Category Archives: technology


Image courtesy of Gawker

It occurs to me that I might have an addiction. To purchasing magazines. Seriously. I cannot get enough of them. I “only” subscribe to four, but I sure do a great job of pretending I subscribe to others.

Every month, I look forward to opening my mailbox and seeing Style at Home, Oxygen, Clean Eating and Canadian Living.

Every time I’m in the store, I look for new issues of Today’s Parent, Parenting, House and Home, Kitchens, Better Homes and Gardens, Fitness, Fitness RX, Shape, Health, Best Health, so on and so forth. Our coffee table is piled high with back issues. As is my nightstand.

I heart magazines. I heart thumbing through their pages. I heart looking at their designs. I heart reading through their stories and perusing their images. They keep me company on the treadmill and stationary bike, at the doctor’s office, when I’m nursing my small child and when I’m kicking back on the couch.

Perhaps I should look into an e-Reader and score some electronic subscriptions. But then I’d be giving up the actual art of thumbing through a magazine.

I’m not sure I’m ready for that.


Anyone have e-Reader suggestions? Do you subscribe to magazines? Love it? Hate it?

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Music with a message

This past week, I’ve been listening a lot to 89.3 WYSZ Toledo, better known as YES FM (, a Christian Hit Radio Station servicing Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. I was extremely grateful, when I moved north (way farther north than Toledo), to find out that I could take my favorite radio station with me, thanks to the Internet and live-streaming capabilities.

I can’t even remember when I began listening to YES FM. It’s been many years. Probably since I began driving and it caught the attention of my car’s antenna. I’ve always gravitated toward positive and uplifting music, perhaps because I’ve been a Christian for much of my life. I know a lot of people believe music is simply music and has no bearing on one’s psyche or actions. I disagree. And, I tend to think that the things we fill our heads and hearts with eventually get filtered out through our actions.

Anyway, what attracted me to YES FM, beyond it being a Christian station, was its playlist. Its playlist went beyond hymns and praise and worship and contemporary Christian tunes, to artists on the fringe, artists in the rock and hip-hop genres, and, in general, artists who could strike a chord with young people.

How could you not strike a chord with band names like Thousand Foot Crutch, Demon Hunter, Newsboys, Fireflight, Stellar Kart, Day of Fire and R-Swift? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with The Maranatha! Singers, mind you, but, come on, Paper Tongues? How cool and hip is that?

But, it’s not just the names of the bands. It’s their songs and the messages behind them that make for an excellent combination, especially when it comes to reaching out to our youth. Songs of hope, forgiveness, faith, desperation, grace and the like are set to rock and hip-hop beats.

I know what you’re thinking: “Christian rock? Give me a break.” But, God reaches people every day in a lot of different ways. I don’t think using rock music is beneath him. And, more than ever, our young people need positive influences in their lives, so why not Christian rock music? Why not moving and grooving songs that focus on Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us?

This week is a Sharathon week for the station. As a listener-supported station, the deejays have been hard at work conveying to its listeners the importance of reaching our youth. YES FM isn’t just a radio station. It’s a ministry, and one that is set on winning the hearts of our youth for Jesus Christ. And, in today’s culture, our young people need all the love and support they can get. For some, that comes in the form of words and songs spoken and sung on YES FM.

I can’t think of a better cause to give to than that.

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My brothers’ parents and technology

Why the FBI never issued my mother a gun. And what I imagine Mom to look like behind her computer. If she were an angry sort of person. Which she's not.

Why the FBI never issued my mother a gun. And what I imagine Mom to look like behind her computer. If she were an angry sort of person. Which she's not.

My brothers’ parents have come a long, long way with regard to their technological savvy. Really they have.

There was a time when their mother had to be convinced that just because her new laptop had wireless capabilities did not mean she could travel without her battery pack. But it’s wireless! she’d say. Yes, Mom. It is. But your battery life is not. Dad decided his life was easier by just staying away. And, for a period of time, he did. Until he got a laptop.

[We shant go waaay back to the age of the first desktop configuration. No, we won’t.]

There was that time with the new cell phone. Mom decided to branch out and take on this new mobile technology, as all of her children had been using it for years. Her daughter received the first call. And first hang-up. Every time I answered my phone, Mom hung up. On the third call, I yelled MOM! DON’T HANG UP! into the receiver.

