January 3, 2010

Another New Way to Connect

This "The Raven Lunatic" ran in the Warrick Courier on Friday, January 1, 2010.

Desperately Seeking An Organized Life in 2010

Turning over the January calendar always puts me in “organization” mode. My New Year’s resolution is, was, and always will be organizing my time.

Don’t we all want to achieve balance between work chaos and home chaos?

Finding this level of homeostasis can only be achieved by finding the perfect day planner.

In college, Ball State provided a calendar called the “SCGB” book. Those letters stood for Student Council Governing Board but to me they meant “Simply Can’t Get Behind” on homework and term papers.

In my work life, I have experimented with various calendars and planners. Twenty years ago, I worked at a local organization where a major status symbol was the size and heft of your Franklin planner. The higher you rose in the organization, the larger your planner became. My ambitious boss carried a planner that weighed about 20 pounds, and needed a pulley cart to take it to meetings.

When I started in sales ten years ago, the PDA with a stylus was in vogue. Out “in the field” during the day I tapped-tapped-tapped my calls, calendar, and contacts into the little machine. By night, I synchronized to the Mother Ship, which took one to two hours on a slow dial-up connection.

Now I am a person who adapts to change. Didn’t someone famous once say, “If you don’t change you will die?” Look at the dinosaurs, or as we call them now, fossils. The dinosaurs did not get the change message and they are now fodder for archaeologists.

I also pride myself in embracing new technology, though I usually view it through bifocals. I want to keep up with the times and stay on the cutting edge of technology. Nevertheless, after dealing with my new “Smart Phone” for the last ten days, I am considering digging out a plain black dial-up telephone and my Olympia portable typewriter. I am getting too old for this.

With a new job, I need a phone that can do everything. I bought a Raw Umber Fruit Fly 8000 Genius Phone, a snazzy little number with flashing lights, video camera, and laser beam capabilities. (This is not your father’s cell phone.)

I told the sales clerk that I need the apparatus to get email from my work
He heard, “Just sell me a really expensive phone I don’t understand, make sure to push additional peripherals I don’t need, and then leave me quickly after you scan my credit card.”

I upgraded my “plan” to the one supporting the Raw Umber Fruit Fly 8000 Genius Phone, which involved giving up rights to oil discovered on our Warrick County property and any future winning from the Hoosier Lottery for 18 years.

In theory, this electronic toy does everything imaginable. For example, I get the Weather Channel’s 10-day forecast right there on my tiny screen. Imagine the thrill I felt when I discovered I could do this. (Oh, wait, can’t I just turn on the television and do the same thing?)

The sales clerk accommodated my wishes and hustled me out of the store in record speed. The new machine powered up, and I sat in my car with no clue how to answering the now-ringing phone.

That I figured out. Activating the email feature was entirely another matter. Five calls to the provider later, I learned that the Raw Umber Fruit Fly 8000 Genius Phone is one of dozens of Fruit Fly phones sold by the provider. What this means is that the provider has no earthly idea how the phone works. He is reading from a script, and while he wants to help me, he knows less more about the phone than I do.
With the help of my work colleagues, we figured it out on our own. Now I am set up and I can do it all, right from my phone. Watch for my laser beams. Quoth the raven.

Random Bizarre Tip of the Month: Local news carried a story about criminals breaking into cars and stealing GPS devices, activating the “go home” feature and robbing your house while you shop. The newscaster suggested removing the “Go Home” feature entirely. I propose another solution, with a nod to the iconic comedy of the 1980s The Blues Brothers: why not change your address in your GPS to 1060 W. Addison, Chicago, Illinois. Of course, Cubs fans! This is the address of the “Friendly Confines” or Wrigley Field.