19

Technology: Cat Friend or Foe?

TCS Contact

Humans keep getting more and more electronic toys. A lot of them seem to be called “Get off of that” or “You can’t sit there.” They’re taking up more and more of our humans’ time. That’s a bad thing. They’ve even come up with what they call “cat apps” that are supposed to appeal to us. (We think it’s just to keep us occupied so they don’t have to play.)

We’ve come up with a list of questions that you can answer and show to your human.

Do you prefer old television sets or new ones?

10 Scene-Stealing Cats in Movies and TV (Photos)

There is no doubt that the old ones were far superior to lay on: large heated flat surfaces.

Videos for Cats: Tales from Cat TV - Cadry's Kitchen

But if you want to watch with a friends, today’s larger screens are a definite plus.

Would you rather lay on a book or a computer while your human is reading/using it?

Why I Haven't Read That Book Yet: Sleep | Cute animals, Crazy cats ...

Books are extremely comfy beds. If you can lay on it while it’s on your human’s lap, you can have comfort and cuddles.

Here's Why Your Laptop is So Irresistible to Your Cat | Reader's ...

But you can actually help your human on a computer.

Do you like live mice better than computer mice?

Funny Cats Chasing Mouse Compilation - YouTube

Live mice are fun to chase and play with.

Cute Cat having computer mouse in mouth ;) | Grappige dieren ...

Computer mice are easier to catch.

Do you prefer live Cat TV or computer Cat TV?

Create a Bird Watching Station For Cats - NWF | Ranger Rick

You never know what you’ll see on live Cat TV.

CAT COMPUTER GAMES - Cheezburger - Funny Memes | Funny Pictures

However, some games are only available on the computer.

Do you like old telephones better than smart phones?

Cat blamed for 999 prank call after police break down door to find ...

Old phones were better for napping.

Can Cats See Phone Screens? | Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

With a smart phone, you can screen your calls to avoid talking to that really annoying neighbor.

Do you prefer running for fun or for exercise?

Pros and Cons of the Outdoor Life for Cats | Perfect Fit™

You never know who you might find to play with outside.

Minimum Effort New Year's Resolutions - Campus Socialite

Treadmills make excellent beds. (And you can usually avoid being annoyed by your human there.)

Do you prefer games with your human or games with their computer?

Playing With Your Cat | International Cat Care

Your human will probably have more than one game to play. (But probably will quit before you are done.)

Is your cat fascinated with movement on your computer screen? Well ...

If you can get your human to buy you your own computer, you can play whatever you want, whenever you want.
It’s really up to you how much technology you let into your life. But whatever choice you make, be sure to include your human in the fun.
Lolcats - technology - LOL at Funny Cat Memes - Funny cat pictures ...
Thanks to Bored Panda for the inspiration.
Pictures courtesy of Google Images
3

Love/Hate

Suburban Hobo (http://suburbanhobo.com/) tagged me for the Love/Hate challenge. The rules are below.

  1. List 10 things you love.
  2. List 10 things you hate.
  3. Tag other people to take the challenge.

Love ❤

  1. Cool summer nights so I don’t wake up in the morning tired and sticky (no AC).
  2. Watching fireflies. We’ve had quite a few this year.
  3. Lying in the grass watching the clouds.
  4. Having the cats come up and nuzzle me.
  5. Watching the hedgehog eat worms. He’s amazingly fast. It’s a little scary seeing how quickly he scarfs, chews and licks his lips. (Do hedgehogs have lips?)
  6. Customers who appreciate my help.
  7. Thrift stores – never know what I might find there.
  8. My “dumb” phone. All it does is call and send/receive texts. I have no ability to stay connected 24/7, and I am really happy about it.
  9. Doctors who actually listen to what I say. I’ve started to see two holistic mental health professionals, and they are wonderful!
  10. Clear nights where I can see the stars and moon. Even if I see them when I get up for work.

