Tech-Related Bandwagons I Have Hopped On

Here's a follow-up to yesterday's post, Tech-Related Bandwagons I've Skipped.

I'm not anti-tech. I'm not tech-obsessed. In fact, I'm perhaps slightly ahead of my time on a few things here and there. I'll save the mistimed technological pickups for the next post. Here's some of the appropriately timed adoptions.

- DVR/PVR technology -
A friend put together a homebrew personal video recorder a few years back, before most people had head of such a thing. I had a home theatre PC well ahead of the trend. And it's been one of the most world-changing things I've had in the house. Skipping commercials and pre-planning TV watching has been phenomenal.

- Roomba the Robot Vacuum Cleaner -
As close as I may ever come to living in the Jetsons world. Having the robot do the cleaning is a treat! Entertaining, too.

- BlackBerry -
I started using a BlackBerry for work back before they had model numbers ... back when it was just the RIM BlackBerry. It had just a few lines of black and white text, was roughly the size of a pager and ran on a single AA battery. Now I sport a BlackBerry 6290 (I think) -- the blue-plastic, semi-colour screen. Among handhelds, it's considered an antique now.

- Blogging -
I'm not a particularly prolific or famous blogger -- big whoop, I have half a dozen people (who probably know me personally) subscribed by RSS -- but I've been at it longer than some of the heavyweights. Live on the bloggah since 2005.

- Ipod, Itunes, Podcasting -
I got my ipod nano well after the first waves of ipod popularity. And not long after trying it out for music, someone suggested listening to podcasts. I started with Grammar Girl back in her early days, and now podcasts are almost all I listen to. I get CBC shows such as DNTO, Quirks & Quarks and Search Engine ... Quick & Dirty podcasts including Grammar Girl, Money Girl and Get-It-Done Guy ... funny stuff like Smodcast featuring Kevin Smith and You Look Nice Today featuring Scott Simpson ... financial stuff like Dave Ramsey and The Disciplined Investor ... and personal growth material such as Zencast. It makes the bus rides very educational.

- BitTorrent -
I was on Napster ... I was on that other file-sharing thing that came afterward ... and now I love BitTorrent more than any of it.

- The Networked Home -
As has been extensively documented here, the new house is wired with Cat6 cable, so I'm thoroughly prepared for the future.

(ten?) Tech-Related Bandwagons I Skipped

Some people think of me as a cutting-edge tech geek. That just ain't true. I was, perhaps, an ahead-of-my-time nerd in the 1980s, but I've opted not to take part in many of the tech fads of the modern era. Here are the big ones that come to mind.

- Facebook -

I'm not on the facebook. It often seems like I'm the only one. Social networks sound like fun, but I've never been particularly social, so I've yet to see the use. One day I might.


- Twitter -

I honestly don't see the point. I know it's the big cool thing now, but I really really don't get the fuss. I'm neither a tweeter nor a follower.


- Skype -

I love the idea of it. Free long distance. Quality voice connections. Multi-party conversations. Videophone. Free free free. But I've never installed it because I don't know if anyone else I know would install it too.


- Instant Messaging -

Remember ICQ? AIM? MSN? What IM app is cool these days? Damned if I know. I got online chatting out of my system back when IRC was entirely text-based and required arcane commands.


- MySpace -

I'm not even sure what it's for. I think it has something to do with music. But every time I've happened upon a MySpace page, it's looked ugly. Very ugly. Ugly and chaotic with pages of weird-looking people saying "thanks for adding me". I'd like to have people listen to my music, and I'm sure it'd put me in touch with some interesting people, but ... ick.


- RSS -

Sounds like a great idea -- to have all the blogs and web sites I visit aggregated in one place. But I've never figured it all out. Even though I offer it here (please subscribe via the button on the right), and endorse its power and awesomeness to anyone who would ask (no one ever has), I don't use it myself.

- Bluetooth -
I understand it can let you use your cell phone without pulling out your cell phone. Me, I don't mind pulling out my cell phone the rare time I need to make a call.


- Text messaging -

I use it to reply to reporters in the field when I'm at the editor's desk, but that's about it. I see these kids tap-tap-tapping away on their phonemachine gadgets. Meh.


- Cameraphones -

If my phone had a camera, I'd use it. But I'm using what's now an 'antique' Blackberry, and it has no phone. I've been using Blackberries since before Blackberries had model numbers -- back when it was just the black-and-white, pager-sized, a few lines of text RIM BlackBerry.


- Linux -

If I were really a geek, I'd know something about Linux. All I know is that I don't use it, but came close to trying it last summer when uninstalling Norton crippled Windows XP to the point that I spent many many hours on the phone with Microsoft's overseas tech support.


- Car -

I've never had a car. I've had a driver's licence, but that's about it.


Check in soon for some tech trends I *have* heartily embraced.

Basement spiders, kitchen ants

The home has been invaded by insects.

A brown spider in the basement, crawling around near the back door on the boot rack.
Above is one of the spiders that I've been finding in the basement near the back door. My kitty has been vigilant on spider-watching duty, although she's a complete slacker on spider-eating duty.

What kind of spider is this? I'm not an expert on spiders. In fact, they kind of creep me out.

The kitchen has been invaded by small ants. We've laid out four ant traps, but I'm running out of patience with this whole "oh, they'll take the poison back to their secret ant lair and they'll all have a fatal feast" method. I don't want ants on my cutting board, dishwasher, countertop .. anywhere. It's kinda gross.

I've asked around and apparently this ant/spider thing is a springtime tradition in Halifax. The ants are just a little early this year. One feller told me that we'll be grateful for the spiders in about two weeks, when the blackfly invasion begins. That'll last about two weeks. And judging by the contents of our mailbox, we're in for a junebug invasion later. (The evidence is a mailbox full of last year's junebugs.)

Why I'm sore today; or, Go Leafs Go

Mom and dad drove out to see the new home and help tick a big pile of things off our household to-do list. Now the upstairs toilet works, the deck won't fall down, the shed has power, the closet doors close without falling off, we have four smoke alarms and a CO detector, a working fireplace, electrically safe outlets outside, fewer cords sticking out here and there, a ceiling fan in the bedroom, a handrail going downstairs, a front door that locks, and tremendous peace of mind.

I thank them enormously for the loving gift of their time, expertise and company.

They also brought down some gifts from Amanda's Ontario bridal shower (thank you everyone!!!!!) ... and an assortment of tools, including a fan rake.

I went nuts with the rake. The former owners clearly gave up on landscaping and yard maintenance last fall, so I commenced raking up the leaves. What you see before me is at least 30 (I can't count) bags full of yard debris. I could have filled more, but it started raining around the time my muscles finally gave up.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

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