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Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'm No Longer Amish!

This Thursday diary entry (the last of 2012, might I add) is all about technology, and my general avoidance of it up until now.

December 27, 2012

Well, as I sit here and type, we only have five days left until turn the page to a brand new calendar year. Some people weren't sure if we would live long enough to see the year 2013, but like it or not, it's coming!

And, as we enter 2013, I may very well be prepared for least from a technological standpoint, that is.

I guess I should explain something before I continue. I always joke around with my friends that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then in my past life, I must have been a prominent member of the Amish community.

You see, the Amish people have one distinct personality trait that sets them apart from the world of modern conveniences. They like to live the simple life without any electricity, modern appliances, or computers. Instead of driving to the store in a car, they take a horse and buggy. They don't buy butter at a supermarket...they churn it themselves. They don't even use candles to light their homes, choosing instead to light candles and other non-electric sources.

And they most certainly would be using iPods, Smart Phones, and Kindles to enjoy and entertain themselves.

Well, you know, up until recently, I didn't use those things either.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not trapped in the age of the Flintstones (though I admit that it would be kind of cool to have a dinosaur double up as a dishwasher). But I wouldn't exactly say that I was updated to 2012 either.

If anything, I have been stuck in 1990 for the last twenty-two years.

You don't believe me, do you? Okay, I'll shoot you some examples.

When I was a kid, I loved playing video games on a daily basis. I played them so much that I ended up getting a stiff neck because I would often kink my neck at different angles when I was playing the game. I believe I may have been one of the first patients ever diagnosed with “Nintendo Neck”.

Anyway, minor health issues aside, my video gaming skills were top notch circa the early 1990s. I graduated to an 8-bit Nintendo system from Intellivision circa the early 1990s (for more info on that story, just click HERE), and by 1993, I had the next generation console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Flash forward ten years to 2003, and I STILL had that Super Nintendo.

Now, keep in mind that by 2003, Nintendo had released two more consoles...the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo Gamecube. Neither one of which I owned. I was still very much happy with my Super Nintendo, because the games for the SNES just seemed like they were much more fun to play with than some of the newer games.

From that moment on, I still managed to lag behind. The Sony PlayStation (which was released in 1995/96) was my next game console after the Super Nintendo. I ended up being given one in early 2003...eight years after it was released. But, I didn't care. Back in 2003, there were still a few remote places that sold PlayStation games, and I managed to buy several (at discounted prices, no less) to keep me entertained for three more years. Then in 2006, I bought my PlayStation 2, which is the current console that I own. These days though, I prefer handheld games, and this time, I own a Nintendo 3DS, which is the most current of the handheld game consoles these days.

Isn't it funny how that worked? I started off behind the times, then was cutting edge, fell behind again for the better part of a decade, and now I am caught up again.

Mind you, a lot of the reason why I never really bothered to keep up with the newest video games was because there wasn't a whole lot of money to go around. Even if I did want an upgrade in system, there really wasn't a whole lot of point in asking for it for a birthday or Christmas present because the odds of me getting it were slim to nil. But even back then, I found joy in the simplest technology. I came to a decision long ago that I didn't need to have the best and the most expensive electronics to be a better person. As long as what I had brought me happiness, that was all that mattered.

And, here's a couple of confessions for all of you. Confession #1 is that when I did get a PlayStation/PlayStation 2, some of the first games I bought for them were re-releases of classic video games from the past that I either loved a lot, or never got a chance to play the first time around. Confession #2 is that after twenty years, my Super Nintendo still works perfectly!

And, that leads to my next point. Why would I bother with buying the latest things when the things that I already had worked perfectly fine?

When I first got into music, it was at a time in which records were being phased out in favour of cassette tapes. So, during my preteen years, my entire music collection was found entirely on hundreds of cassettes. By the time I entered high school, cassette tapes were quickly becoming obsolete, being replaced by compact discs, but at the time, CD Players were so expensive, and I didn't want to replace my entire music catalog with compact discs. I didn't have the money for that.

I was a late bloomer when it came down to switching from cassettes to CD's. I think I ended up getting my first CD Player when I was seventeen (this would be around 1998/99). And even though I did have a CD Player, I still kept all my cassettes!

Upon retrospect, I think that I ended up making a good decision.

Sure, there are some perks to compact discs. The sound quality is a lot better on CD's than on cassettes, and compact discs are a lot easier to store than cassette tapes. On the flipside though, CD's can have a tendency to get scratched, and unlike a cassette tape (which can sometimes be saved), it's nearly impossible to get a deep scratch off of the surface of a compact disc. I ended up throwing out more CD's in my lifetime than I ever had to do cassettes. Heck, I even had some really bad luck with CD Players, and I think I ended up having a half dozen of them over a ten year period. It wasn't because I was very rough with them either. They just seemed to break down all on their own.

I think that was what factored into my decision to inquire about getting an iPod. An iPod would not only save me a lot of space, but it would also eliminate any chance of having damaged CD's or chewed up cassette tapes.

This Christmas, I ended up getting my very first iPod as a gift, and although I didn't have any idea how to use it, I figured it out less than 36 hours after I got it. It's so easy to Google the instructions and go from there.

So, I suppose in many ways, that iPod has helped bring me forward into the 21st century.

(Even though most of my song selections are songs that were released between 1980 and 1995!)

What can I say? Old habits are hard to break!

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