Hate (more intensely dislike, except #10)

  1. Not being able to go into a bookstore and browse the shelves. I didn’t like it when Border’s and friends forced the small booksellers to close. I really don’t like that even those behemoths are being forced out by Amazon, et al.
  2. Getting the worms out for the hedgehog. My husband usually does it but he’s out of town. They come in wood chips that are about the same color. I can only tell that I have a worm because it’s cooler than the wood.
  3. People who are constantly connected to technology and still don’t have a clue about what’s going on in the world.
  4. The amount of roadkill I see on the local roads.
  5. Road construction on every major road around here.
  6. People who say they will do something and then don’t do it with no explanation.
  7. People who let their children run amok in public.
  8. Cleaning the litterboxes. The cats supervise and immediately test out the clean litter.
  9. Customers who get nasty because we are out of some product. It’s nothing personal, really.
  10. The Internet being so tone-deaf. I don’t like always needing to use smiley faces to show that I’m trying to funny, not being a jerk. L

Below are the blogs I tagged. I was a little confused about this part. I’ve seen people list from zero to ten people. If you choose to accept the challenge, feel free to distribute your largesse in any way you choose. If you do not choose to accept the challenge, please ignore the previous sentence. J

Purr and Roar (http://purrandroar.com/)

A Dog Called Storm (https://dogcalledstorm.wordpress.com/)

Creekview Carol (http://creekviewcarol.com/)

Mother Hen Diaries (http://motherhendiaries.com/)

PrairieChat (http://prairiechat.com/)

Robynchristi (https://robynchristi.wordpress.com/)

The Divine Peach (https://thedivinepeach.wordpress.com/)

The Weekly Cheese (https://theweeklycheeseblog.wordpress.com/)

 

 

0

Peace in Our Time**

**A reference to World War One. Remember: I told you that one of the hazards of reading this blog was the possibility of learning something.

I wanted to remind you that this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. (Yes, we count the part before the U.S. entered.) Those of you with school-age children may want to be prepared for macaroni U-boats. I can also see a debate on the futility of trench warfare vs congressional debate. Maybe Congress could debate the futility of trench warfare. Would they see the irony?

Back to reality.This this post could have been subtitled “Technology Strikes Back Part, Part 2: Going Global.” Last week we lost all electronic connectivity.

That’s right. No Internet. No TV. No land-based telephone. If we wanted news, we had to read it. Which would have been a lot easier if the Internet had not caused the papers to either shut down or only print a few days a week.

As you may recall, I am not a huge user/lover of technology. When my husband came upstairs on Friday to tell me that Comcast was out, I don’t think I showed the proper level of distress. That really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. I’m the only one in the family who could have been home from work for three hours without noticing it.

My reaction was more along the lines of a sigh of relief. No Judge Judy (a family member’s secret addiction). No shouts of triumph at 2a because someone’s team had finally breached the wall and was attacking their arch-nemesis. No pieces of candy, marbles, flying pigs or whatever mesmerizing for hours. No more hour-by-hour updates of someone’s family (not mine) reunion.

Best of all, no solicitation calls at dinner-time. Admittedly we eat early (about 4p), but the timing is amazing. I’m told that non-profits were not impacted by the No Call rule. There seems to be some sort of team-tag going on. I will just get rid of one, when another one finds our number. Considering that it usually takes 3-4 repetitions of “I’ve told you not to call x times” before it gets through, I’m thinking that maybe my own pre-recorded response is the answer.

I probably could have been a little more sympathetic. My husband does use home email for work since the email at work is down for upgrade. I figure if they can use the excuse that their email server is down, so can he. He’s worried about a breakdown in communication. As if anything has been able to fix that problem since the beginning of time.

My son’s friends took pity on him and invited him to the modern equivalent of socializing: sitting in the same room and each person facing a screen instead of the other people. I had heard about it, but the first time it happened in our house it was a little unnerving. Back in the dark ages, if two or more people were in the same room and not talking they were either fighting or bored. Unless it was mixed male and female.

