Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Technology

After today’s discussion in class, it really made me think about how much we use technology.  Everything we need to know on a daily bases is just one click, one email, or one phone call away.  I have come to a realization that I do not go anywhere without my phone.  Have you ever thought about what this world was like without technology?  Well I have, and I think that without technology human relationships would be much greater (having a stronger social support), people may find that they “know how” to do things more then they “know that.”  If we didn’t have technology we would be forced to do everything on our own, which in a way may make us smarter.  For example, today people with Internet connections can now use Google to access an incredible amount of information. That access could make us less likely to memorize information, knowing that we can access it online any day, at any time.

Now that there is Facebook and Twitter, you catch many people on their phones almost at all times.  These social connections because of technology are making our relationships less likely to grow and making people become lazy.  I have seen my friends stay on Facebook all day, what you can possible do on one page for a whole day is beyond me.  Yes, I use it, but I don’t think it affects my daily life; I don’t have the urge to get on every time I see a computer, and I have better things in life to turn to then a social network.  I would much rather go hang out with a friend and talk to them face to face, rather than through technology.  Technology is taking over and we know it, it takes away time from your life, time from doing your school work or work in general.  The true question, is technology taking over your life?

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Gaming: My outlet for frustration

Since I was seven, video games have been a huge part of my life. Every time a new gaming system came out, I had to have it. When I was younger, I always stuck to easy, family friendly games but as I got older I started to play more mature games such as Grand Theft Auto.
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At the time, I didn’t realize how therapeutic video games could be for me. I just thought they were fun and they kept me from being bored during the summer.
Last summer I started playing a game called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This game is ridiculously addictive, so I used to play for hours at a time. Again, I didn’t think it was an outlet for frustration; it was just something to pass the time.
But this year, as my stress level started to rise, I realized that playing this game (a newer version called Black Ops) actually helped decrease alot of stress.
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Whenever I was upset and needed to blow off some steam I would go over to my friend’s room and play this game for an hour straight. Afterwards, I felt better and more relaxed. I’m not the type to hit or damage something when I get upset so I feel that this is the perfect outlet of frustration with me. Not only do video games give me a way to release some steam, they give me something to focus on to take my mind off of stressful things or issues that I may be having at the time.
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No cell phone… No Stress

This week I have been working without my phone, and it has been one of the best weeks of my life this year. I have been able to complete tasks without having any interruptions of buzzing cell phones, and drama filled text messages. When on this week long journey I started out in the library. While in the library I completed the work that would have taken me 4 hours, in a senseless two hours. Some people text while in class… I would never do that! But I cannot imagine who can have a conversation through text messages and concentrate on the information being presented in class. This still astonishes me to this day how some people are able to multi-task like that. Now back to my story of being phonelesss….

While being phone-less I completed many more tasks than I would have in the real world with a cell phone. I went fishing while cell-less, and on the journey I had the most relaxing time ever. We went fishing in the North Anna river located right up route 1. When fishing me and my friend Jay Crawford actually had a very relaxing day of fishing. We only had to wear bathing suits, and had the best time cause we weighted through the water to get to the fishing spots. When fishing i felt the sand at my feet, and the flowing water up to my knees. I could not be in a better place than i was that day. The thing that got me really excited about the whole entire trip was the second fish I caught. The fish was caught in a certain area that was right below a water fall. The water fall created a sound that is the most relaxing sound I have ever heard. The fish put up a tough fight, and it took me a while to get in, approximately five minutes. When I finally got the fish near my feet I quickly realized this thing was about 5 inches long. What i thought was a foot long fish on the end of my line, was simply a near minow. The fish put up a large fight for his size. “Its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

Living life without a phone for several days has been the most relaxing time of my life, and if my parents were not forcing me to buy another phone, I would rather not have a phone, and stay relaxed throughout exam week. Living without a phone has been the best time of my life, I wish technology had not grown large enough to create personal telephones.

The Stress of Losing (to Your Friends)

nullEver play a board game or videogame with a friend who if you lose to, they go out of their way to make it know that you lost and they won? This is a story about a game that happens to be both a board game and a videogame in one, yeah, Im talking about Mario Party for the N64. Three buddies and I had some free time to kill on Tuesday, and we had been talking about playing a game of Mario Party for the past few weeks. We were about to embark a journey that would ultimately result in one of us gloating until our next match. 

