Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Monday: Paramore - Decode (Unplugged)

Paramore - Decode (Unplugged)

and as a bonus, here is

Paramore - Misery Business (Unplugged)

First of all the music. I especially like Paramore. I would like to see them, if ever they come to town again. All weekend I have been racking my brain trying to think about a song, which talks about unplugging and then it hit me, unplugged, more correctly, MTV Unplugged. I remember it from years ago and apparently they are still doing it. There is something so very intimate about a small stage, a small crowd and the nakedness of no musical tricks, big amps and mixers.

I got a new shiny sparkly iPhone this week. The white one. I also got a smart black and white checkered case for it. I have decided after much hemming and hawing that I am an Apple girl. I have tried PCs, both by choice and because that is what the brokerage house had on my desk and honestly, Apple is better. It just is. I think they make a better laptop to be sure. I also think they make gadgets for the end user who wants to go and not have to over think it.

I am a tech girl. I am not afraid of tech, I like it. I have been embracing new technology most of my adult life but only if it enhances my life. In college, during the summers I stayed in Oxford, I kept in touch with H and a few other friends via email. The old fashion way. I had to go to the computer lab in the basement of the science library. It was dark and loud, dot matrix printers printing furiously.It was mainframe based and a total pain. It was also faster than snail mail from a small town.

My host brother and I stopped faxing at this point, which had seemed very techie and way faster than international mail. Email made the world faster and smaller.

As we approached our senior year of college, the Internet was taking root and I was emailing from an apple desktop unit and I had traded in my typewriter for a computer. I had a cute case for the 3 inches hard disks. I wrote my senior honors project on H's computer, only back then there wasn't enough memory to handle the photos, so I had to do it the old fashion way. Now, I seldom, if ever print pictures. My snapshots all collated on a flash drive, as jPeg files.

Imagine my surprise, when I went to temp at the brokerage firm, only to see it was a huge step back. They did not have email - at all. They had IBM 240 or some such old fashioned machines, with crazy bad graphics and green screens. Nothing like the beautiful Apple 2e H had at home. I wrote rejection letters and other letters on a typewriter. It was sad. It was a few years before this changed.The change was a big deal and honestly, it was a nice upgrade, but still way behind anything I was doing at home on our Apple.

When Palm Pilots became the thing, I gladly traded in my bulky Franklin Planner. The sleek Palm was way easier to haul around. After my first over sized cell phone, I went for a flip phone and loved it. It actually fit in my pocket. Then I combined the Palm Pilot and the phone and had the dual Palm/Phone combo.

H and I tried Vonage and aside from some spotty service, we loved the VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol.)  Our cable is currently bundled with our phone service. We are wireless and I have a PC laptop, but when it dies I am returning to the world of Apple. I think the PC is clunky and as much as I love technology I love it to work. I do not want to massage it. I am happy having someone else decide how it should work. I feel no need to customize. I want to plug in, work, be done and go. I want technology to work for me and NOT the other way around. I am, at the end of the day, an end user.

So image how sad I was last week. I was bouncy happy as we left Verizon, my brand new iPhone in hand. Only to discover my business email, the one that is through my website, just would not work on the iPhone, no matter how I tried to stand on my head. I spent 1.5 hours on the phone with tech support and then made a special trip back to Verizon on Friday. As we left the store, L said: " Oh Mom, just get a new email address already and be done with it." Rolling her eyes in complete exasperation.

At first I thought, no I want this to work. Later in the day, I decided she was right. Really, I want my friends to be able to find me, but with the advent of Facebook and the related apps, Twitter and the related apps and text, is email really that important. I have my personal email on the phone and it functioned just fine. My business is purposefully slow at the moment, why was I hung up on adding an email addy, to my new phone, which basically collects twitter and facebook notices. I have apps for that.

That got me thinking about all the SPAM and then the email clutter I get. None of it is important. I don't read it, I spend so much time trashing this virtual crap. Why not just be done with it. Unplug as my friend K joked as we took a bike ride the other day.

Is it really necessary to be so plugged in?

Was I working for technology or was technology working for me.

H texted last night and asked me what the verdict was on my iPhone - and I told him I was keeping it. I love it and I do. Why wouldn't I? I love my iPod touch. I have learned the system, I know about the apps, I have my music, my phone, and everything all in one. I am on the VZ network, no more looking and hoping to find free wi-fi. The iPhone loads faster than my Blackberry. Has a way better functionality. Does more and links up to the Apple desktop.

So while Paramore is singing about a man, I think this transition from my crackberry to iPhone has helped me decode, what it is I need or want in terms of connectedness and my ability to interact with the world around me. As I commented on a friend's blog post, sometimes we have to clean our virtual closets in the same way we clean our regular closets. It is easy to get overwhelmed by information and various information delivery systems. Some days I feel over-saturated with information.

I also think that technology can be Misery Business. Just as in the song, it can "hook us by the mouth" and keep us "right where it wants us." It is easy to drown in the sea of information around us. So powerful the Internet and also so uncontrollable if we lose sight of the fact that it is up to us to control it and use that information on our own terms. We are the brain behind the smart phone.

So for a while last week, I felt that my smart phone had in fact made me dumb, however today, I realize it might have been the kick in the pants I needed. I had been drowning in useless information, which I ultimately control. My smart phone is a tool, it works for me, not the other way around.

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