March 29, 2012

Life is Change…

I suppose there are other words I could use, such as CHANGING, CHANGED, CHANGES…  but the same holds true.

Whether you like it or not, life changes.  Everything we do, every decision we make, every person we meet, everything… changes our lives.  From waking up in the morning, to drinking that second cup of coffee, to going to bed later.  Everything changes our lives.

How many of us would love to relive those years gone by.  I’ve now reached the half century mark in my life.  I’d like to think that this is only one quarter of my lifespan, but in reality, I don’t think that will happen.

Yes, I smoke.  Yes, I enjoy the occasional glass of wine.  Yes, I drink more coffee in one day, than most people do in three.  I’d love to go back to the days when a cup of coffee cost $0.50.  Perhaps my parents might remember an even cheaper amount.  Maybe my grandparents can remember even cheaper.  How many times do we hear that a loaf of bread cost $0.89 or even $0.10?  I can remember bread going on sale for $0.49.  Purchase a couple extra loaves, put them in the freezer.

Even something so simple as the computer.  When I think back that almost 30 years ago, having a ‘personal’ computer was unheard of.  Computers were used by big businesses.  One of my first jobs in Ottawa was with Museums Canada.  We had to log onto the computer at the same time every morning, logoff at the same time at lunch, logon at the same time after lunch, then logoff at the same time at days end.  Slowly, as time went by, and working in other departments, computers became more commonplace, to the point where we are now.  Everyone has their own computer.  Long gone are the ‘terminals’ linked to ONE computer.  Change.

Some changes are for the better.  Some could be perceived as being a nuisance.  Others are just for necessity.  One of the things I used to do a long time ago in Ottawa, was a ‘home business’ of word processing.  Again, since personal computers were unheard of, I purchased a Micom 3000 computer.  I would have customers give me hand-written material to be typed.  I had a good business going.  Charging by the page.  Wow.  It’s kind of weird to think of those days.

As computers became smaller and faster and more compact and cheaper, more and more people bought their own computers.  Now, it’s almost rare to find a person or household that DOES NOT have a computer.  I’m sure there are people out there who don’t have computers, but they are becoming dinosaurs in our world.

Later on, I purchased another computer – a Commodore +4.  I’m surprised that I remembered this computer, but it was like the first ‘mini’ computer I had.  At that time, there was no such thing as the internet.  I did have the progenitor the internet.  It was called a BBS – Bulletin Board Service.  Several friends of mine in Ottawa and I had set up a magazine.  We published writings by people from across North America.  Rather than waiting for days or weeks to get these articles, then having to type them all by hand, I purchased a BBS program.

A person would use their computer and telephone to call my computer.  Once the ‘crackling’ was heard at the other end, the modem would be switched on, the phone placed in the cradle, and voila – connection.  The other person and I would be able to type back and forth to each other, and transfer files.  Yes, it took a while for files to be transferred, but the convenience of obtaining these files, ready to be placed into the magazine ready for publication, was a time saver.  Nowadays, the file would be transferred via e-mail, downloaded, saved, placed into the magazine within minutes.  No fuss, no muss, and very little re-working on the file.  Change.

Slowly, the internet came into play.  In the beginning days, computers were slow.  Storage space was limited.  We used ‘floppy disks’ to store information.  Hard drives were a thing of the future.  Programs had to be loaded before being used.  However, connecting to people and places around the country, the world, became easier.  It was fascinating.  It was exciting.  Now, it’s blase.  I can connect to a website in Europe as easy as Canada as easy as Taiwan.  As long as I know the internet address, no problem.


People around the world have figured out uses for this technology.  Everything from doing their own ‘word processing’ to watching movies to chatting with friends and family.

One of the better ideas to come along for the use of the internet, and I’m sure most people around the world will agree, is the introduction of social websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and other programs like Skype.  These websites and programs have allowed people to stay in contact and meet new people.

For my part in all this, Facebook has allowed me to stay in contact with my friends and family back in Canada.  It has allowed me to spend some time (in some cases, too much time) playing games and competing with new friends around the world.  In turn, because of these new contacts, I have been able to see parts of the world that I may never get to see, through their photos of their home life and holidays.  In a way, I get to travel vicariously through them.

With a program like Skype, I have been able to SEE and TALK live to my friends and family, not only in Canada, but in Taiwan as well.  Granted, it may not be as convenient as the telephone.  The other person must be on their computer, and have the program running and logged on before you can communicate.  However, when all the pieces are in play, communicating this way is wonderful.  Keeps me connected to my family and friends.  Makes living half-way around the world a whole lot easier. Doesn’t seem quite as lonely.  When I visit Canada, the same holds true the other way.  Being able to communicate with my co-workers in Taiwan, helps me keep up-to-date with my job/career.

To think that 20 or 30 years ago, we would be able to do this, was a fantasy.  Things science fiction movies are made of.

One of the reasons for discussing this, has to do with Facebook.  A few months ago, Facebook was introducing it’s new layout.  Since its inception, it was basically the same style and look.  Before the new year, at least for me, I was given the option of ‘trying out’ the new look of Facebook.  Rather than fight the issue, I decided to just accept that change was necessary.  I accepted the change from the old layout to the new layout.

Okay, at first it was a bit daunting.  I didn’t understand exactly what to do.  I couldn’t find some things.  However, over time (and in reality, not that long a period of time) I got used to the new layout.  When I see others on Facebook still using the old layout, it’s a bit confusing.  Trying to remember the old options vs. the new options.

From what I have read from some of my ‘friends’, Facebook is changing everyone’s layout to the new layout some time in April.  All I have to say to them is, accept it.  At this point, you may see it as an attack or Facebook trying to screw around with you.  However, change must happen.  Think back to the first time you logged on and registered with Facebook.  You didn’t know what to do.  You didn’t know how to access information.  You didn’t know squat.


In time, and with a little acceptance, you will get used to the new format.  I’m not a shareholder in Facebook.  I have no stakes in this program/website.  I am a user of Facebook.  I have discovered that the users of Facebook who are posting the most ‘complaints’ about the new look, are elderly.  Sorry.  I’m kind of in that group as well.  I also keep in mind, that this is a free service.  I don’t pay for it, I don’t have a stake in it, I am a ‘leecher’ so-to-speak – as are millions and millions of others around the globe.

Accept it, deal with it, keep your mind active, or sign off.  It isn’t like your local grocery store or restaurant.  With millions of users around the world, if only one or two people stop using the system, will that really deter Facebook from changing?  Not likely.  Again, it is a free system (for now) to the users.  For every person that stops using the system, 1000 more sign up.

Change is inevitable.  Without change, we wouldn’t have the internet.  We wouldn’t have cell phones.  Hell, we wouldn’t even have phones!  We wouldn’t have the car.  We wouldn’t have fast food.  We wouldn’t have television.  We wouldn’t have freedom.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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