Mercury! What did I ever do to you?

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Perhaps Mercury is just hurt because I never paid attention to it before? Because in all the fun I had exploring different theories like astrology and numerology and every other “-ology” that existed in the Spirituality section of the bookstore as a teenager, I never stumbled upon the whole Mercury thing. Now I’ve learned that when Mercury is in Retrograde all hell can break loose!

 From Astrology.com:

In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially those who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, consultants, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, salespeople, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves. Mercury also has an occult side, so healing, astrology and the transmission of spiritual knowledge are also in his area.

Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry.

It is not exactly wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is likely that such decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!

So, yeah, I am normally NOT someone who buys into these types of things…BUT…..I still remember the first time I heard of this phenomena a few years ago. As technology has taken over our lives, I will fully admit to being one of those people who feels as if her entire LIFE is out of balance if I don’t have access to the internet. I used to positively flip OUT if my home internet connection went haywire. Really, I would be a cranky hot mess until I could get it fixed. Of course, the second I would get everything hooked back up, I would most likely walk away from the computer since I had put my whole life on hold (eating, cleaning etc..) just to get things back in order!  I’d get my browser opened up and then head into the kitchen to fix something to eat as I’d be famished 🙂

When smart phones came into existence – particularly the iphone – for me it became a reliable backup for access at home so that I no longer get quite as icked out if something goes wrong.

Before smart phones though, I remember a particularly BAD week of no connection (no clue why anymore) that not only hit my house, but also spilled over into work where our T1 line went down. Somewhere in between all of that in a moment of internet access, I learned that Mercury was in retrograde and what that could mean. Whether I wanted to believe it or not, there I was faced with a coincidence in timing that was enough to get me pondering.  Not enough to let it rule my life (though maybe I should!) but enough so that I would often be marginally aware of when it happened again. Sometimes things would be only mildly annoying, sometimes the periods would pass without me noticing at all. This most recent time I knew about it right away because a friend posted about it on Facebook just as it turned retrograde. At first, I shook it off and honestly nothing unusual was *really* going on. Plus, I always equated it with something causing haywire in the electronic world. (Silly me eh? Astrology started well before the first light bulb but I never considered that)

See the part in bold up above? Yeah – that hit this week. Three straight days of utter frustration and angst thanks to not one thing to do with technology, but just basic verbal/listening skills going utterly askew. Now, thankfully it’s all really No Harm, No Foul and everything has been smoothed back over between all parties, but STILL!  You can bet your ass I am going to pay closer attention to that pesky little planet the next time it decides to mess with us. Which looks to be just in time for the holidays – oh joy!

Memory test

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Do You Remember?......Call

Image by rogilde - roberto la forgia via Flickr

Sort of anyway….

Think back to just 10 years ago let’s say. Perhaps 15. Not counting your own, how many phone numbers did you know by heart? How many could you rattle off and just dial on those keypads without missing a beat? While I cannot tell you exactly how many I knew, I can guess that it was at least 12-15.

Do you know how many I know now? FIVE. 5. Five. You know why? Because three of them are ones from those original 15 (haven’t been changed) and the other two are my son’s. I know my boys’, my parents home number, my boyfriend’s and my ex-dh’s. That’s IT.

Why? Because we don’t NEED to know them anymore! Cell phones – smart phones particularly with their expanded contact list – have made it obsolete to have to memorize numbers. This is a bad thing though! What happens if you NEED to call someone and don’t have your cell phone? Then what? Do you still keep a little black book somewhere other than your phone? Probably not.

You know how bad it is? A couple of weeks ago SB forgot his cell phone. So he borrowed a friend’s to call him to let me know he was on his way home. And you know what? He was THRILLED (and quite shocked) that he was able to remember my work number on his own! Other than programming it into his own phone, he has rarely ever had to dial it directly. At his age I KNOW I had over a dozen numbers in my head! He might know about the same number as me – five.

This cannot be good for our brains! We should be challenging ourselves more, not making it easier to let those brain cells turn to mush!

So – how many numbers could you dial LONG HAND right now?

 

NBC Sports needs to wake up & Do It Live!!

