Embracing the technology, right?

Why did I NEED Venmo?

every-virtual-meeting
Every Virtual Meeting: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License
When I was talking to a librarian friend of mine recently, it occurred to me that embracing the technology is often a cost/benefit analysis. So I’ve been pondering my adoption, re-adoption, or rejection of the same in the calendar year 2020.

Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts: I had Skype over a decade ago. I didn’t use it much, didn’t like it. But since March 15, 2020, I must have used one of them at least four dozen times. BTW, EVERYTHING in the cartoon above I have witnessed.

Facebook: I have no idea how I receive the items I see first in my feed. Lately, I’ve found it necessary to delete people, almost always friends of friends. Actually, I like to keep people I know and disagree with so that I don’t get caught up with too much confirmation bias. I tend to retain the ones I know IRL. But stupid stuff, usually with misspelled graphics, not so much.

Twitter: I still don’t “get” Twitter. My blog posts go there daily, but that’s it.

Cellphone: I eschewed getting one at all for years. Then when I did, it was a dumb phone. I finally yielded and got a smartphone when I lost my flip phone a few years back. But because I often misplace it AND the battery drains too easily, it was often off. And I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

Necessity is a real mother

That changed, not because of the COVID-19 but because of my father-in-law’s illness. My brothers-in-law and their wives were discussing issues via text. I wasn’t on the chain, because they didn’t have my number. I learned to have the phone on, and charged, regularly. My wife had a phone from the Pleistocene period, so she traded in her phone this calendar year. The kicker is that while I would receive the group texts, my wife would not. She could get individual texts, though. We don’t understand the issue.

Here’s a problem with being behind the curve. When getting instructions from the manual, or from other people, they operate on the assumption you’re just upgrading. The truth is more prosaic. I HAVE NO IDEA how to fix these things. Fortunately, I have a teenager. Still, I’m going to get ANOTHER phone for me, because the memory is so poor, and because I can seldom see images people text to me.

What’s App?: When I went to a conference in Indiana with kids from my church and others from the presbytery last summer, it was decided that we’d use What’s App. to communicate on the huge Purdue campus. On my phone, at least, it operated slowly, and occasionally not at all. So…

Why do I need this?

Venmo: When I needed to download the Venmo app, I had to dump What’s App and two others. And why did I NEED Venmo? Because the teachers at her school use it. They collected money back in March because they thought a couple of non-teaching staff were going to get laid off. As it turns out, they weren’t. Meanwhile, a couple of teachers are retiring at the end of the semester.

So we (I) had to get the money from Vera, who had collected the first $30 and then transfer it to Chuck, who was collecting for the retirement gift. This took about three hours, my phone is so wonky. Now why Vera couldn’t have sent the money to Chuck, keeping us out of it, I don’t know. Venmo is a sister company to PayPal, which I’ve had for years.

eBay: I’ve had it for years, but seldom use it. I wanted to get cards for our SORRY game. I could have bought a new game, but the rules in Fire and Ice are very different. i figured out my password and got new cards for $5 plus nearly as much for postage. But it’s good. We use them.

Instagram: Even my daughter couldn’t help me with this.

When your blog provider says upgrade

I got this message recently: “Debian and Ubuntu are operating systems that power a huge chunk of DreamHost. And, like any operating systems, they receive regular updates to fix bugs, improve stability, and add features. We will be upgrading your Virtual Private Server from version 14.04 (also known as trusty) to Debian 9.12 (aka Stretch!)”

OK! I have no idea what that means.

Date of upgrade: Tuesday, June 9th
Maintenance Window: 8:00pm-10:00pm Pacific Time
Expected downtime: 5 minutes
You may notice that your sites become unreachable for about 5 minutes while we perform the upgrade. Don’t worry – this is normal!

And I was working on the blog RIGHT AT THAT TIME, losing a bit of work. But it’s all good now.

Lydster: Instagram, copyright, bullying

teen drama

breaking bad kids
via Aaron Paul’s Instagram
Early in my retirement, my wife and I were sound asleep in our bed at 11:30 p.m., because that’s what we do. Our dear daughter came into the room needing to talk, preferably to the male parent. Oh yeah… zzz.. that’s me.

The issue is that some young woman, who I’ll call Happy, had taken a graphic from someone else’s Instagram page. The artist, who I’ll call Art, is a friend of my daughter.

Art politely asked Happy to take the piece off her page. Happy refused. As some of Art’s friends got involved in the conversation, Happy became more adamant. She suggested that Art and all of his friends should get together and cut themselves.

My daughter wanted my advice, which I suppose I should appreciate. I recommended, regarding both the artwork and the response by Happy, was to contact Instagram.

This is not the first time I’ve learned about the Sturm und Drang involving teenagers on social media. Back in the old days, if there were bullies, you and your geographically close friends knew who they were and how to avoid or confront them.

Now, there’s a network of friends and “friends” who get intricately involved in these dramas. I am utterly fascinated, baffled and more than a bit concerned how these issues can escalate.

I know this is probably unAmerican, but I have never warmed to Instagram. It seems difficult to ascertain what pictures actually belong to whom, with photos and graphics swapped about.

Huh. I went to my Instagram account, which I hadn’t used in so long that I had forgotten the password, which is not that rare. I was puzzled to note that while I had 14 followers, I have apparently never posted anything.

It’s weird because I swore that I had submitted photos of some of my ancestors. I probably will use Instagram at some point in my purported free time. But I will have expectations that the pictures will be shared.

Oh, here’s the kicker. Because I went to visit Happy’s Instagram page, she sent me an invitation to friend her on Facebook! I declined.