Monday, December 31, 2012

March of Technology

I am spending the last few days of the year testing old gizmos. It was a way for me to see what was still working and try to revive these gadgets and use them in my quest to be more efficient. I wonder why I still keep them and not throw them away. I have been buying stuff admittedly with no intention to use immediately but in some future when everything is right in my life. After moving to my new home, I feel that I am now at that stage. Old equipment long shuttered because I did not have time to use suddenly can be used because there’s so much space that I can literally unpack theses old gadgets, line them on the floor and figure out their use in my strategy. I have used them in some way or another, then stowed away as obsolescence and new technology marched in to finally seal their demise. But I am a romantic and will try to find a way to revive their use.

Here is the breakdown of the old and used gizmos:

Casio Cassiopeia (one of the first Windows CE device)
Sony Clio
PALM device (one of the first PDA + phone combination)

Cell Phones
Various Nokia phones (with their own chargers)
O2 – one of the first Windows mobile phones (screen cracked last year when dropped in a motel in Flagstaff, Arizona after a visit to the Grand Canyon)
Samsung Galaxy – Android 2.4 smart phone replaces old cellphone +PDA

Canon Rebel SLR – old film camera
Sony – point and click, 3 megapixels
Panasonic – point and click, 5 megapixels

Video CAM
Creative mini – video CAM
JVC camera with DAT tape
Kodak water proof CAM

Sony e-reader – given to my son but now returned to me due to obsolescence
Archos 7 inch Android tablet

Presently, I have three old laptops in various states of working order: one Dell and two Acer laptops that I am converting to the test version of Windows 8. Additionally, two Lenovo laptops: one with the latest Windows 8 with touch screen and one provided by the office using Windows NT plus a tiny Lenovo computer connected to my 55 inch HDTV to watch shows in the Internet especially Google TV. I also have an Archos 7 inch Android 2.2 tablet used for general purpose internet surfing. To keep it all together, I use cloud computing services like Google apps and Dropbox to store my documents in the cloud. Essentially I can access any document I want from any device I have. Recently I purchased a used Canon DSLR so I can use the old camera lens and filter I bought together with my old analog camera and I also purchased a new 32 inch television with a camera so I can do video calls using Skype.

Keeping tabs with all these equipment can be confusing; I have spent several moments contemplating their use by multi-tasking with my reading and watching movies. I also surveyed all the other accessories that I have or given to my kids: wireless headphones, game consoles (Sony PS1, PS2 and PS3), phone ear sets (to wirelessly answer and make calls), camera tripods and a Panasonic voice recorder which I aim to use in my writing. I surveyed my plan to make my writing more efficient next year: Dragon Dictation software (for voice to text), microphone headsets, novel-writing software.

This is my writing strategy so far with the equipment I have:

Rough Draft:
Dragon dictation software
Panasonic voice recorder
Two or three laptops that I can use to put the rough draft in writing
Google document and Google Drive to store my drafts in the cloud
Various techniques like mind mapping and concepts in the book ‘Writing the Natural Way’
Join writer’s websites like Red Room to get feedback and criticism

Android tablet and television connected to the Internet or with internet apps
Sony Game consoles for role playing games like LA Noir and Dark Rain to get ideas on storytelling
Self-Development and Craft
Attend online writing courses like NYC Writing School
Do writing exercises from self-help books (Sol Stein, Stephen King, Ayn Rand)
Stick to a regular writing schedule

I have spent too much time procrastinating and I think the new home and surroundings will give me the environment to finally complete my work. I have gathered the hardware, software, attended writing classes and read DIY books, plus practiced writing enough to get the needed confidence. Last night I watched a documentary on Werner Erhard and est training, whose teachings is similar to Eckhart Tolle (a real German) whose main aim is self-transformation principally through the teaching of Buddhism. Aside from the craft of writing, one also needs some deeper understanding of the creative urges and how it becomes a part of one’s life. Erhard came as a surprise as I had been watching Joseph Campbell - a much superior thinker and philosopher – both influential thinkers in the 1970’s and 80s. I am also reading Logicomix a graphic novel about the life of Bertrand Russell – all providing insights in my current undertaking.  In a more immediate level I hope to read Andrew McCarthy’s articles to learn how he came to write his first book which I recently read.

It now seems that I am using technology to gain an advantage or perhaps in today’s age one cannot help but be a technologist because it’s a requirement of the times. The survey of all my gizmos also displays a materialism that one tries to avoid when following Buddhist principles; of Zen and the simple life. But nowadays new technology is like sex, providing a gratifying satisfaction in today’s stressful times. But perhaps it’s a way to get ahead, where being an adept in technology is like being an initiate in some secret teaching like a disciple of est or Tolle or Campbell. This is the link between being a gadget freak (or technologist) and being attracted to self-transformation thinkers – to find meaning in life by obtaining some sort of lead. The timeless solution then in both Christian and Eastern teaching is to live the simple life or a focused life devoted to action; free of useless thoughts. Revelation: I had prided myself in living a simple life but my possessions say otherwise.

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