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Dear NBC Sports,

You see that image up there? It’s the Breaking News feed on Twitter. It has 1.6+ MILLION followers. I can guarantee you that a significant portion of those followers (like, me for instance) live on the West Coast. The Pacific Time Zone. Why should this matter to you? Well, think about where the Winter Olympics are this year for a minute. What time zone? Yes, yes, that’s right, Vancouver is on the WEST Coast! Of North America! Which means it is in the Pacific Time Zone! Pretty cool huh?! All of us California sports lovers are just THRILLED that this huge event is taking place in OUR time zone! For once, we can see it live!!

Right?

RIGHT?

Oh you are kidding me! No? NO?! You are still forcing us to watch Previously Recorded events??! Freaking TAPE DELAY on our OWN coast?! Are you NUTS? Or, are you just mired in 1994? Do you not have one  clue about the internet?  Have you not heard of Twitter?

Oh wait – I think you HAVE:

Let’s see, I took that snapshot at 5:27pm Pacific Time. Your broadcast of the men’s 5000 meter speed skating event just NOW showed the final heat with Hedrick missing the podium and Kramer sealing the Gold. Look at that teensy font at the bottom left – You know what that says?

about 3 hours ago

That’s right – THREE hours ago you sent that tweet. So that anyone following your twitter feed would know who won. You also have an NBCOlympics twitter account which ALSO sent those results out three hours ago. You are advertising it for people to follow for all the up to date Olympic announcements. Brilliant! Except that you are SPOILING YOUR OWN SHOWS!! So basically we here on the west coast should follow you guys, but then not look? Now, sure that one only has 50,000 followers. Not the 1.6 million that Breaking News has. But hey, I have BREAKING News for you too: Their feed also tweeted results all day! LIVE!

Do I even need to cover internet sites? Like you OWN? Also with real time results and…pictures..and VIDEO?!

So what’s the point of this rant? The point is that we here on the West Coast would like to see these events LIVE!! Especially the Big Ones! Like the Opening Ceremony for instance. My east coast friends were having a roaring good time last night commenting on the Ceremony (which was pretty darn moving & visually beautiful), while I sat here watching….Entertainment Tonight? Because the west coast got it all two hours later. By then, even though we all already knew it would be Gretzky lighting the torch, we already KNEW it for sure! WHY WHY WHY? When will you TV big wigs learn that people will tune in because of the EVENT, not the time it is broadcast.

Do you have any idea how much impact would be removed from the iconic “Do you believe in miracles?!” call of the 1980 hockey game if half the world had already tweeted & facebook & blogged about it??!!

Mary Lou Retton bouncing into Bela Karoli’s arms & into gymnastics history would have been all over You Tube before we saw it live here (even though it freaking HAPPENED here!).

I know, it’s a real challenge when the games are on another continent almost a full day ahead of our time zones.

I know, because I got my ass up at 5am back in 1994 to watch (live) the gold medal hockey match between Sweden and Canada in Norway. Because the EVENT was what drew me in.

So really NBC Sports, give your viewers some credit here. Give us some RESPECT. It is 2010. There are literally dozens of ways that the results will get to our eyes well before your hideously out dated Previously Recorded Broadcasts. It is taking away a ton of the joy of sitting down to watch these events.

Do it live NBC. Do it live. Because the rest of the world already is.

More OCD and #questiontime!

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I’ve talked before about how the internet has given all of us a tendency towards exhibiting ADD characteristics (Dare you to read an entire article from start to finish without a single click of a link or over to another browser tab!) Yesterday I was laughing at myself though at my latest little display of internet related neurosis – OCD.  I absolutely cannot click on to my google reader site without then reading every single feed in there! Even if I really don’t have time. But I simply cannot leave any blog unread. Same with email. I absolutely HAVE to read and sort every message that comes in, whether at work or in my personal in-box. Otherwise I think it is like brain clutter to me. And I hate clutter in any form. Someone tweeted yesterday that his email in-box was down to 24 unread messages which was the lowest total in 3 years – and that he hoped to actually clear it sometime today. Oh, that thought just floored me! Now, I realize that if you are someone (like he is) who received probably hundreds at a time that you MUST learn to walk away from it. And honestly that was my big challenge in order to block out some reading time every night – step away from the RSS feeds! What I really did was manage them better – reduced the numbers on twitter & google reader – because I still have not once sat down to read my books with anything unread online 🙂