Mom: Hello? Jill? Is that you?
Me: Mom. Why are you hanging up on me?
Mom: Well, every time I call you, the phone suddenly says “In Use” so I hang up because I figure someone is using it.
Me (laughing till I practically cry): Mom. Someone is using it. YOU are using it. To talk to me.
Mom: Oh.

Dad, too, “gave in” and got a phone. He was pretty good other than being annoyed with how tiny the numbers were. He did need some help setting up the voice mail, so I dialed everything, whispered “Are you ready?” and then handed him his phone at the appropriate moment. Which is why his voicemail says, “OK…yes, this is John…”

And there was that time(s) with the e-mail-related question. Mom often takes turns calling her children during the workday to ask computer-related questions, similar to the following:

Mom: Jill! My e-mail won’t send with the attachments. You told me how to attach the photos, and I attached them just like you said, and it won’t send. Help!
Me: Look at the line that says “To:” What do you have typed in there?
Mom: Nothing. It’s blank.
Me: Uh, you have to insert someone’s e-mail address.
Mom: Oh.

And the times when one of us kids would help locate a folder (inadvertently moved from elsewhere) or figure out a Picasa photo question. Or a solution to any one of a hundred other questions. The answers are scribbled down on notes lying all around the computer desk. Ah, Mom and Dad. You make me smile.

And now, the text messaging has commenced. You may remember reading about the very first text message Mom sent to me. I wrote about it here.

Since that day (and the add on of a text messaging package to her carrier’s plan), Mom has been texting her children steadily with perfect use of texting abbreviations. Really! She’s a crafty abbreviator. Perhaps because of her former work with the FBI and use of shorthand. Wherever your skills come from, good job, Mom!

This week, as Mom and Dad traveled to visit their eldest son, my phone along with my two other brothers’ phones lit up. We knew where they were at all times.

Beans done Going to TX tomoro. Start 900a
We’re in Indy heading to Indianapolis
Your father’s response: What r they thinking? and Only 2 mr turns
Txt wrng number Ur father is drivng again
Pasd the arch
Had KFC Walmart Sullivan MO
60 mile Ft Worth
WE R HERE: Forgot to txt
Just had DQ Grl scout thn mnt

And that’s just some texts from my phone. I kinda felt like I was traveling with them.

My brother Joshua received the text that proved even Dad was embracing this latest technological venture with open arms:

I On vacation dad

Which caused Joshua to post a Facebook status in Dad’s honor:

I will always remember where I was the day that my dad sent me a text message for the first time: “I On vacation dad” Thanks Dad. For attempting to embrace modern technology. And for reminding me that you are on vacation. I want to be just like you when I get big.

A day later, I received a text from Dad.

Day two vacation in texas dad”. Coming from Mom’s cell phone. I didn’t ask who typed it. Because it really doesn’t matter.

Congratulations to Dad! Who, by the way, is now also an active Internet surfer and user of all-things-Google-search. I’ve heard rumors that he’s even sending e-mails. Usually to Joshua to let him know when he (Dad) is on vacation.

I wonder what’ll be next? Smart phones for the both of them? With one (or all) of their sons’ numbers on speed dial?

You graduated from high school with my mom, and you’re on Facebook?

facebookOK, I wasn’t going to, but I fully admit that I recently signed back on to my Facebook account after a three-week hiatus. You may remember reading about how I signed off not all that long ago.

I’m pretty certain that during the time I signed off, every newspaper and magazine I picked up had some story about Facebook and the love/hate relationship it strikes with its users. You love it because it connects you with so many people; you hate it because it connects you with so many people.

In February, a Time magazine story aptly titled “Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies” noted that many, many older individuals are flocking to the site causing much angst among tweens and teenagers as their grandparents attempt to “friend” them.

On Tuesday, I posted a link to Fiance’s rockin’ proposal on my Facebook status. In my Facebook inbox this morning, I had a note from a woman whose last name I recognized but whose face I couldn’t place. Posted at 8:28 a.m., the note read:

<no subject>

you certainly are a beautiful young lady, could your mother be Jane?? Jane graduated with my spouse was just wonderin, oh and congrats on the diamond very stunning

My initial thoughts  included: WHAT? Did I really just receive a Facebook message from someone my mom’s age?  She graduated from high school in 1968! This woman has to be nearing or perhaps in her 60s. She’s on Facebook?

[Not that people in their almost 60s can’t be on Facebook…]

I was reminded of a few months back when some of my cousins signed on to Facebook and started posting photos of their small children. My mom, ever interested in updated family photos, heard from one of them that “Oh, sure you can see photos! There are some on Facebook.”