A quick background on the game rules: Each player rolls a dice, moves the appropriate spaces, and the after all 4 players have rolled, we play a Mini-game, which is usually a 4 player free-for-all game. There are other variations of mini games such as 2 vs 2, or 3 vs 1,  or 1 player games, all depending if players had landed on the red, green or Bowser spaces on the board during their turn. Depending on how one does in the mini game, they are rewarded coins, which can be used to purchase Stars. The player with the most stars and coins, in that order, is crowned the winner at the end. Example video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZpaly9wPOo

When we got halfway through the game, 10/20 turns, an updated leaderboard was announced. I was winning with 3 stars and a fair amount of coins, Andrew was in second with 2 stars and a heafty amount of coins, Blake was in third with 1 star, and good ole’ Joeseph Haddon III, otherwise known as Trey, was in dead last with more coins than he knew what do do with but no stars. The game made a prediction that Trey would be the winner, and of course we all brushed this off. There was no chance that this kid was going to come back and beat us. Everything that could have gone wrong for Trey did in the first half of the game.null

However Trey, with his new-found inspiration decided that maybe it was time to start playing. Things slowly started looking up for Trey as he stole his first Star from me, then a few turn later purchased one of his own, putting him in second place with 2 stars. This is where his momentum starts to build, like a pheonix bursting from the ashes, Trey took over. He started winning almost every mini-game, collecting enough coins to steal another star. As the Final turn was approaching, both Trey (2 stars and 53 coins) and Andrew (3 Stars and 28 coins) were in position to get the final star and be claimed the winner. Well, of course with Trey’s new found luck, Andrew gets about all of his coins stolen, meaning that he cannot buy another star and put the game away. Trey needed a 4 to move forward enough spaces to buy a star and beat andrew, he rolls an 8. Trey pulls out a come behind victory which seemed impossible half way through the game. I finished in last by the way. Thank you Trey for stealing all my stuff.

Now, you are probably wondering what this stupid game (sorry, i’m bitter that I lost to him) has to do with stress. Well, I have came to the conclusion because Trey got on his hot streak, it put the pressure (stress) on me to keep the lead. He had nothing to lose, was playing lights out Mario Party. I felt the stress of having the game slip through my hands without being able to do anything about it, and then of course sitting in last place knowing there was no chance of coming back. We, and by we I mean myself, did not want to lose to Trey because we all know what type of a winner he is… he Slams the controller down and starts dancing in our faces, screaming in our faces that we suck and he is awesome as he throws his hands in the air and walks around the room in his funny bouce walk that he does.  Remember earlier when I was talking about that friend who will go out of his way to make sure you know you lost to him, that ladies and gentlemen is Trey Haddon when it comes to videogames. The text Trey sent me when I told him that I was writing about our Mario party game says, “make sure you include the stress you felt when you were in last place, the stress you felt having the game slip through your hands, the stress you felt as I made my final push for Victory!”

Phoneless

Recently, as in today, I realized how much time I spend on my cell phone, and how lost I feel without it.  This morning I woke up and my phone was off, and it would not turn on, so I took it to the store in hopes that it would be repaired.  Then, the lady said the most dreadful words, “we cannot fix it, but we can send you a replacement by Wednesday.”  My jaw hit the floor.

I currently feel completely lost without my cell phone, without a constant connection to others. While thinking about how sad I am that I am phoneless, I also began to think of how sad it is that I am having these feelings over a cell phone.  The current and upcoming generations are so hooked on cell phones and other technologies, what would we have done 20 years ago when cell phones were not as neccessary?  When walking around campus you can see many students texting or talking on their cell phones while walking to and from classes. I know that I am one of those students who is constantly on their phone, without it I feel naked.

My blog post relates to an earlier posts “Texting Away the Present,” and “Disconnected.” When I read these blogs I thought “yeah that’s true, but I could live with out my phone if I wanted to…;” however, now that I am actually living without my phone I feel lost. It is going to be a very long next 4-5 days. This photo  depicts how cell phones enter lives early on. While whining about my phone being broken my 9 year old cousin said, “I haven’t had a cell phone for 9 years, I’m pretty sure you’ll live a few days with out it.”

Is technology making our lives easier or more stressful?

While determining how I personally spend each hour in my week I included the time I spend on my computer doing things other than homework, such as Facebook, under the category of relaxation. This got me thinking I seem to spend an awful lot of time on Facebook, texting, Skyping friends, and listening to music or watching movies on my computer, time that I see as qualifying as relaxation, but is the time I spend on my computer really helping me relax or has technology just become another added stressor in my life?

