so I knew my only recourse was to hard reset the phone. This meant 30 minutes of unavailability to do anything with it, even make a simple call.

So without a phone, I had no number to let him know I was there and I would be waiting for him. Luckily after 30 minutes and just as my phone was normalizing as I was sitting on a bench outside, he walks up, furious. Why didn’t call blah, blah, blah. He said a true friend would have the number written down elsewhere and couldn’t believe I didn’t have it memorize. To which, if I had, asked someone in the airport to borrow a cell phone for a local call or go to a pay phone.

This was not the first or the last time we had issues getting in touch because of not knowing each other’s numbers. I thought we had rectified this because we had exchanged business cards and (we are best friends mind you) that maybe by now we would have remembered or at least keep the numbers in our wallets.

Um no. It happened again. He lost his phone. His billfold is in storage where he thinks my business card might be. He had no access to get online (the Internet seems to be a novelty for laid back New Englanders) and thus excuses, excuses, blah, blah, blah.

OK so this is a long story to make a point. But as I sit here, many paragraphs later I can only remember the first three digits of his number (603). I still cannot muster up the remaining 7 with absolute certainty and it kills me. I mean I learned Arabic to fluency (which I have also mostly forgotten now), but I cannot remember 10 numbers.

My cell phone does all my day to day brain work for me, besides store numbers. It also emails me my daily calendar from google, I get my news, weather and traffic (see @thebeltway on twitter) via FriendFeed, twitter, and text messaging. I even read interesting feeds while getting iontophoresis during physical therapy in the mornings. I even email myself quick directions for meetings from google maps and in bad traffic on 95 I used Windows Live Search for finding alternate routes home.

Essentially its like my brain saying, try as I might, since some device that fits in the palm of my hand can remember all that information for me, why should I retain it in my head? I mean I don’t know how many times I have gone to t-mobile.com to look up the number of someone whom you would think I would have the number engraved on my knuckles.

Next up … getting my text messages online ? Say it ain’t so.

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I can’t believe I just saw the Spinal Tap reunion with every bass player in the world. If that can happen, we can make the world a better place.

And don’t forget, save water, shower with a friend!

Vicki Davenport

Her death notice can be found here. A memorial will be held in August. Thanks to everyone who has read my blog and left your thoughts and condolences. It truly has helped in this sad time.

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This was my day today, how its unfolding:

My mom just called, I normally don’t answer my phone so early, because I sleep in until 9am or so because I don’t have to be at work until 11am.

Anyways, she called, because my aunt, her sister is dead. Police called the other sister, my other aunt (godmother) who is deaf, so my cousin called my mom. I have no details yet of her passing. I am going nuts right now not knowing. My mom is alone at home in PA and my Grandmother had just extended her vacation in Cairo – Who knows if she knows yet. My aunt and I used to be close, but I never felt we healed from our rift when she was living here and I kicked her out for stealing and her alcoholism. Last I saw her was at Easter when the family got together for dinner. She wasn’t looking good. Days later she was admitted to the hospital for some mysterious condition, almost dying, but she recovered. After her release, days later from that, she totaled her car, but survived. Much in pain, she was prescribed some serious drugs and went back to using narcotics again. But she was doing better lately.

So as I said, I don’t know what happened. I have been used to her abusing her body for so long that my godmother, said to me 2 years ago, that she had a feeling she would die before 50. I think she was 49.

This afternoon…

So this is what I have found out, my aunt was in the hospital earlier this week and was released yesterday for what I am hearing is low oxygen in her blood. She was asthmatic and a smoker so it doesn’t surprise me she was having problems breathing. Anyways, its unclear at this time, if she was properly released from Fairfax Hospital or if she checked herself out or what. Her boyfriend said he saw her in the bathroom around 2am, but did not go in to check on her. When he woke up @ 6am to go to work, that’s when he found her dead. So she died between 2am-6am.

Apparently she called my mother and my godmother-aunt several times last night, but my godmother-aunt’s husband kept hanging up on her. My mother tried calling her back, but only got her voicemail.

My grandmother, is aware of everything now, but does not know if she can handle flying back from Cairo with my aunt and uncle who live out there at this time. This might be the very thing that could break her heart and never recover from.

I believe there will be no autopsy, though I think their should be one. Her son’s father, said her heart just stopped.

I mean she knew she shouldn’t smoke, she knew it. She tried to quit, but she was such an addict it was impossible for her. It’s so sad when you see it all coming, you just can’t believe the day it does happen.

This is a clear testament why I do not smoke, why no one should smoke. I am going to donate to a charity in her name and I am going to suggest family and friends do the same. I will be setting it up online and will blog again with the web address and steps to donate.

With all the troubles Vicki has had over the years, one thing that has remained is that she was always a true and caring person. She was truly beautiful and had the eye to make others beautiful. I am going to also see if I can get some pictures of her and scan them in to do a slide show tribute to her. She truly was gorgeous.

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In the ways of all things new, since my old reliable dell finally went to computer heaven, I honor it with a blog. I have decided to open my thoughts outside of my old blog on myspace. But there will be reciprocal linking. I want to add RSS to this blog and pimp it out to be a little more me.

I have the freedom to do so here. I also want to get out there more to use more Web 2.0 tools. So when I am training and in collaboration with others at work, I can speak more on experience and less on theory.


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This is the personal blog of Andrea R. Baker. The views expressed within this blog are not representative of her employer, Navstar Inc. or any other professional association.



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While I may post and discuss the social web on this blog, please refer to my professional blog for my thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 and the workplace.

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