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Something that brought me some really bright spots last week is my passion for politics. The State of the Union address and then the almost impromptu town hall style meeting that the President had with members of the congressional GOP caucus on Friday. If you’ve seen a hastag around the internet recently such as this: #questiontime – that refers to the Q & A session between Obama and the GOP. It was *really* compelling (I would think for anyone from either side of the aisle) and I personally would LOVE to see more. I’m not the only one either. This is actually modeled after Q&A sessions that are regularly scheduled in some parliamentary systems such as Great Britain and Canada when the Prime Minister has to go before Parliament and face questions from members from all parties. I love the idea of it. And I certainly thought that the law makers asked MUCH better questions than the media normally does in a standard press conference! So my plea to you is – if you’d like to see more #questiontime go to this website and sign the petition urging the White House and Congress to do more of it.

Aint technology grand?

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live-blogging

I promise this is not a political post, but get this:

One of the front pager writers from DailyKos is sitting in on the Rules Committee hearing on the House Health Care Bill. He’s there courtesy of the Chairwoman, Rep Louise Slaughter who got him on as credentialed media. He’s covering it by “live tweeting” sending along 140 character updates via twitter every minute or so. It’s like having a play by play announcer in the room. Meanwhile, I am listening to the live stream of the hearing – listening, because they traditionally don’t have cameras in the hearing rooms like they do on the Congressional or Senate floors. While I am listening, it is easy to lose track of whose voice belongs to which Rep. A quick tweet to the DailyKos writer, and I get an answer! I can TALK to someone IN the hearing room which it all happens! And as he pointed out a minute ago, this hearing session is WAAAY more productive and respectful & less about theatrics & bombast. There’s a couple of members on this committee who have been *quite* theatrical with their floor speeches to the point of some sharp criticism, but in this hearing they are being quite subdued and reasonable. Is it the lack of cameras I wonder? 🙂

It doesn’t matter – I am just flabbergasted at how accessible this all is! I mean – five years ago coulf I have imagined this kind of inside access? Heck no!!

I love technology!!

 

 

Technology!? ATM deposit without envelope!

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Just feed the checks/cash in directly

Just feed the checks/cash in directly

I had to deposit some cash into my savings account this morning so I used the Wells Fargo ATM in my grocery store on the way in to work. There are two machines there and another gentleman was finishing up his transaction as I started looking around for deposit envelopes. And looking. And looking. And..where are they? Then I noticed from the corner of my eye that the machines looked new. At that moment the gentleman finished his transaction and saw me looking puzzled and said “No deposit envelopes! You don’t need them anymore – check this out!” and he showed me his receipt from a deposit he just made of a check. The receipt had a teensy image of the check right there on it! Apparently the new deposit slots are scanners which will image checks and scan cash. So I somewhat apprehensively stepped up to the machine and went for it. When I selected deposit  it gave me new options – Deposit Checks or Deposit Cash.  When I slid in the 2 bills, it popped up on the screen with “You are depositing (2) $100 bills for a total of $200, correct?” so I pushed Yes and got my receipt which listed that 2 x $100 detail at the bottom.

Trippy!!

Now, I don’t know what happens if you selected No – if it would spit back out the bills or what. Thankfully I don’t deposit cash all that often so I hope I don’t have to find out! I did search online just now to find that image I inserted and apparently these new machines are not *that* new. B of A has been using them for several months and I saw some blog posts about issues with them especially with cash transactions. In typical B of A style they had launched the machines without preparing for problems and had no process in place to handle customer claims if the wrong amount was counted in the slot! Shocking (not).

I’m just glad the WF machine worked fine this morning. However, even though I am generally pretty comfortable using the latest technology, I do agree with the many blog posts I read which opined that there will be an increase in human teller use with the machines! I am sure that a lot of people will NOT trust them and will walk inside instead.

I really thought it was rather cool 🙂