Archives

Technology Transfer and Me

“Technology transfer” means the transfer of new technology from the originator to a secondary user, especially from developed to less developed countries in an attempt to boost their economies.

But in this post, it means “all of the hoops I had to jump through to transfer my iPhone contents to a new iPhone.”

Some Background

My ex, her daughter, and I all have iPhones, for which I am paying. My stepdaughter is in a situation where she can no longer use hers, and so my ex returned it to me so that I can cancel the account and—we hope—no longer have to pay for it.

That was some 3 months ago.

This morning it dawned on me that (1) my 16 Gb phone is always running out of space, and (2) her 32 Gb phone has the amount of memory I should have gotten for myself, and (3) it would make sense for me to start using the iPhone with the greater memory.

And so began my journey through purgatory

Actually, it wasn’t that  bad. Just terribly time-consuming.

I had previously reset the phone, clearing all personal data and returning it to its factory-fresh state. When I put it on the charger to check the battery level, it automagically went into setup mode, the first step of which was updating the operating system to the latest iOS version. No problem—except that it took nearly an hour to complete.

Did I mention that I worked on Apple’s iPhone help desk on the day it was first released? We had had two weeks of intense training about how to handle calls, and how to distinguish calls that could be handled by Apple and calls that should be routed to AT&T—the only carrier originally. We also had no idea what the iPhone even looked like, secrecy was that strict.

Anyway, after 8 hours of handling calls, all of which were of the AT&T variety, only to have AT&T route them back to us, I went home, drank an Irish coffee, had a nervous breakdown—and never went back to the job.

So yeah, I know what frustration  is.

The Next Phase

After the iOS update, it was time to do the same with all of the apps on the new phone. The initial setup had copied over the icons for the apps on the old phone, but none of the applications themselves. That took another hour.

Finally, there was the matter of actually launching the apps and having to key in userids and passwords. That ate up another 30 minutes, because I had to look them all up on the other phone. I mean, who has memorized userids and passwords for all of their accounts?

And What’s My Takeaway From all This?

It’s quite simple: whenever you buy a new device, make sure it has enough memory. Think you need 32 Gb on your iPhone? Get 64. My new iPad was 128 Gb, and I’m already wishing I could have afforded more.

Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to memory: however much you have is never enough.

Thanks for stopping by.

Robyn Jane

A Photographer is a Writer of Light

I got the idea for the title of this post from a quote I found about writing:

writer

The craft, art,  science, practice, or whatever else you wish to call it, of photography is all about light. Light’s a form of electromagnetic energy—one our bodies have evolved to sense and interpret.

We’ve also developed ways of recording light. We started with cave paintings, in which we recorded the results of successful hunts. Over time, we evolved our techniques for recording and enhancing images. The Italians discovered perspective in the 1500’s; it was a new technique for more accurately representing the 3-dimensional world on a 2-dimensional surface. Now, it’s something we all take for granted: from our viewpoint 500 years later, we can look back and say, “Well, duh! It’s so obvious! What took them so long?”

But now we’ve evolved our technology to the point where we can use chemicals and plastics to record light. Where once taking a scenic photograph involved carrying bulky and heavy equipment and supplies of chemicals and other materials, we can carry an entire photo lab in our back pockets.

I’m talking, of course, about mobile phones. In most areas of society today, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have one. Governmental agencies have set up programs where even the homeless can get free phones and calling plans. Rarer still is the mobile that isn’t capable of taking photographs. We have become a nation of people obsessed with taking pictures of ourselves—the infamous “selfie.” And I don’t use the word infamous lightly; far too many of us have become so addicted to capturing the moment that we don’t experience it. Our $800 mobile phones have become $19.95 Kodak Instamatics.

Let’s be honest: how many of those thousands of selfies you have will mean anything to you in a year? A decade?

“You hold in your hand a device with more computing power than the computers that got us to thee moon, and all you can do with it is throw birds at pigs and take pictures of cats!” –often misattributed to Neil Armstrong

Stepping Down From my Soapbox

Okay, that’s enough ranting and editorializing. Let’s get back to the topic at hand, shall we?