That led my mother to call me and ask, “What’s this Facebook all about?”

To which I said, “No, Mom.”

I did reply to the woman.

Ha! Yes, Jane is my mom. You would not be the first who has said, “Your mom has to be Jane —–.” We must look similar. Thanks for the congrats!

Mom, if you want a Facebook account, you’ll need to contact one of your former classmates. Or one of my brothers. After all, they’re really the online-social-networking-saavy ones in the family.

A text message from Mom

cm_textalerts1My mom is not a text messager. She does not text message. Text messages mean nothing to her.

Today, I got a text message from Mom: “FWD: FWD: FWD: Do not go to any walmart tonight. Gang initiation to shoot 3 women tonight. Not sure which walmart. And confirmed on tv. Send to all girls in your phone.” (sic)

I looked at the phone number that sent the text and thought, “What?! Mom sent this to me?” I then thought: (a) Mom just sent me a text; (b) Mom NEVER sends texts; (c) I wonder who explained to Mom how to send this text; (d) It’s not just a text, it’s a forwarded text; and (e) Who explained to Mom how to forward a text? Never mind the perilous danger I could be in. Mom sent a text!

So, I called Mom, who explained her sister’s daughter had sent her sister the text message, and my aunt then forwarded it onto Mom who felt it her duty to send it to the women in her cell phone but then decided that might be too many women, so she sent it to her daughter and one daughter-in-law.

“Well, Mom,” I said, wondering simultaneously if she knew her other daughters-in-law had Wal-Marts near them, “Erica and I appreciate you keeping us from being shot at tonight.” Mom couldn’t give me any other details about what my cousin had heard, so I called #1 News Source, who did some investigating and turned up a news report, which you can read here.

Apparently, police officials have been working overtime to quash the latest rumors of supposed gang initiations at big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. These rumors have been floating about the Internet since 2005.

I called Mom back to report my findings. She laughed a bit and then told me about the escapades of one of my nephews who is staying with her and dad for a few days. As I said my good-byes, Mom says, “Have yourself a good evening. Oh, and you should stay away from Wal-Mart anyway. Just in case.”

“No worries, Mom. I’m heading to Meijer.” I can report I did NOT get shot at while walking around Meijer.



My TV will see another day

Half of Congress voted Thursday to postpone the switch from analog to digital television broadcasting. This is, like, close to the best news ever seeing as how I do not have cable, nor do I own a digital converter box. I don’t even have a government-issued $40 coupon with which to consider purchasing said device.

For at least four more months, I will be able to continue my daily, five-minute, local-television-watching habit, thus maintaining my ability to dress appropriately for the weather.

During those same five minutes, I’ll get to hear exactly just how many days really remain until the switch, along with the new number of jobs slashed the day before and the ginormously giant stimulus package(s) that is going to save the day and pay to build and furnish a new Homeland Security Office.

If only the American government made sense. Or had sense. Either would be nice.

Is life without Internet access really life?

What did people do before the Internet? The fact that I’m asking that question proves I’m MUCH too dependent on it for my day-to-day existence. Seriously.

My work life slowed to a crawl today when I arrived at my office to find a transformer had blown across town and rendered the network and phones useless. My co-workers and I looked at each other and pondered what projects we could work on without the network. Project A? Saved to my personal network drive. Incapacitated. Project B? Requires me to check my e-mail. No dice. Project C? Need to access a public network drive. Isn’t going to happen. Project D? Need to make a phone call. Sigh.

Co-worker 1: “I’m going to make a to-do list.”
Co-worker 2: “I have some reading I can catch up on.”
Co-worker 3: “I can’t function!”

No, I wasn’t Co-worker 3. I promise! But, I did briefly think about what life was like in prehistoric, pre-Internet times when networking simply meant meeting new people. Before technology ran rampant and changed the way we all think and function. My job without the Internet and networking capabilities would be a hundred times more time-consuming. Would I be worse off? Not life-threateningly so. But now that I’ve not only had a taste of the super information highway, but immersed myself in it, I expect it. I expect technology and the Internet to work at all times, and when it doesn’t, that’s an aggravation. One that I don’t have time for.

How did I get to this point? How did society get to this point? The point where we NEED technology to exist and be available at all times. Who knows?

Maybe I’ll search Google for the answer to that question.