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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Living in 2011

  • Please follow me in twitter! (AHorseOffCourse) If you have a twitter account, let me know and I'll add you to my thread list.
  • I would really appreciate if you use the new button on the side bar to retweet my blog!
  • I will be posting "Picks of the Day" at the bottom of most posts - except for todays - because let's face it, it's 9:30a and I'm still in my PJ's.
  • I'm updating my blogroll on the sidebar. If you have a blog you would like it added, let me know.

After living in 1863 for a weekend, I came home and got caught up for 2011. Today we are are going to talk about technology.

Shall we start with a short story?

"Updating From a Dinosaur Computer"

1. When you get your new computer, first off install Dropbox. Your old computer has dropbox, and thank goodness for that, since you lost your thumb drive a year ago, you haven't bothered replacing it. It's going to be a headache transferring your information since you are too cheap to buy a "fire-whatever" cable and dropbox is going to be a lifesaver. Too bad you forgot to put stuff IN dropbox before you went travelling and no longer have access to the internet on the old computer....

2. Evernote (free version) is the next priority - but since the desktop version of evernote wouldn't run on the old computer anyways - everything is online and there's no fear that the evernote data will be left on the old computer and not transferred.

3. After installing Garmin Roadtrip, and realizing that mysteriously every single one of your GPS tracks and other GPS data from the last 5 years DID get sucked into the black hole that represents the dinosaur computer, and are gone take a break and decide to do more web based applications.

4. Time to move onto social networking. Twitter is easy to sign up for, and after doing a few test tweets, following some threads, and installing the tweet button on the blog, you quickly realize that keeping up with the blog AND twitter AND facebook AND google Buzz AND running Boots 4 Mel AND keeping the website updated AND passing vet a bit ambitious. You run to TwitterFeed and sync the blog to twitter and facebook, and sync twitter to facebook. Then you run over to facebook and figure out how to stop importing blog posts from blogger to facebook - because let's face it, it's just annoying to have a blog post as a status update 3 times. Then, head over to Tweetdeck and attempt to consolidate Google Buzz, Facebook, and Twitter in one desk top application. Realize that while Google buzz is linked to Blogger, it is NOT linked to Twitter, but the thought of linking and testing ONE MORE THING is utterly exhausting and decide to do something easier - like wash solar panels and possibly the car - instead.

5. After teaching the puppy that the couches are not her personal lounging beds, get the bright idea to start backing up the new computer NOW. Take your external harddrive that you SHOULD have been doing full backups on (but instead you only did documents and pictures because it was "easier" and completely missed the GPS data) and start up time machine.

6. Next, go on over to the Rapidweaver website, because at some point this summer you are SURE you will have time to finish that website....You were running version 3 on the dinosaur because it wouldn't support v. 4. You realize that in the meantime they have come out with version 5. You aren't sure whether to wail or rejoice - version 4 was a free upgrade with your purchase of 3, and 5 is going to cost you some $. When you find out you purchased version 3&4 a mere 2 weeks before the cut off to upgrade to 5 for free, you settle on studied indifference.

7. Enough with the "tools"! you say. "Where's my fun stuff?????". Download Overdrive to all devices (itouch, ipad, computer) and Adobe Digital Editions to the computer and read a library book over a glass of wine in the afternoon with sleeping puppies underfoot.

8. Decide that the product name "ipad" is just as bad now, as when you were making fun of it when the product was first announced. Your ipad's name is now "Polly", based on a series of rather complicated associations based on ipad = eye patch = pirate = blackbeard (except your ipad is white), therefore it has to be named after his parrot.

9. Realize that while you are all set up for the creation of your media empire, you have done precious little to ready your devices for their stated purpose - school. You know, that little thing that has completely taken over your life for the past year, and will continue to do so with copious amounts of debt for the next 5 years. Find a (free) notetaking app call Noterize and do a couple of practice note sets using dropbox and the document file within the ipad. Realize you are going to need a stylus and spend WAY TOO MUCH time on amazon getting totally distracted. Find a stylus and a cover for the ipad and computer (all 130 students in my class have the same computer and we were advised to put stickers on our nice new toys). Yes, you could have just put a bumper sticker on them - but since you are realized that you keep your electronics 5-7 years, you would really like all these devices to come out on the other side of vet school more or less intact. The dinosaur sulks in the corner - he didn't get any fancy case. "Did you EVER clean this computer?" my cousin asks as she painstakingly wipes down the computer and keyboard of the dinosaur, which has found a deserving home.