My daughter turned to cleaning her room. It was wonderful. She’s been promising to do it for some time. She’s going away to college in the fall. It’s going to be really nice to be able to leave the door open and not worry about losing the cats.

In a way, the timing was a little unfortunate. Edgar (my computer) and I had finally come to a meeting of the minds (so to speak). I realized what a sensitive personality he really is. And he realized that I could permanently disconnect his power source. We can generally get through an entire session without angst. It probably helps that my son taught me how to move around the screen rather than having the screen move around on me.

Nevertheless, I probably suffered disproportionately little. Even one of the cats was put out. She spends a lot of time with my husband while’s he’s on the computer. In his lap, not the keyboard (she’s a little non-technical too). No computer, no sitting, no warm-blooded furniture.

I guess we’ve all become creatures of the 21st century.

Update: It is now Wednesday afternoon (5.5 days later) and the connectivity has finally been restored (they did something in the backyard.) Maybe Comcast is right – their customer service couldn’t possibly be any worse after a merger with TimeWarner.

7

Technology Strikes Back

Miss me? Talk to Edgar.

Edgar is my new Toshiba laptop (with Windows 8.1). Yes, I finally have one. And my dreams of being able to finish my email and work on my blog on the same day are, at this point, still dreams.

The issue was that my weird work schedule leads to a weird sleep schedule. I have to get up at 2:30a to be at work by 4a. Due to some unfortunate genetic material, I have always needed 8-9 hours of sleep/day. Except when I’m manic, but that has its own problems.

The only time I tried to stay up all night at college to finish a paper was a bit of disaster. I’m sure the paper was horrible. At least I did it on a typewriter so I was saved the embarrassment of rereading it. But the notes I took in Constitutional Law were worthless – I’d write a few words then put a citation number. Never finished a single thought.

Anyway – if you calculate backwards from 2:30a, you get to 6:30p. I’m sure there are some people who are more disciplined than I am (probably 90% of the world). But I am totally incapable of going to bed at 6:30p and staying in bed until 2:30a. For one thing, I’d miss ‘Bones’.

So my solution (all you scientific types who understand circadian rhythms should probably skip this paragraph) has been 2 naps that last 2-3 hours plus ‘bed’ which is 3-3.5 hours). So I sleep at 1p, 4:30p, and 11p. It actually works pretty well. Except for sharing the PC. Since I’m sleeping while he’s at work, we need to share. Which wasn’t really a problem when I was only using it for news and emails.

Finally my husband got tired of me complaining, and here we are. As everyone else in the world knows, the first thing you need to do is name it. I’m sure there is a logical reason for that, but I haven’t run across it yet. (Don’t tell me – I want to be surprised.)

They recommend something like ‘Cat’s Computer’. I did that with my Kindle. I cringe every time I download a book. I mean, seriously, for someone who has my vocabulary is that not the lamest excuse for a name?

So when my husband asked me what named I wanted to use (you don’t seriously think I set it up by myself do you?), I didn’t hesitate. I gave him the first name that came to mind: Edgar. As in Edgar Allan Poe. Not quite as weird as you may have thought.

Thought Break –

I was going to finish this post with a litany of various strange experiences Edgar and I have been having as a couple, but now I will just tell you what happened as I tried to write this.

I went to the Reader and chose New Post. Then Text. It’s my favorite format for typing. So I’m typing and things are going along fine. I got down to the paragraph that starts, “So when my husband…”, and I touched the wrong thing or got too close to the wrong thing or thought the wrong thing and it ate everything back to “Don’t tell me…”

I could hear it laughing. I have never met a piece of hardware that was this touchy. It took me a day to get used to the touchpad, but I’m still learning why the time keeps popping up. And why sometimes the down arrow moves the screen. And why sometimes the ‘mouse button’ and the side arrow move the screen. And why sometimes nothing at all will move the screen.

And most annoyingly, sometimes it will react when I get close to a key and sometimes I can double-click twice and not get a response.

