Tuesday Tech Miscellany

Yesterday (Monday) I wrestled with my internet connection all day long. Studly was traveling, and I didn’t want to exacerbate the technical issues by doing something stupid in his absence. Instead, I was mostly tech free all day, and it was kind of nice.

My understanding of WiFi and connectivity and the million other little things that go into making my devices communicate smoothly is limited. I know that some of the little lights on my home router need to be flashing while others need to remain constant, but beyond that I’m lost. Thank goodness Studly Doright arrived home in time last evening to tell me how to fix the problem. (Basically I had to unplug the router, count to five, and plug it back in.) My hero!

Speaking of being lost, one of the things I like best about my Apple Watch is the gps feature. When I ask Siri for directions to a location, my watch will sync up and provide brief instructions as well as a pleasant buzz on my wrist as I approach a turn.

For some reason, though, on Saturday´┐╝ the watch lost its ability to guide me. I was heading to an estate sale using iPhone guidance and kept driving mile after mile waiting for the friendly buzz to indicate I needed to turn. Finally, I pulled into a parking lot and realized the watch wasn’t doing it’s part, and I was stuck with just the phone instructions. Plus, I was way north of Tallahassee. Not lost, but not where I needed to be either.

When I returned home I googled possible remedies to the situation, but none of them bore fruit. I figured I’d need to seek out some technical assistance at a local tech shop. Then this morning I noticed the little airplane icon on my watch. Hmmm. Had I accidentally switched it to airplane mode?

Why, yes. Yes, I had, and as soon as I figured out how to take it out of airplane mode the gps was back in business. I literally just asked Siri for directions to Trader Joe’s and my watch responded with a turn suggestion. It’s a bit confusing since I’m still inside my home, but still, I’m back in business.

Now, at the risk of making myself seem even more foolish, my car has a gps built in. Yes, I could, and often do, use it for directions. But it doesn’t buzz on my arm. I like the buzz.

No, not that Buzz; although, the wallpaper on my Apple Watch can be set to Toy Story.

To infinity and beyond! Or to Trader Joe’s. Whichever is closest.

Peace, people.

Good Morning from Houston

It’s Saturday morning, and a fine one as far as I can tell. My daughter and I arrived at my brother’s home in Houston within minutes of each other around five on Friday. She flew in from Des Moines, Iowa, while I drove from Florida and, voila! Here we are.

For a good twenty minutes yesterday I wasn’t sure I was going to get here at all. My gps took me on some rabbit chasing adventure just outside of Beaumont, Texas, and soon I was bouncing along on backroads, some covered in gravel, some partially barricaded, and one completely blocked to traffic. It was obvious that the gps had lost its freaking mind and that I would most likely die alone at the end of this middle of nowhere dirt lane.

I sat and thought for a few minutes then realized I needed to backtrack and just find the damned interstate again. No need to get all melodramatic; although, part of me wondered what future archaeologists might conclude when they found my skeleton sitting upright in my Mazda hundreds or even thousands of years from now.

“Probably senile. Right age. Car had evidence consisting of junk food wrappers and plastic cups that once most likely contained diet Coke. I guess she didn’t remember her Mazda had a reverse gear. Poor girl.”

As I backtracked I realized that the gps had most likely tried to help me avoid some traffic issue on the interstate and didn’t factor in that roads around Beaumont, like the one it directed me to, had been seriously impacted by the flooding that accompanied last year’s hurricanes. Guardrails were warped and in some places lay mangled on both sides of the road, and there were places so degraded that I couldn’t drive on the correct side of the road without endangering my safety. Intense!

When I finally made it back to an entrance ramp for I-10 West, I breathed a sigh of relief and completed the rest of my journey without incident. I hugged my daughter and my brother and my sister-in-law, then we went out for drinks and dinner and more drinks and had just a wonderful evening dining alfresco in one of the best cities in the world.

I slept like a drunken sailor and am now up and ready to continue my journey, as my daughter, Ashley and I drive to San Antonio for the NCAA men’s Final Four basketball tournament starting tonight! Just to be safe, I’m putting Ashley in charge of navigation.

Peace, people!

Interstate Parking Lots–a Sonnet

more than 800 miles stretched before us
upon leaving home early this morning
with 300 strong horses to serve us
we conquered the road, 4 wheels a’turning

but summer’s freeways hold pitfalls galore:
roadwork, collisions, detours, and potholes
soon our horses could stretch their legs no more
the brakes were applied more than our throttles.

with technology we looked to the skies
and soon plotted a course for our horses
our new path allowed those miles to fly by
thanks to heaven for satellite choices!

our route now is open; traffic is clear
the steeds are running in their highest gear.

Studly Doright is responsible for much of this poem, most of which was composed as we sat in bumper to bumper traffic on I65.