Life After Computers

Life After Computers


I can’t even imagine it. I am such a sucker for new technology… what would I do if computers were no more?


When I was entering high school, we had to take typing. Now, my son, Tyler, looks at me like I have three heads when I tell him about it.


“Typing??” is the comment.


I can see where he’s coming from if you haven’t experienced it (but isn’t that the way with a LOT of things when you tell kids about them these days. Like, WTH is a telephone booth? – and more importantly, why did Superman change in them?).


Nearing the end of grade nine, the BIG THING was the high school computer lab. It was all high-tech, with it’s big, fat monitors, CPU towers and beeping sounds. The computer lab had it’s own SMELL. I can still remember it if I think about it long enough. If you walked me in there blind now, I would know exactly where I was. But the computer lab was for grade tens. We were still lowly grade nines.


Grade ten was a big year! I finally got to try out these new-fangled things. What could you do on it? Type. Maybe play with some clip art, or a couple of games. We could even type a line of text to another computer in the same room – to your friend. God, we were so cool!


By grade twelve, typing class was on its way out… I wasn’t paying a lot of attention but I’m pretty sure the school donated them somewhere.


When Devin and I were living together, he pieced together a computer for us to use. We got to play DOS-based games, with ASCII characters, on a very loud machine. Are you old enough to remember when hard drives were 32 MB? 64 MB? Yeah… not today, my friends. We’re into TB!


A little later, we heard about BBSing, short for Bulletin Board System. If your computer had a modem (the faster, the better obviously, we started with a 14 400 KBs modem, and slowly worked our way up to a 56K), and you had the right software installed, you could have your computer call another computer’s modem, and play games on their BBS, that they would have set up. You could leave messages for other visitors, play games with them, and could even chat with the “mods” or moderators, the owners of the BBS. You made up a handle for yourself and made the rounds to all the coolest BBSs out there (they were local, unless you wanted to pay for long distance).


It was so much fun. We actually met up with a few other users IRL (in real life) and became great friends. We still talk to a couple of them! We upgraded a lot of parts on our computer, got a faster modem and we created our own BBS. We called it Emerald City, like the Sonic The Hedgehog game (we also had two pet cats, named Sonic and Tails).


Everyone’s biggest fear was the big, bad, Internet. It was creeping up on all of us BBSers, and we loathed it. Mostly because we didn’t understand it. We only saw it as the death of BBSing, and it was inevitable.


Fun fact – Did you know the band U2 got together through BBSing? Yessiree they did. Bono posted an advertisement on a BBS in order to put a band together, and voila!


Times changed, the Interet pushed it’s way through to mainstream, and the BBS became a part of history. There are still BBSs out there, but it’s a lot different than it used to be.


Computer technology really took off then, I think. Faster, smaller systems, more memory… the Internet connection itself changed, now it’s DSL and cable.


I think I’ve grown up in the best time though, because my parents were before that whole era… and now, don’t have much use for it. It’s hard for them to learn too, because they weren’t interested in it and learning about it from the beginning. I’m proud that they Skype and email though!


I recently wrote a post about being without the Internet for two days while we switched companies (still LOVING it, BTW), and I know I couldn’t do it. I despise talking on the phone now. Computers, phones, Internet, and Wifi… all of these are major forms of communication these days! And I know the next generation is just as bad! My boys were lost without the Internet for those two days, while I busied myself with watching movies LOL!


So from typewriters, to pagers, from cell phones to laptops, from smart phones to iPads… we have all come a very long way… and it shows no signs of ever stopping.


What would you do with a life after computers?


Life After Blogs

Feeling Festive

FeelingFestive

It’s been a crazy busy week here… with our anniversary on the 7th, a little boy suffering from the flu and missing a couple of days of school… laundry, more laundry and disinfecting the house, setting up the Christmas tree and decorating our home. It might be why I slept for 10 hours last night!My favourite thing about the holiday season is getting together with our friends and family, and enjoying their company over some great food and a few drinks. I love catching up with their lives and sharing what’s going on with us.

I love the warm feelings of friendship and laughing together, with music in the background.

We had some great friends over last night, andย enjoyed aย nice meal together (that our son helped prepare). We played Cards Against Humanity (what IS it about that game? I just love it!) A little (or a lot) of wine and friendship go a long way to soothe the soul.

