The Dog Ate My Kindle-And Other Thoughts on Technology

I did not forget about this blog, truly. Although I am a sporadic blogger on occasion, a weeks break is generally long, even for me. I can only plead for understanding. I’ve recently adopted a five year old beagle with a few health issues, and a fourteen month beagle/coon mix.  The evidence of my busyness is the picture on the bottom of this blog. In my defense I can only say that the two dogs I lost in the past year were fifteen and sixteen respectively. My learning curve on puppy hood has been steep and not exactly pain free.

Yes folks, you read it right. The puppy ate my Kindle. The Kindle that was under the pillows on the bed that most beagles cannot reach alone.  Mangled and punctured, one third of the screen no longer works. Horrors of horrors, I have to go back to reading books from the library!

This incident has reminded me that technology is a tool. It serves a purpose, certainly. I use technology as much, if not more than the next person.  That said, it’s wise to remember who’se in charge. It’s also good to remember why we purchased our current “toy” and what it’s purpose is.  After all, we could go crazy buying and upgrading. No sooner does one version come out than another one is on the horizon.  While in general I think that expanding our horizons is a good thing, most of us are unable to make technology disposable.  When it comes to technology (for retirees or anyone else), a few thoughts apply:

First of all, be not  afraid. One does not have to be a geek to enjoy or use technology. Technology is a tool and a good one. I’ve mentioned before how using my laptop and Internet connection and smart phone have enabled me to get deals, look up recipes, find the cheapest gas, learn about genealogy and a million other things.  I am in no way a geek. I was married to a techie-geek for many years.  I still remember the day I called my husband at work and asked him where the “any” key was. Completely true story. If I can use a computer any human can.

Evaluate cost vs reward when buying technology. If possible, borrow a (Kindle, Ipad, Smart phone) from someone else and see if you will REALLY use all the features.  For me, the aforementioned kindle was always a question mark. Not that I enjoyed ripping it from my dog’s mouth, per se.  Prior to my Kindle purchase, I always got fiction from the library.  The only thing I ever purchased in terms of books were some hardcover reference. Not only that, but almost all of my reading is current fiction and non fiction these days.  the Kindle not only cost me money for the original purchase, it cost me every time I bought a book. It was definitely nice to have when traveling. It was also useful for downloading the digital version of heavy textbooks.  Overall though, it’s reward was not worth the cost for me, and I will certainly think long and hard in terms of replacement.  If you were downloading older and free books, or using the Kindle for Internet access, your mileage may vary. 

Once you’ve done your research, buy the best item you can afford for all your needs, and plan to live with it for awhile. In this area, I made a mistake.  When my traditional cell phone died and I was due an upgrade, I moved to cheapest available smart phone at the time. It did not serve my needs in terms of speed, access, screen size or apps. I was very frustrated and did more research. The end result was that I soon upgraded to a much nicer Android. It serves all of my needs, I don’t foresee the need to change phones for any reason.  I have passed all of my upgrades down the family plan chain. It was a costly lesson (since I didn’t wait for my free upgrade), and I’ll make sure it never happens again.

Try not to overlap. I have a desktop PC, a laptop and a smart phone. I definitely do not need an Ipad. As a matter of fact, my laptop and smart phone alone meet all my needs (although I have so much stored on my desktop that i keep it for now.). Others may need more, or different pieces depending on lifestyle.

Unless you are the ultimate techno geek, do not be the guy or gal who stands in line opening day to get the newest technology.  Remember all those folks who got an IPhone at an exorbitant price only to have the price lowered sooner rather than later?  Let someone else find out that Windows Vista has more kinks than you can count before you buy the new OS.

Don’t let technology take over your life. You can enjoy technology and use it to your advantage without being the guy with the phone stuck to his ear during the previews or at the dinner table. Life is meant to be lived, and computer time is just one part of that life.

Finally, ever underestimate what a little technology can do. In the past week or so I have made hotel reservations, found the cheapest price for gas, gotten directions and compared the best price options while shopping (simply by scanning the UPC code on my phone). I have looked up recipes, done research, even taken two college courses online.

Technology certainly has its place-unfortunately this time that was in the jaws of the same dog that destroyed the pillow below (before I got a crate and left him home alone for an hour). While I might be mellow about my Kindle, I can promise you my smart phone, camera and laptop are well protected.

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