Friday, February 20, 2009

Nosy Technology and 'Emo' Operating Systems

This is just a quick housekeeping post, and I apologize in advance for its presumption, but many people have emailed me wondering how to comment at this website and/or subscribe to keep track of it, so I thought I’d walk you through a few options. It may or may not apply to you, and considering that I recently had a full-fledged meltdown trying to convert downloaded avi files to DVD (not one, not two, but four people had to walk me though it online), the irony that I’m tutoring you is not lost on me. But we’ll just plow forward, shall we?

The easiest way to comment on the blog is to register with Blogger. I don’t know why…it just makes them happy. At least it’s easy, and free, and to the best of my recollection, they’ve never spammed me with anything as a consequence for joining their ranks. You don’t have to start a blog of your own, just create an identity. If you don’t want to do that however, you can comment anonymously, although some people have told me that function hasn’t worked properly in the past.

If you’d prefer, you can always comment to me via good old fashioned email, or on Facebook or Livejournal, whichever you haunt. (Goodness, I’m online everywhere, aren’t I? Overexposure, much?) But the bottom line is that comments are lovely, but I never expect them. Of greater importance to me is simply that you read and enjoy, so never worry over it.

As for easily following the blog, there are a couple of options. On the right-hand margin of the page, just below the links I recommend is a “Subscribe to the NNT” button. I’ve set that up so that if your homepage is Google (as mine is…but we’ve already covered my love affair with Google, haven’t we?) or Yahoo, or a selection of others, a link to new posts will automatically appear there for you.

Just above the ‘Subscribe’ button is a 'Follow this Blog' button, which you can use if you’ve already joined Blogger. New posts will appear on your Blogger 'dashboard', whatever that means. I don‘t use that option, since I‘m at my homepage much more often than I‘m at the default page for Blogger.

When all else fails, you can always bookmark the blog, saving it to your favorites. But then you have to check it manually for new entries. I try to post once or more a week, but I know I'm a bit sporatic. Here’s what I wish I could set up: an email notification. Personally, I’d love to be notified by email when my favorite blogs update. Would that be helpful to any of you? Is there a way to do that? If anyone knows, please tell me!

Truth be told, I have a very erratic internet IQ: some days I’m on, HTML just rolling off the tongue, and others…well, I seem to come up against roadblocks at every turn: Your password is incorrect, You‘ve already registered with this email address, This file cannot be opened with this application. I always kind of squint at the screen, trying to decide whether my computer is secretly having a laugh at my expense. I blame my somewhat computer-awkward generation: I grew up with word processors and Wite Out. Remember Wite Out? (No 'h', I checked.) Is it even still on the market, or do kids today just think it‘s extremely retro nail polish?

Because kids are frighteningly web-savvy, aren‘t they? It's scares me sometimes, how firmly embedded (no pun intended) internet pop culture is woven into their vernacular. Case in point: Calvin was trying to describe one of his classmates to Nate the other day, thinking he might also know him. Even after hearing his first and last name, Nate didn‘t have a clue.

Toby’s suggestion? “Calvin! What’s his username?”

And remarkably enough, that did clear things up. (He’s Dragonboy22 on Adventure Quest Worlds. Everyone went: Ohhhhh! Him! With the staff...and the helm...sure, sure.)

And does anyone else find it both strangely reassuring and unnerving when our technology talks to us, or odder yet, reads our minds? Vista greets me every day: “Good afternoon!” And Facebook suggests friends for me while gmail offers links on a sidebar in real time as I compose email. Talking about moving? it prompts. No, actually, the other person was, but gmail doesn’t seem to pick up on the finer nuances of the written language. Here! Look! Real estate listings within a ten mile radius of your house! It butts in when I'm chatting with a friend about my abysmal cooking, too: Cooking classes online! Dream Dinners...two locations to serve you! Hey now! Is pointing out the obvious really necessary? Also? Gmail should know my kids won't eat Dream Dinners...wasn't I just saying so to my sister last week? Or weren't they eavesdropping that time? It's enough to send your mind reeling back to high school: who knows what? Who's talked to whom? It's like a soap opera in my laptop.

And I'm getting paranoid, because I'm now certain I detect a hint of sarcasm in my operating system's current tone: Windows Explorer is unable to connect at this time. It’s probably because at the moment, I’m posting from my parents’ house, piggybacking on the neighbor’s WiFi. What? They really should secure that connection.

In other news, iTunes has just detected it’s not our default media player. Oh boy. Cue the drama. But poor iTunes. I never wanted them to find out this way.
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