There are numerous web pages which offer classes designed to teach you how to get rich from your photography. Most of them charge hefty fees, leading me to conclude that the best way to get rich quick from photography is by selling on-line classes that profess to teach other people how to get rich from photography.

Today, for the very first time ever, I am going to share you my own class on how to get rich from photography. And since it’s you, I’m making this one-time, never-to-be-repeated offer for only $99.95 $49.95 $29.95 $19.95 ABSOLUTELY FREE! Sorry, but at this price, I can’t afford to throw in the Amazing Ginsu Knives. But the best part is you already have most of what you need to succeed. Are you ready? Here’s my guaranteed foolproof way to get rich from your photography:1

  • Read everything you can about photography. Pinterest is a good place to start. It covers more photographic topics than I can list here. If you’re looking for a place to start, try right here.
  • RYFM! (pronounced “riffim,” it’s a hold-over from the early days of computer tech support and means read your f***ing manual!”  You need to know the basics of how your camera works.
  • Your mobile usually doesn’t come with a manual, so try here, here, here, and here.
  • Read as much as you can about photography, especially the fields that interest you the most: fashion, portraits, still life, macro, etc.
  • When my first daughter was born, her grandmother gave us a copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care. On the inside cover she had written, “When in doubt, put down the book and pick up the child. The same holds true with photography: you learn by doing, so log off the computer and go take pictures!
  • Study your results. What went wrong? What went right? Back in the days of film (yes, I really am that old), I always carried a notebook with me in which I recorded the details of every picture: film, camera, location, lighting conditions, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. Today’s DSLR cameras (and most smartphones as well) record all hat information for you, right down to the GPS coordinates of where you were. This information (EXIF, for Exchangeable Image File Format), will help you analyze what you did wrong or right. Learn from it.
  • Above all, take pictures! Photographic skills are like muscles:  they need to be exercised for them to develop.

( 1-There really is no guaranteed, sure-fire way)

minipod

When the power goes…

11:30 a.m. Wednesday

The power went out at my house 20 minutes ago. No real surprise, since we’re under a high wind warning and gusts up 70 mph/112 kph are in the forecast.

After going through the house and unplugging all my electronics, I sat down to chronicle the experience…

…and immediately ran into problems: not wanting to sit in the dark as I wrote, I moved to a seat next to the window…

…where the glare was too harsh on my iPhone screen for me to write comfortably. So I’m back in the armchair I usually sit in to write. The light is dim in this corner, but it could be worse: Charles Dickens must have written by candlelight, or the glow of a kerosene lamp. And since my internet connection is down, I can’t check to see if gaslight was available to him.

How easily we take things for granted. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” So said Arthur C. Clarke in the ’60s or’70s, and it’s just as true today as it was then. There was a time in Salem, Massachusetts, for example, when my iPhone would have had me prosecuted as a witch.


2:00 p.m. Wednesday

The power just came back on. Well, not just—it took a few minutes for the router to reboot. Then I had to crawl under my desk and plug my laptop back into the power outlet and wait for it to boot up. But you get the picture.

NOTE: Dickens did indeed write by gas light. Many of those same fixtures are still operational today.

My 2-hour loss of power forced my to solve yet another First World Problem: should I continue to read a novel on my iPhone, or should I conserve my battery power for the more important task of posting memes to Facebook?

I’m no longer writing this on my iPhone: once the power (and with it, my internet connection) was restored, I uploaded what I had written so far to my iCloud folder, then copy/pasted it into Open Live Writer, my default blog composer.

And while Dr. Clarke was right about technology and magic, he neglected to point out how easy it can be to take both things for granted: I’m sitting at my writing desk, surrounded by the latest technology, connected to the knowledge of the entire world, and yet I am lost when the power goes. I can be in instant communication with nearly anyone in the world, but what keeps me humble is this:

The knowledge that when Arthur C. Clarke was consulting (from his home in Sri Lanka) with Stanley Kubrick (in Los Angeles) on the movie version of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” they did so via a pair of Kaypro 8-bit, 64K RAM computers connected by 300-baud modems…a far cry from my Wi-Fi connection to the cable internet router.

