A few years ago when tablets were the next big thing, there were articles everywhere explaining why tablets would replace everything else. All the techno-pundits said no one would need a computer because everything would be done on a small, portable device.

72-Alien Computer-B_06

It didn’t happen. Everyone bought a tablet, but no one threw out their computer.

I don’t have anything against portable devices. I have a smart phone. Sometimes, I even use it. I have two tablets and had as many as four until I gave two away.

tablets kindle iPad

I have a terrific 14-inch laptop and a desktop with a big monitor. I rarely use the desktop, but I keep it because you never know. The big desktop monitor is actually a touch screen. It used to reconfigure itself when a fly or a mosquito walked across it. I turned the touch functionality off and use a mouse. If I hadn’t been able to get rid of the touch technology, I would have been forced to defenestrate it.

Warning: You cannot edit a photograph — or really, anything — using a touchscreen.

my office and desktop computer

I’m sure those who extol mini devices as a total computer solution have never designed a book, made a movie, edited a photograph, used Photoshop (or any Adobe product), converted a book to a PDF or edited a manuscript. I know this because it’s impossible. All other problems aside, little devices are too small. You can’t edit a big thing on an itty-bitty screen.

This is not my opinion. It’s a fact. Operating system is irrelevant. Mac, PC, Android or Linux, size matters. You can argue this until you’re blue in the face. It won’t change anything.


I read an article that explained how you can type just fine on a virtual keyboard. No, you can’t.


If I’ve got room in my house for every kind of device, surely there’s ample room in our world for everything. Personally, I like choice. I like using different devices for different tasks. You can’t replace everything with one thing  and there’s no reason you should.

An office

One size never fits all. Diversity makes life interesting. Let’s celebrate our differences. We don’t have to go to the same church, read the same books, believe the same stuff … or use the same computer

If everybody would quit trying to force their opinions on others, life would be better. For everyone. So live. Enjoy. Let everyone else do the same.


I heard it, but it didn’t make any sense. Noise. Music. Shrill, loud music. Mozart. What does Mozart have against me? I never did anything to him …

fruitfly magazine telephone solicitationOh. It’s the telephone. Someone — maybe something — is calling. As the fumes clear my brain, I pick up the receiver, realize it’s an 800 number. No one in my world has an 800 number so I press “on” then “off” and the phone goes quiet.

I only answer calls from people with names or real numbers. Or which come from a number that looks like a real person’s number. No 800 numbers because they are not people. Most of the time, these calls are recordings. At best, they are hired guns trying to get my money.

I know everyone’s got to make a living, but you aren’t going to make it calling me. If I could reach through the receiver and get to a person on the other end, I would choke the life out of him or her. Or make my best effort.

These calls come in by the dozens. I don’t know how exactly the find me, but they do. My favorite recent one was a recorded message that started with “We are calling in response to your inquiry about a television advertisement for a back brace.”


Speechless, I stared at the receiver. Then I pressed the off button. I have never called in response to any television advertisement for anything. Not even once in my entire life.

So I was awake. Fortunately, it was already 10 in the morning and I would be getting up around now anyhow. Though just once, I would like to sleep in and not be jarred out of a dream by the telephone. It turns out you can only program the ringer to not ring between the hours of 11 pm and 9:30 am. After that, you’re on your own.

In case you didn’t know it, putting yourself on a “Do Not Call” list is the perfect way to distribute your phone number to organizations who sell data to telephone solicitation spammers.

I cannot stop the calls. All I can do is turn them off when they come. Too many mornings are the same, beginning with a ringing phone … followed by a day peppered with similar calls. Maybe that’s just life in the no-privacy, let-it-all-hang-out connected world.

I have only one question: Do these recorded calls actually earn money for anyone? Does someone actually buy a product because a recording called them?


We aren’t big on phones around here. We have a VOIP “landline” and a cell phone which I usually forget to turn on. But computers? We got them. And cameras. Lots of cameras.


Kindle and iPad

plugs roku and headphones


alienware side view computer


Most real communication is done via email. Electronic, non-voice. Oh, and Garry has a special caption phone, but since he hates telephones on principle, it doesn’t get much use.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Phones and Computers


It happened again. Someone’s left a voicemail message, but all I can make out are a few words. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I recognize the voice. Maybe not.

roku and headphones

We used to leave messages on our answering machines telling folks to speak slowly and clearly, but most callers thought we were being funny. Leaving a coherent message was apparently a joke. These days, we get lots of incoherent messages. Usually, with caller ID (and now with a caption phone), we know who called and can retrieve the number, but not necessarily. If it’s garbled enough, the caption phone won’t get it either. It’ll just say “Incomprehensible” or “muffled” or something else that means “sorry, no idea what he/she said.”


“Garry, your brother called. No idea what he said. Call him, okay?”

“Hey, Jim called about something. Call him when you have a moment.”

“One of your cousins called. They left a message but I can’t make it out.”

My favorite: “Someone called. Maybe it was important. They left a number but I can’t understand it.  Guess it wasn’t important enough.” Note: If it really is important and we don’t call back? Pick up the phone and call again. Seriously. If it’s that important, make sure we got the message.

wires and blue sky

If you leave a message, speak up. Clearly. Repeat the phone number. Don’t forget to include your name — in case we don’t actually know you as well as you think we do or can’t recognize your voice.

Don’t mumble.

While we’re on the subject, how about those cell phones, eh? On which you can’t hear anything? From either end? I miss telephones on which you knew you had a connection that wouldn’t drop and on which you could hear what someone said to you — and know they could hear you.

No wonder texting is so popular. No one can understand what anyone else is saying.



Telephones on which both you and the party to whom you were speaking could hear each other.