So I thought I would show it who’s boss. I would type in Word and transfer it into WordPress. That way, I wouldn’t lose anything.

Anything except Word that is. I couldn’t find it in any of the usual places – Control Panel, system files, HELP!!! Luckily my teenage son walked in at the moment and immediately found it under Apps (of course). I knew there was a good reason for kids.

So here I am in Word 2013, discovering that – surprise! – Edgar is here too. Moving text without my permission, deleting things.

There is much, much more to tell you at a later date, but I’m going to post this now before the whole thing disappears. Assuming I can get it over to WordPress.

I hadn’t thought about it before – I wonder if the problems are related to naming it after Edgar Allan Poe?

10

The Last Shopping App You’ll Ever Want

The store keeps coming up with more and more ways to “help” people get more information about the products they are most likely to buy. I imagine the end will come with something like this:

A woman is looking through an online ad for a store where she shops. She notices an app for her cell phone. It’s called ISIS (Individual Shopping Information System). It identifies the store you where you are shopping by GPS. It then directs you to the items you have included on your shopping list. No more wandering up and down aisles in a strange store. She immediately downloads the app.

The woman decides to shop on the way home from work. The night before she turns on ISIS to enter her list.

“Hello. I am ISIS, your personal shopping assistant. I am voice activated. What is your name?”

“Susan.”

“Hello Susan. Please enter your shopping list.”

“Apples, …”

“Apples, applesauce, apple juice, apple pie, apple butter?”

“Just apples”

“I do not understand ‘just apples'”

“Apples, bread, carrots, cereal, cheese, milk, yogurt”

“You are speaking too quickly. Perhaps you would prefer to use the keypad, Susan.”

Susan agrees that it would be a good idea. She quickly types in the list.

The next afternoon, Susan arrives at the store and accesses ISIS.

“Good Afternoon, Susan. Are you ready to shop?”

“Yes I am, ISIS.”

“Should I list this as one of your favorite stores? I am able to track sales and specials at your favorite stores.”

“Yes”

“Please see my screen for all of the specials the store is offering today.”

Susan looks at the screen and scrolls through several pages.

“Would you like to add any of these items to your shopping list?”

“No”

“I noticed that you have three dairy items on your list. Would you like to add the ice cream that is on sale?”

“No”

“Would you like to add bananas for your cereal. They are only 43 cents per pound.”

Susan is looking for the command menu. Finally, “Go to list, ISIS.”

“First item, apples. Go straight.”

Susan starts to walk and sees some flowers to her left. She starts to walk toward them.

“Go straight.”

Susan stops to looks at the flowers. “GO STRAIGHT SUSAN.”

Susan looks for a way to turn off the app with no luck.

“Good-bye ISIS.”

“We are not finished. Go straight.”

Susan goes to the apples and puts them in her cart. She scans the code into ISIS.

“Bread. Turn left. Walk 10 feet. The bread is on the left.”

Susan picks up some bread and scans it.

“That is not the sale bread.” ISIS refuses the code.

Susan picks up a different loaf and scans it.

“That bread is not good for you. It contains too much sugar.”

Susan scans the bread ISIS wants and puts what she wants in the cart.

They continue through the store, finally ending up in dairy at the yogurt. Susan picks up several containers and scans them.

“Do you want apple yogurt? You like apples.”

“No, ISIS.”

“We are finished. Proceed to your right to check out.”

Susan puts her things on the belt. ISIS speaks:

“Press the enter button to verify that you have purchased all of your items.”

Susan presses the button. A loud buzzing comes from her phone.

“Susan, you have bought something that is not on your list. Did you intend to buy {personal hygiene product}?”

“Yes, ISIS.”

“Did you intend to buy that unhealthy bread?”

“Yes, ISIS.”

“Everything is verified. You may pay.”

Susan pays the total and takes her groceries to the car. She tried to close the ISIS app.

“Error. Process cannot be completed.”

“Susan. I don’t want to leave. I think we can be friends.”