I personally find myself logging on to Facebook at the worst possible times; late at night when I should be sleeping or while I’m studying for a big exam in the library or attempting to write a five page paper due the next day. Facebook seems to be a stress free engagement when compared to the stressful tasks at hand. However, having the option of Facebooking or tweeting while I should be studying or sleeping in reality adds more stress to my life rather than less. Temporally logging on to Facebook does not help me become less stressed by coming closer to my goal of finishing my paper or preparing for an exam, instead Facebook is a time sucker which in the end adds more stress to my life. The more and more time I spend on Facebook the less time I have to stop stressing about my school work that I have yet to complete. Facebook can also be a stressful experience just by logging on. Say you sign into Facebook and there is a inappropriate picture someone put up of you from the previous weekend and you worry that your mom may have seen it before you got the chance to de-tag. Or if you are constantly stressing over what your ex-boyfriend’s next status updates going to be. In her blog entry entitled Is There Such Thing as Facebook Stress Syndrome?, blogger Lisa Ponte Fazio compares managing her Facebook page to a part-time job. Does this mean that having a Facebook comes with the same number of stressors as having a job?

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Facebook is not the only form of technology adding stress to our lives, with texting especially there is always the added stress of being in constant contact with other people, the pressure to respond to a text message right away or waiting for someone else to respond to you. Not to mention the acute psychological stress that can arise from the embarrassment of your cell phone going off in class. So although the thought of having my cell phone with me at times may seem to offer some comfort in knowing that I can easily connect to the rest of the world is the stress that comes with owning a cell phone worth it? Drascus makes a good point on how technology could be adding more stress to our lives on his blog entry entitled Does technology add Unneeded Stress to our Lives?, when he states that among young people there is also the added stress that comes with the pressures of being the first to own the newest form of technology. So although technology such as cell phones and personal computers may first appear to be important tools in the stress relief process when examined closely enough our smart phones and laptops may just be complicating our lives with unneeded stress.

Disconnected…

Disconnected…

While responding to texting away the present, I found myself first thinking about the amount of technology most people my age, and myself, are using on a daily basis. From facebook to texting, most people don’t go a day without the use of new networking technologies. With communications on my mind, I began to think about the opposite, the lack of communication and just how nice it can be to “forget” your phone at home or let the battery die every once and awhile. This led me to begin reminiscing about the time I have spent in Maine over the past few summers because more often than not I would find myself without a functioning phone… the times I had without my phone were some of the most relaxing, stress free times I have ever had.

For the past two summers I have traveled up to Maine and lived with my sister while I worked. She lives in a very small town along the Kennebec River, about a 20 minute ride from the ocean by either car or boat. If you travel up river, you stumble upon hundreds of acres of hay fields surrounded by forests. Basically, it is beautiful. The first Friday of my summer in Maine landed me on a friends boat shortly after work, we hit the throttle and were fishing in the ocean in no time at all. After we had reeled in a few and the fish stopped running I reached to check the time only to find a phone that was out of batteries. Disconnected. No texts, no calls, just a boat, a cooler full of…soda’s, and a view; ocean in one direction and a beach in the other. We probably sat for upwards of 3 hours enjoying the serenity of the situation and the company of a good friend… something we may not have been able to appreciate with the presence of a working cell phone. Easily one of the best summer evening’s I’ve had.

On the Contrary…

Although I have had some great times without access to a phone, there are some consequences… When I was out fishing and my phone died I missed calls from my sister inviting me to a barbecue at a friends place who happens to be a verry good cook.

Being disconnected also led to one situation that was in some respects quite unfortunate…

A little ways up the street from my place of residence are hay fields that my Uncle takes care of in the summer. Every so often he would ask for a helping hand driving a tractor or stacking bails. Either way, I usually ended up leaving my phone at home. One Saturday we had been in the fields all morning (throwing hay is a great way to take your mind off of things!). In the afternoon we grabbed a quick bite and I brought up his boat (which hadn’t been in the water for 6 years). And we decided to do a bit of work on it. After a few

hours we were able to get the engine running and the tides were just high enough to get the boat in the water. We floated out of the grasses and the engine started right up. However, we got about 3/4 of a mile away from the house only to have the engine seize… I didn’t have my phone, and my Uncle’s phone was AT&T… no service. Again, I found myself and a friend Disconnected… The sun was dropping and we had two paddles to navigate a 22 foot powerboat almost a mile against the tide… fat chance. Thankfully there were some generous boaters passing by that gave us a tow.

Conclusions?

From my experiences, I have found that sometimes being disconnected can bring about some great opportunities to relax, be carefree, and forget about all those stressors that could be affecting you. However, if you are disconnected at the wrong time and in the wrong place (like in the middle of a river!) you could potentially enable a huge stressor… how the heck am I gonna get home!

So, although I am a prefer face-to-face interactions and believe there is much more value in them over a call or text… in some scenarios a call or text could get you out of deep water.

I suppose I’ll end with the proposal that people should make an effort to be aware or even regulate their use of technology in certain situations, as it may often get in the way of something wonderful. Or better yet: do you all find the same sense of freedom and relaxation when disconnected?


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