Technology and Me

Once again, this weekend, I was the technological hero, getting papers to print for my wife.

As you may know, about three years ago, Congress banned incandescent bulbs in the energy bill by 2014 (or 2012; i’ve read both). Recently, a couple Republicans have offered up legislation called the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (or BULB Act, which would “repeal the de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb contained in Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.” Frankly, I’m not unsympathetic to their position. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. I read that in the last month, the last major U.S. factory making the traditional light bulbs has closed, with a “Virginia manufacturing plant [taking] its jobs to China, where making eco-friendly CFLs is cheaper.”

I must admit that I have not yet warmed the new CFLs for at least two reasons:
1. They take longer to illuminate a room, more noticeable with my aging eyes.
2. There are trace amounts of mercury in the bulbs, and I don’t know where/how to throw them away.
And the need to throw them away has already occurred; despite supposedly lasting 10 times longer – a good thing since they cost about four times as much – we’ve had a couple go on us already, and just don’t know what to do with them. I suspect there is/will be massive hoarding of incandescent bulbs, the epitome of the “good idea”.
I was riding my bike home from church this week and I saw someone’s Blackberry lying in my path. It looks as though it had been severally damaged, either from the fall, or possibly from a car running over it. I couldn’t turn it on. I realize that, in all possibility someone is going to be devastated by the loss of their tool, and it made me think – do I really want one of these things? I’m likely to lose the damn thing. Then where would I be?
Tuesday night, I want to record both The Good Wife and Parenthood, Tuesday at 10 pm. Normally the DVR would allow this, but no. And it’s because the Dancing with the Stars results show is running until 10:01 pm and I can’t record three shows at once; there’s no option to shorten the programming of DWTS back to 10 pm. And for a brief moment, I was a bit annoyed by this until I thought, “Hey, I can record two shows at once. That’s pretty remarkable!” Would have saved me some grief in the 1980s when St. Elsewhere and the Equalizer were both on Wednesday at 10 pm. In any case, the solution to the current issue is simple; stay up until 10:01 pm, record one of the shows and go to bed. In case you thought, “Stay up and watch it on our (non-existent) other TV,” I don’t watch TV in real time anymore, with the rare exception of some sporting events. In case you were suggesting, “Don’t record DWTS” – hey, it’s my wife’s show, not mine.
Once again, this weekend, I was the technological hero, getting papers to print for my wife. And here’s the great secret: I cold rebooted the computer (Ctrl-Alt-Delete was NOT working); I unplugged, then replugged the printer, which bizarrely seems to have no on/off switch. In retrospect, I could have just shut off and turned on the surge protector. Here’s to rebooting, which people STILL insist has NOTHING to do with actually kicking your machines.
I haven’t switched to WordPress 3.0 yet. I asked a techie if I should and he said, “Sure, just make sure you don’t lose anything you want.” Which, to my ears means, “Leave the damn thing alone.”

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