Saturday, January 13, 2007

Technology Fatigue

I have technology fatigue. I just don't feel like learning yet more arcane things that will become outdated and change once I master them. For example, I am the only person in this household who has not learned how to use the DVR cable box yet.

Mark is the only person I know who can write a two-page "Home Theatre Operation (Fundamentals)" in 10 point font, single spaced with a straight face. If those are just the fundamentals, how much more is there to learn? Come to think of it, how can someone who can write a whole page about managing screen aspect ratios not remember where we keep the extra cleaning supplies?

Iris has that child-like facility to master electronics just by playing with them. That's what makes her such a good beta tester of consumer electronics. Read improvising for proof.

Me? I know how to open a book.

Readers of Mark's new blog know that he got an iPod for the holidays. Once he had ripped his entire CD collection into iTunes, I thought our household would go back to normal. Wishful thinking. Then he wanted to listen to the iPod in the car. However, my sister had warned us that the wireless iPod transmitters are not useful in urban areas due to FM interference. Mark bought a cassette adapter but quickly rejected that because of the terrible sound quality.

A friend, the one who brings home electronics (meant for adults) for children to beta-test, told Mark about a product that allows one to hook up an iPod USB port to the CD changer input inside the dashboard. We don't have a CD changer so that input would be available for this doohickey. Mark went online and ordered it right away. Mark is a bit of a klutz. I told him to please, please, don't open the dashboard without the help of this friend.

Unfortunately, this doohickey arrived a couple of days ago--during the Consumer Electronics Show. The engineer friend always presents his company's new wares at CES. Of course, Mark couldn't wait until next week and had to pull apart the dashboard right away. OK, he waited until after dinner.

The installation, even without the help of a consumer electronics engineer, seemed to go OK. Aside from the long black cable hanging out from the top of the dash, he couldn't put it somewhere less obtrusive, the dashboard looks the same as before. He dropped a screw but we hope it landed in a harmless place. The thing worked! When I went to bed that night, I left my Mark sitting in the minivan in the garage, rocking out.

Fast forward to the next morning. Flustered, as usual, I couldn't find my keys. When I did find my keys, the engine wouldn't turn over. The ignition just made ominous clicking noises. Yet, the electrical system appeared to be functional; the radio and the lights worked. I called Mark to tell him about this development. He was about to step into a meeting and said he would deal with it later.

I checked my watch and realized with a sinking feeling that I had just missed a bus. I grabbed my coffee mug and walked to Starbuck's, making a slight detour to the post office first because I had time to kill. Because it was such a beautiful day, I kept walking along the bus route while enjoying the coffee. By the time I got to work, I was much calmer.

The high winds and record cold snap produced two gorgeous days. The light has a special quality, like in paintings of Venice. Yesterday, during physical therapy, I watched the alpenglow wash across the snow-capped San Gabriel mountain range in the distance with the skyscrapers of Century City and Downtown Los Angeles in the foreground. I didn't have a camera available, but the colors of this photo are close.

That's all folks.


  1. I had noticed that the colors of the sky were particularly pretty the last couple of days. But, like you, I had no camera.

  2. Maybe I was too quick to make fun of the opus on screen aspect ratios. I remembered that I have a book about map projections in my office.


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