Sound tracks on movies where dialogue was louder than background music.

72-Mobile and Regular Phones_07

Silence when you were out and not near a phone. Being out of touch was wonderful — the whole point of vacation.

People walking on the street without things stuck in their ears, paying attention to where they were walking. Saying “hi” and smiling when they passed by.

Conversations which were not constantly interrupted by tweets, dings, beeps, and ringing.

Good manners. “Please” and “thank you” being part of normal human intercourse.

The customer always being right. I’d settle for the customer occasionally being treated with respect.

Complete sentences with words spelled correctly and including punctuation.

Full-service gas stations where they cleaned your windshield.


SCENE I. France. Before Harfleur.

Alarum. Enter KING HENRY, EXETER, BEDFORD, GLOUCESTER, and Soldiers, with scaling-ladders
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
Exeunt. Alarum, and chambers go off.


Sorry, I just had to do that. Now, back to our regularly scheduled broadcast, already in progress.


For your blog do you basically use Mac or Windows applications.  What type of device laptop, desktop,tablet, phone or pad?

I work on a powerful little Alienware gaming machine running Windows 7 Professional.


I also have an iPad, which I don’t enjoy, but it comes in handy if I want to check something quickly from the bedroom.

I have an 8.9 inch (big) Kindle HDX which runs Amazon’s proprietary Android OS. Smooth as silk, it’s a reader, music player. Great for movies and audiobooks, too. It has excellent sound quality, with headphones, but like the iPad, isn’t loud enough with its speakers alone. I’m thinking of getting a wireless Bluetooth speaker to use with all my small devices.

The iPad is easier for general use than the Kindle because I can run Chrome on it, same as my laptop. It automatically has my contacts, bookmarks, usernames, etc.


The Kindle is more fun, but both tablets have a place in my world. The iPad sound is not nearly as good as the Kindle, by the way. Not even in the same class and its tendency to lock up or never finish loading is maddening.

In my office, I have a big desktop with a large HD monitor. Runs Windows 7. I don’t use it much these days. The laptop is both faster  and more. And I like not being locked away alone in my office.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to?

A house without any stairs and an all-wheel drive car for winter. I know that’s two things, so if I had to choose, it would be the house — with a garage for the car.

Can you change a car tire?

I’m embarrassed to admit, no. Never have. For this reason, I have AAA. I call. They come.


This is a verbatim of the tail end of an endless day of trying to get accurate information about what is included in my AT&T wireless plan and how much it costs. Garry was afraid I was going to have a stroke and die. The telephone was horrible and we returned it, another long and tedious tale.

I had gotten emails from them with a variety of wrong plans for phone numbers that were never ours, or which were disconnected years ago — for long discarded telephones. Every email had incorrect prices. I had gone beyond frustration to frothing-at-the-mouth rage.

Q7 and lenses with cell phone

Agent : I see, thank you for all the information, Marilyn.

Me : And in return, I get what?

Agent : I have checked all my resources here, and the email that was sent to you contains the updated information of your new plan and the device that you have purchased.

Me : I do not want one of your generated documents. I want a real document. A simple typed email will do nicely, one that details the account and purchase information. Accurately. Without any wrong numbers. All you sent was a link to the online information which has no details. I want an actual document. Do you understand?

Agent : Yes we do understand.

Me : After all you have put me through, someone can sit down, and type out the information into an email, sign it with a real name and a return address, and email it to me.

Not links. Data. Accurate data. Correct numbers. The right account, the right plan, the right phone.

Agent : As much as we would want to send a typed email to you, we don’t have the record, because as what we have here on our end, we can only see the last order that you made and that is the Nokia Lumia.


THE PLAN. YOU KNOW, THE PLAN? Not the phone. The plan. P – L – A – N. I changed the plan today. Surely you can see that?

Agent : Your current plan right now on line XXX-XXX-XXXX is the Mobile Share Value Plan 300MB for $20, Mobile Share Value iPhone w/Visual Voicemail $25 a total of $45/month before taxes.

That will be your monthly recurring charges,Marilyn.

Me : That isn’t our phone number.

Agent : Oops! Sorry …

Me : And this includes texting? Because it doesn’t SAY so.

Agent : Your line is XXX-XXX-XXXX and your current plan is Mobile Share Value Plan 300MB for $20/monthly before taxes.

Me : $20?

Agent : This Mobile Share Value Plan 300MB includes unlimited text,unlimited international text from U.S to over 120 countries, unlimited talk, sharable data of 300MB, mobile hotspot feature.

Me : And the $45? If the plan is $20 … what is the other $25?

Agent : Sorry again, my mistake.

That is Mobile Share Value Plan 300MB for $20 and Access fee charge for the device for $25, a total of $45/monthly before taxes.

That is now the accurate plan details,Marilyn.

Me : Can I get a transcript of this call for MY records please?

Agent : Yes, Marilyn. You may.

Me : Thank you. I am so tired. You guys are trying to kill me.

Agent : So that you may use this as the basis for the plan change that you made today. We sincerely apologize, Marilyn.

Me : Shall I bill AT&T for 9 hours I can never get back?

Agent : Thank you for patiently understanding what we have discussed on this chat. We are really sorry, Marilyn.

Me : Yeah. I bet you are.

Agent : We really appreciate your time, Marilyn.

Me : Okay. Enough. I need to make dinner and take a few blood pressure medications before I explode.

Agent : Thank you so much for your time.

Me : Right.

Agent : Thank you and have a wonderful dinner, Marilyn.

We eventually wound up with a Samsung Galaxy Alpha because it has the best audio of any mobile phone AT&T had available. Also the loudest. I still hate cell phones, but at least we have one that works as opposed to paying for a phone, but not being able to use it (iPhones are overrated).