Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Old Dog

By Nib

I miss my daughter. She’s all grown up and living hundreds of miles away from me. This is the kid who always makes me laugh. She often gives wise counsel well beyond her years. She’s smart and interesting. But what I’m missing most about her today is her youth.

Because simply by being young, she understands technical things is a way I fear I never will. I remember a time when I could keep up. I actually could program my VCR. I was a fairly early adopter of computer technology, researching online when we had dial-up connections. I had one of the first bag phones. But somewhere along the line, technology overtook me, ran me down and crushed me under its boots.

It worked out fine, though, since my daughter lived with me. She could teach me how to use the remote and DVR shows. She synced my iPod and programed the heater. But she moved on several years ago and I have lapsed into laziness, falling ever further behind. I quit using my iPod and since we moved to rural Nebraska and don’t have fancy TV service that would allow me to record shows, I settle for Netflix and Amazon (only doable because my daughter bought me a Roku device and my super-smart husband set it up).

But things are fixing to change around here. It all started a few months ago. A friend published an audio book and asked me to give it a listen. So I had to figure out how to download audio books onto my phone. Man, that opened up a whole new world for me. I had used books on tape and CD forever, but now I could listen to books anywhere!

Then my good friend and fellow Midnight Inker, Mark Stevens, kept talking about podcasts writers would find interesting. He started a new column in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers newsletter and his first recommendation is Reading and Writing Podcasts.

 I’d been listening to a few podcasts from NPR for a couple of years so I figured I could do this, too. Mark explained the podcasts were an easy download from iTunes and free.

Okay, first step: download an ap on my phone since I have an Android, not iPhone. Except the aps won’t download. On the website, it tells me it’s installed but on my phone, it’s in perpetual downloading mode. For hours and hours. Two different aps, same result. Several attempts (that old definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results) and nothing. Next step: find old iPod. How many times have we moved since I last used that thing? Too long.

Third step: borrow husband’s shuffle. Plug it into my computer, download the podcasts onto my computer and sync shuffle to iTunes. Except, it won’t sync. Read online guides. See nothing in the instruction illustrations that looks similar to the screens iTunes is showing. Curse like a sailor.

Two hours later, after much frustration, and temptation to start shooting whiskey at 10 A.M., I have a fully loaded shuffle. I have no idea how I did it. I’m pretty sure I can’t replicate the process.

I have a plan, though. When I finish listening to the podcasts, I’m going to buy my daughter a plane ticket to see me.


  1. I still don't have a cell phone but I was able to work an on-line class after it was set up. My image froze up early into it but the moderator found a still to put up instead... and I liked that better anyway... less pressure to look less like a dork. One day soon (mabe even by the end of this year) I'l break down and get a smart phone. I'm still partial to candy-bar dumb phone... but I must move forward. Fun post and good thing you didn't have to drink before 10am over technology.

  2. I DO have a cell phone not a smart phone.... sorry.