Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

March 18, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: Loving the technology — sort of : 03/19/13

GREENUP — I refuse to have a cellphone smarter than me. That’s why I still have the now old-fashioned kind with a slide-out keyboard for texting and buttons to press if I want to check my voice mail.

For Christmas, my granddaughter bought me a gizmo that can be hooked into a place in my car to play my favorite tunes. Yes, I have to download them off a computer, which I’ve finally figured out how to do, but this little electronic tablet does more than just play music.

It lets me go onto the Internet to check my e-mail and social media sites, lets me store pictures and other things I might like to share and has useful features like a calendar and alarm. Honestly, it’s a dandy little piece of technology considering that it’s about the size of my palm.

In the right hands, I’m sure it would be invaluable. But I still use address books and calendars and like putting pictures in photo albums.

That doesn’t mean I’m not agreeable to modernization. You won’t hear me moaning about how the old days of being awakened by roosters were so much better. I am quite fond of my digital alarm clock with its snooze button and battery back-up, thank you very much.

When I bought a different car a few months ago, I jumped 12 years ahead, from a 1996 to a 2008. The fanciest feature on that old blue Chevy was the button that opened the trunk. The new blue Chevy has so many fancy features that I’m sure some are still undiscovered.

Since I often travel long distances, I really like the six-CD player and interval wipers on the back window. I enjoy having satellite radio and power everything.

I’m also quite aware that mine is not the fanciest version of this particular model. I don’t have heated seats or a DVD player, no individual stereo controls or anything of that super-duper nature.

I do, though, have this great little info button on the steering wheel. By pressing it time after time, I can be regaled with useful factoids like the pressure in each tire, my average speed, my mileage on this particular trip, how close I am to needing an oil change and, my favorite one of all, when my gas mileage is at that particular second.

My good friends already know how thrilled with the remote start which lets me fire up the car from inside when it’s frigid outside. Being no fan of cold weather, I love being able to dash out and settle into a nice warm vehicle.

Until a year or so ago, I didn’t pay for my TV channels. Instead I grabbed what I could off the HD channels that come through the air, made possible by living at the top of a hill. I was able to get 14 channels on a good day, eight or 10 if the weather was iffy, and that was fine with me. But when my college-attending granddaughter moved into the fixed-up basement, she couldn’t get a single channel. And being a loving Nana, I gave up and got the kind with a dish outside.

OK, I’ll admit it — I love having all those channels. There’s nothing better on a chilly winter day than settling into my recliner with a bowl of homemade soup and a throw for an hour or two of viewing.

And absolutely nothing worse than getting that “signal lost” message that means I have to bundle up, go out and sweep the snow off the stupid dish.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net.

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