It reminds me that there is more to life than work and paying bills, and “getting through the day”. It reminds me that there is so much more to life and we are meant to enjoy it. Fully. With full hearts and good friends. It reminds me of how blessed we are to have these people in our lives.

So in the busy-ness of the season, don’t forget to make time for your friends, and your family, and enjoy what the season is all about: Love. Friendship. Happiness. Joy.

What is your favourite thing about the Christmas season?

Everything You Need to Know About Geocaching

geocaching


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In my last post, I started talking about one of my favourite family pasttimes: geocaching.

I mentioned that to get started, you should sign up for a free account at www.geocaching.com, and install the app on your smartphone. You can buy handheld GPS units for geocaching, and although we haven’t gotten that far yet, we’re definitely interested!

Once you have your free account and the free app, you’re all set to look for geocaches. I suggest opening the webpage at home first, to see what’s around you. The webpage does this by tracking your location, and will show you as a blue, radiating dot on the page. The geocaches around you will be green markers on the map (I believe the orange markers are geocache events, something we have not participated in).

geocaching

Zoom in, and get a closer look at a geocache in your area by clicking on it. Each geocache has a name and a GC code, with latitude and longitude coordinates. Clicking on the geocache of your choice will open up further information about the geocache, such as, what size it is, what kind of container it might be in, hints on finding it, and whether you need to bring a pen or a pencil. It will also give you information on when it was hidden (how old the geocache is) and when it was last found.

We're getting closer!

We’re getting closer!

We like to check out the geocaches ahead of time online, and send the information to our phones, so that when we’re “out and about”, we can save time and battery power by already having the info with us. When you’re outside and looking for these treasures with your smartphone, it is an awesome feeling! And it’s such an accomplishment when you find one, you feel pretty darn good about yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

The great thing about using your smartphone is that it has a compass feature that you can follow, and it’s accurate within 5 meters.

Closing in...

Closing in…

Almost there!

Almost there!

Last weekend, we headed to a family function, and enjoyed the nice drive and fall colours on the way to and from… and we found a geocache along the way!

geocache

Success!

What's inside?

What’s inside?


Our last name is Riches, so we leave play money for the next person to find!

Our last name is Riches, so we leave play money for the next person to find!

Once you find the geocache, you will want to log that you’ve found it, because this information tells future geocachers when it was last found. You can do this step immediately, or wait until a little later, but I wouldn’t wait too long! It’s good to keep the information as current as possible.

Found the geocache log!

Found the geocache log!

My husband signing the log sheet.

My husband signing the log sheet.

I can’t say enough good things about geocaching, as huge a fan as I am of the great outdoors. It’s an addicting activity, and so worthwhile ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you’ve enjoyed the information I’ve shared. If you’ve been geocaching, what would you add?

Tyler's idea of a fun family photo!

Tyler’s idea of a fun family photo!

Got Kids, Will Travel

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Traveling with children can be challenging at the best of times, and downright difficult at the worst of times. Each child is different, each family is different, but my suggestions just might help you out:

1. Have a few of their favourite snacks/drinks on-hand. This applies to children of all ages. Mine are 15 and 9 and still enjoy it when I do this… because, hey… isn’t life just better with snacks?

2. Bring a couple of their favourite toys. OR, if you’re a parent that rotates their toys from one floor, or room, to another every now and then, bring something they haven’t played with in awhile. As your children get older, their “toys” become more expensive… now it’s a major feat if I can get them to leave their iPads at home!

3. Make pitstops if it’s a long trip. Use the facilities, stretch your legs, and give them an idea of how much longer the drive is BEFORE they ask, so you don’t have to keep hearing the dreaded question. Or, in these days of the GPS, the time to reach the destination is usually displayed, so they can watch this themselves.

Get Back to Nature

4. Bring a book for them to look at or read, or some music for them to listen to. Nearly everything is more enjoyable with a great book to read or music to listen to.

5. Play travel games. I’ve seen travel-themed bingo games, portable travel games, etc… all of which could help the travel time. One of our favourite games was going through the alphabet and finding each letter on street/highway signs or on billboards.

Some of these tips can help you out even when you’re close to home, too! Grocery shopping will be a breeze when you whip out a small bag of snacks or a favourite toy!

What helps you when travelling with kids?