10. Decide that you really have been doing this too long, when you can't figure out how to delete ipad docs - and when you google it the answer is "hit the delete button on your keyboard".

11. Download the Perfect Reader app (I have the free version), find out it doesn't do what you want (read Adobe Digital Editions) and decide to keep it anyways because it looks cool.....

12. Look at the Remember The Milk app (again with the free version) and realize that you haven't even completed one "todo" item that was actually on the list to be completed today....

13. As if you haven't wasted enough time today, start researching PAID apps that you are going to buy with your apple rebate that you haven't got yet - iwork, airdisplay - and then go one step further and research an app that hasn't even come out yet.

14. It's now approximately one hour past your bedtime. Change out of your PJ's, eat breakfast, and decide that tomorrow will be better. Because somehow you will be more productive now that you have desktop notifications EVERY SINGLE TIME someone does something on twitter, facebook, or Buzz......You fall asleep while contemplating how much more efficient technology makes us - you skipped all meals, only wore one set of clothes, and utilized less oxygen since you were stationary all day...

15. The next morning try and actually use the new technology to write a post. Bonus points if it actually has to do with the stated subject of the blog.

Most people reading this have some sort of online presence - through either a blog, twitter, or facebook. And for most of us, we use these online groups to share, learn, and vent about a favorite subject - horses.

Yes, I have readers who are decidedly NOT horsey and for some strange reason find us horse people entertaining enough to stick around, BUT, for the most part we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the love of the horse, and the desire to be with like-minded people.

There is not enough time in the entire freakin' universe to utilize all available technology - how do you chose which media to follow and be a part of?

Deciding what technology to utilize and how to best to use the technology available depends on your online goal. Education? Self improvement? Just for fun? Meet new friends? Stay connected with old ones? A goal is important because it keeps you focused and efficient. Trust me when I say there is not enough time in your life to do everything. I can't even get through a single SUMMER and accomplish everything on the list....

When I started my major online presence it was with the goal to improve my narrative writing. Even as the fringe benefits added up, that remained my central goal. I accomplished my goal through a blog that told the story of my horsey life. There is only so much time I can devote to something that doesn't pay the bills, and so I tended to ignore technology that didn't fit into this goal - such as twitter and face book.

Changes in my life (and accomplishing several long term goals), and finally updating my devices so that I can fully participate online, is a perfect opportunity to revisit what my online goals are....

I want to help people. Endurance is a rough sport to get into, in part because there are very few accomplished people in endurance that can effectively serve as mentors. Many riders that are getting started in endurance rely on the internet for information. I can remember scouring the sites I found, such as, and participating in online forums and email lists to glean tidbits that would get me through my first ride. I love endurance and plan on doing it for the rest of my life. At some point I hope do become an accomplished endurance rider and someone who should be serving as a mentor - but in the meantime I can create an online presence that provides that new rider with an organized resource.

To accomplish my new goal it is time to bring in other technology (such as twitter) and finish the website, as well as complete several other exciting projects that support this blog and the main website.

I want to see every reader of this blog succeed in their goals - whether they are horsey goals, music goals, or personal life goals. Technology can help you do this!

Check out some programs I use, most of which are free. I encourage you to take some time to sit down, think about your goals, and perhaps discover a new tool or two that will make you more efficient with your computer time, or be able to reach a larger audience. Often, just clarifying the goal can re-motivate you to post on your blog regularly or get around to that really cool project.

If you have a computer program or an app you are in love with, please post in the comments!


  1. Picasa: is the best free photo-editor I've used in years. It's stable, straightforward, and doesn't take up gobs of memory on my computer.

    Twitter: makes me crazy. My thoughts are longer than a sentence or two. Long live Blogger! >g<

    Facebook: is a great way to share low-rez photos and thoughts with people I like but rarely see f2f. It's also a good place to store my witty, snarky thoughts so that my witty, snarky friends can appreciate them (and me). However, I don't base my social calendar around Farmville.

    Farmville: is dumb. I have real chickens to feed and a real garden to weed. I don't need a game for that!

    Overdrive: rocks.

  2. I'll have to check out Picasa - I used it years and years ago, but I don't do much editing so kind of dropped it. Now with the website I'm scrambling to try and find something I like. The HP software I got with my printer was OK, but not comprehensive with everything in one spot - everytime I tried to do something different, I had to open a new "sub-program". Grrrr.....

    I'm really lovin' overdrive!

  3. Just downloaded Picasa and I LOVE it. WOW. ALL the features I've been looking for in a photo editing program in one spot. I am THRILLED. Thanks for the recommendation.


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