"Electronics Hard to Keep Up With"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, May 12, 2012

It sure is hard to understand today’s world. I suppose as we age, we outgrow certain ways of life. For most of my life, I was able to keep up. At least that’s what I thought.

I had no problem changing from the nickel pay phone a block away to a dial phone hanging on the wall. I seemed to be keeping up when the dial phone became a touch tone, push button. Then wireless arrived which I thought was neat – phone in a bag with an antenna sticking out and you could call anywhere. Now a phone is a cell and I am finally getting used to it but — that’s it! No Android, Blackberry, iPhone or iPad no matter how cool they look and how much 4G LTE speed they provide. No more phone gadgets period.

It was fun growing up as television developed, but lately it changes every time you glance at it. I managed to transit from black and white to reflected color than on to actual color. Now we need flat screens with HD color and 3D viewing plus some things I have never heard of. I confess to being the last holdout with my old-fashioned TVs (and only three of them in two houses).

As TVs moved in, the big, standup radios and Victrola’s (phonograph for those who forgot the name) moved out. They did not become obsolete, they just shrank. No more big vinyl disc, or little ones either. Eight–track tapes were soon shoved aside by cassettes which then gave way to CDs. They too are on their way out, in spite of everyone having a library of 10,000 of them. The MP3 player didn’t last long, it was too big. It got bumped by tiny iPods almost the size of a silver dollar and perhaps lighter than one. When I asked Google what the latest music gadget was they reported 9,999 results and Google Cloud was one of them.

The electronic world is almost out of my reach no matter how I try to keep up. After using Pat’s computer for a few years, I finally got my own, a laptop that barely covers my lap. I thought it was small until I saw what youngsters are using now — net books and Apple’s iPad with iCloud for storage. Here is another shocker. Just as all the old folks are finally getting time to curl up with a good book, e-readers have arrived.

As I see it, all the new-age electronics are built for kids. When you tell them they have to attend college to earn a good living they pause a moment — then display all knowledge on their electronic device. They are much smarter than any of us and college will have trouble teaching them anything.

You and I will have to figure out a way to keep up; the youngsters don’t have time to teach us how to use the new gadgets. They are too busy studying on them in grade school and texting their friends on the latest ones.

In the “olden” days, typing was the fastest way to get a note off to someone. Today, no one types on “home row,” they just use their thumbs on a phone or pad or sometimes a finger to push an app. One finger typing is back in style on computers. This I can do!

Electronics can cause confusion when trying to operate controls on the new cars. I had a hard time getting the bright headlights to stay on; if I lifted up on the control, they came on but when I let go, they went down to dims. After I checked my book, I discovered all I had to do for bright’s was push the lever down to have them stay on. Actually, on my car they dim automatically when another car approaches. I really like the delayed headlights when I’m getting my house keys out. None of these items are a big deal when you watch how some of the newer models park themselves.

I think the best electronic for cars is GPS (Global Positioning System), which allows you to find your way to any point in the country if you punch in the right info. Once you learn how to operate your system, you can direct it to give you the fastest, shortest route or a scenic one without tolls. It will locate the nearest fuel, food or bed for the night. I had used many GPS systems on my boats, but they never told me to “make a U-turn” or gave me a “choice” of routes.

Like I said, electronic gadgets are changing our lives daily. Will anyone be able to keep up?




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