Off the Cuff By Chris A. Porter firstname.lastname@example.org WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Monday, January 31, 2011
In Part 1 (Click here to read Part 1) of this blog entry, I was reiterating about how the first part of 2010 was business as usual until I met someone.
I won't go into too much detail, but we are now pretty much attached at the hip these days. We both seem to add a component to each others lives that was missing and genuinely seem to enjoy each others company. She is a welcome addition to my circle and has even added some new members, including (1) teenager. Yep, that's right. I now live with a teenager - glorious. What the heck have I done?
Teenagers are like new alien life forms to me. I can seem to communicate with them (somewhat), but their responses sometimes bewilder and frighten me. I try to empathize, recalling what life was like in my own heady days of teenagedom, but my memories always seem far short in this abundant age of information and instant gratification. In a current teen's life, wireless communication seems key. I have a mobile myself, but use it strictly for emergency purposes. This particular shortcoming brands me as some sort of mutation of humanity to teenager. I have a desktop computer, hooked up to the int@rwebs via tried-and-tested ethernet cable, teen prefers surfing the airwaves via a netbook.
So, apparently, it's official: I'm freaking 'old'. Not so crusty old that I've completely lost all usefulness whatsoever, but close. When we go places by car, I always seem to drive. Somewhere, somehow I was shanghaied into being our little family's Designated Driver for Life. I'm unsure when this was decided. I am almost positive I wasn't present when the decision was made. Perhaps I was napping, as we 'old' people tend to do. Nevertheless, this seems to be the cruel curse of my birthright. My father was Designated Driver for Life too, as I'm sure his father was before him.
As we drive, we usually listen to music teenager likes. It's poppy, it's "fresh," it's NOW and it's... well, it's total CRAP, I must confess. I mean, when did auto-tune get its own music category? Yep, that was me, 'old person,' whining about 'today's music.' You can imagine me in bermuda shorts and black socks w/ suspenders yelling at kids to get off my lawn if it helps.
All is not lost, however, because teenager does possess some ecclectic tastes for older "classic" music. Apparently, the new designation for "classic" is now any music over 10-years-old. I take teenager to school in the mornings, so it is forced to suffer through melodies I enjoy from the one rock radio station that comes in clearly on my pickup truck's stereo. Sometimes it even sings along (don't tell it's mother)! However, for the most part, concerning contemporary popular music I am apparently tone deaf to the teen. I have learned to embrace this particular shortcoming.
Speaking of shortcomings, I've also learned new things about teenager that I was previously unaware of. For example, I truly think today's teen believes unlimited wireless access is a constitutional right. I also never realized that certain items, like a simple battery powered alarm clock, are considered obsolete devices - I put one into the hands of teenager and it looked at me like I had just handed it an unstable foreign substance, like plutonium. This generation of teen was born into an internet-compatible planet. So how is it, that so few of them understand how the Int@rwebs actually work? Let me clear up some misconceptions for some of the kids out there:
- Magic gnomes do NOT run the int@rwebs. They will NOT give you more bandwidth if you give them candy. We love to believe this is true, but sadly, it is not.
- Only USB-compatible devices go in USB ports. If it doesn't fit, using a flathead screwdriver to make it fit is a really, really bad idea.
- Terms like "browser" and "search engine" are not words from a forgotten language last spoken by the Aztecs. I can't try to fix your problem from the garage or over the phone when you yell 'Google is broken' at me.
- That field, you know, the one at the very top of your "Bing internet" or "Firefox?" Yeah. It's called a URL field, kids. You type something like 'www.(placeyouwanttogo).com' into it, and bam! It takes you right there! Sometimes, you don't even need to type it all out, because it just knows what you're thinking. Yes, this IS true magic. Do not taunt it. Watching you type "Google" or "Bing" into your browser's Google or Bing search field to find said places makes my head hurt. Please stop it.
Moving on, I used to have a house that I truly believed was a comfortable, warm "guy-pad" sanctuary tailor-fitted to my interests. Apparently, that way of thinking is now prohibited. Don't get me wrong - I've been shown the errors in my previous train of thought. Get this: I've learned furniture should match. Other paints colors beyond white and brown exist (who knew?). Mismatched, hand-me-down cutlery should not be used when guests visit. Homes should smell like flowers instead of... well, NOTHING - nothing at all. Nothing=BAD, flowery=GOOD, got it? Dog hair apparently does NOT add character. All joking aside, together we've transformed my former "place to store my stuff" into a nice little home.
So this is where I'm at currently. Amid the changes, things seem to be going quite well so far. We redesigned the Trib last year for better navigation and added some new modules that readers seem to enjoy. We hope to continue progressing the site to keep up with the latest tech, and i wish everyone the best in this new year.