Not spoiled too much, am I? Before I got rid of my old Keurig coffee make, I could have a cup of fresh coffee in under 5 minutes whenever I wanted one. Even now, my microwave lets me brew a cup of instant coffee in under 4 minutes…if I decide I even want a cup (to me, there are a time and a place for instant coffee: never, and in the trash).

Talk about spoiled: I still miss my 2-hour battery backup UPS (uninterrupted power supply) I had when I was in Oregon. Yes, I miss it, but not enough to shell out $200 to replace it. I spent that money on a 3-terabyte external hard drive.

But now I’m rambling

So I’ll post this entry and log off for now.

Frustration is…

…Trying to Provide Tech Support to Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Learn Anything

My landlord Ed is a pretty intelligent guy. My rent includes free Internet, so from time to time I have no issue helping him with his computer. But usually the first I’m aware that he’s having an issue is when I hear him downstairs, screaming at his computer.

The latest problem began when one of the agencies he contracts with for jobs told him the reason he was having problems logging into their billing system was that he needed to empty his cache and clear out all of his cookies. So he did, only to discover later when he tried to answer a call on Skype that deleting the cookies broke Skype. He could see and hear the caller, but the caller neither saw nor heard him.

Robyn to the Rescue!

Except Robyn has never used Skype, and so knows absolutely nothing about how it works (Coincidentally, my ex texted me a couple of days ago asking for help with Skype.)

Okay, okay. I can take a hint. I guess I’ll have to learn how to use Skype. But so far as Ed’s problems go, well, I’m running Windows 10 and he’s still on Windows 7. So I’m worried about possible compatibility issues between the two versions of Skype.

A Learning Disability?

Can the fact that someone refuses to learn anything new truly be considered a disability? Because this, more than anything, is Ed’s problem: he doesn’t want to learn anything new. He has his own ideas about how programs should run, and gets frustrated and angry when they don’t fit those preconceived notions.

I once considered recommending he get a computer where everything works the same way (Macintosh), but then I realized that would mean having to learn new things.

Peace and Quiet

Ed’s pretty quiet now. At least he’s not screaming at the computer any more. So I’m going to take the opportunity to sneak back upstairs and learn how to use Skype.

Because I don’t know if it’s truly quiet, or if this is the calm before the storm.

Analog vs. Digital

Remember the analog world? Back when clocks had hands? When you had to have a modem in order to talk to another computer? You remember modems, right? A device that converted the digital signal your computer produced so it could be sent along analog telephone lines?

How about vinyl records? Do you remember how superior the sound was to CDs? That’s because the analog signal from the record was a continuous wave, while digital CDs are a series of discrete chunks of sound…no room for the in-betweens of a record.

What Brought This On?

Back in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, my connection to the Internet was via a landline. My connection was always reliable and strong. Right from my computer to the Internet.

Today my connection is wireless via a cable modem. Basically, that means my signals go from my computer to the wireless router, but from there, they compete with every other Internet user in my area.Think of it as a water main: when you’re the only customer in your neighborhood, your water pressure is excellent. But as more and more people move in and attach to the same water main, your pressure drops with each new customer.

And if the main breaks or gets clogged somewhere, the entire neighborhood is without water. And that’s the situation in my neighborhood right now. In more technical terms, the Internet is down.

Technology Isn’t Perfect

Nor are the people who create and implement new technologies. Want an example? We put a man on the moon in 1969—and then it took us another 20 years to figure out how to put wheels on suitcases. Houston was able to talk to Neil Armstrong and his crew, but I was lucky to telephone my grandmother in the Bronx from where I was living in Juneau, Alaska.

Success!

Well, it looks as if the ‘Net is back up just in time for me to finish this rant and post it. Thanks for reading, and see you next time.

Robyn Jane