Renn Faire Fairies

18 09 2015

Source: Renn Faire Fairies


7 days away and 7 hours ahead of home…

20 04 2014

Sitting in the airport will be an activity I will repeat several times today (April18th) and then again in seven more days.

7 days away and 7 hours ahead of home

I haven’t travelled out of country in 13 years, but I love to travel to different places. My typical vacation and conference travel is to fly once or twice a year within the continental US, so this trip is both “normal” and new. I wish my guys could go with me, but this is a professional trip not a personal one. Albany to Dulles to Dubai to Doha – a trip that will give me an international look into my field of learning assistance and academic support, broadening my understand and expanding my professional practice. My goal, besides acting as an external reviewer and taking in the culture and city of Doha, is to spend the traveling parts of my trip being a tech observer as well as a tech consumer to connect with family and friends and colleagues during this week long excursion.

So, my observations begin with an initial inventory of the gate area in my home airport. All around me, people have tablets, laptops, e-readers, smartphones and access to free wifi here in Albany at 5am. There is an email saying we’ll be leaving 20 minutes later than planned (we actually leave an hour late), but no update on the digital display at the gate lets people know what’s going on. It’s getting crowded, and I find it amusing that people are jockeying for outlets. I too had scoped them out, and now a nice man has asked to share my outlet. I figured he would share the table while he charges his phone, but he left it and went back to sit with his wife. I find this odd. Let’s leave a really expensive iPhone next to a complete stranger and walk away around the corner. Sitting with his wife, I can’t help but hear her end of the conversation. She’s got her Dr. Dre Beats headset and is talking way too loud, chatting with him about an e-vite to a handbag party and how could he have left the house with the phone at only 68%. They are both in their mid-fifties. A quick scan of the people waiting at the gate gives me a glimpse into more tech use and the assurance that avid tech use isn’t limited to the under-30 set.

On the plane (where we sat for 40 minutes), I was surprised that we could have the small electronic devices out in airplane mode. I hadn’t thought to keep my phone out and was reading a paper book, but as my seat-mate had out both phone and laptop and is watching Hunger Games on the laptop and playing backgammon on his phone, I figured I could type more on this first entry. It truly is a marvel that we can travel in the air as we do, and I am so happy that I can have my phone out to take pics. The update to this post will happen after we land in Dulles and I reconnect to cellular data. Thank United for getting me started on this journey.





I can’t make this TEXT stuff up

29 10 2010

Welcome to the world of texting as a staple in family oriented fall fun activities…

Earlier this week, I was chaperoning my son’s 4th grade class trip to Liberty Ridge. It was a perfect warm fall day, enhanced by some windy gusts of falling leaves and mud puddles lingering from the rain the day before. I wasn’t supposed to be on this trip. It was originally planned for the day before, and my husband was going to chaperon, but he couldn’t reschedule. So, I got to go in his place. I am ever so glad I did.

Besides being a total geek about wanting to go on field trips with my son (who, luckily, stills want his parents around for these things), I needed a break from the office. I had been cooped up for well over 14 hours the day before, leaving the office at 12:30am. I was tired but ready for some good weather and the great outdoors of the pumpkin farm/fall entertainment center.

It was a classic suburban middle class school trip including:

  • a long ride behind the big yellow bus;
  • a zillion 4th graders and other kids running around followed by teachers, parents and grandparents telling them to slow down and wait for the rest of their respective groups;
  • parents standing awkwardly around watching the running kids, only talking to the one other parent they know or to the one other adult standing next to them who they’ve never met before and will never see again;
  • many awkward parental nods and facial expressions exchanges with the parent of the youngster your child has befriended (or just bumped into) ; and
  • the most fun for the kids and the most dreaded activity for the nervous chaperons who are afraid they are going to lose the children in their charge — the venture into the corn maze.

Surprisingly, the trip through the corn maze changed the whole suburban ordinariness of the day for me. While treking through the mud puddles on our twisting and turning adventure through the dried out stalks of maize, we saw the follow signs:

Right there in the middle of my ordinary “mom” day there was technology hitting me in the face. I laughed so hard when I saw the “Time Yourself” sign. It was at the start of the maze as you walked in and had to choose left or right. “Clever,” I remarked to the other mom with me as the four boys in our charge raced ahead. I let her race after them as I stopped because I couldn’t resist taking a picture.

We had been talking about advertising and emerging technologies in my class the night before. Their homework assignment was to have spent the week before focusing on how emerging technologies are embedded in television programming and as the subject of commercial advertising. They presented their findings and most talked about what they noticed while watching the World Series. Between the signs around the stadium and the commercials, there was quite a bit of referencing to mobile phones and texting. So, seeing a sign about texting in a corn maze was a perfect addition I could share at our next class meeting.

About half way through the maze, the next sign jumped out at us as we tried to keep the four boys together on any path versus one boy’s multiple attempts to run over the stalks that got in his way.

Between gps and texting to get a clue, the fun of being lost in the maze was no longer part of the experience. Technology tools to “enhance” your experience and instant access to information versus the tried and true old fashion method of wandering around aimlessly got me thinking about how our middle class US culture is hooked (dare I say “addicted”) to mediated and augmented realities.

I had assumed that I was going to be unplugged for the two hours we were going to spend at the farm. I had even gone as far as leaving the Blackberry in the car. But right there in the late fall corn field, textology had found it’s way into my son’s corn maze adventure.

got my pictures taken, and as I was sending them to the VP of tech of my college, I did a little more searching and found out a bit more about how into social media and advertising


CornText Tutorials

Tech and Travel

30 09 2010

This is the second time in less than 24 hours that I have been in the Albany Airport. Last night I returned from a three day trip to the United States Naval Academy to evaluate their Academic Center, and now I wait to leave for a two day trip to the NCLCA conference in North Carolina to co-present a post-conference institute on technology and learning assistance.I bring all of this up because I am not only aware of all the technology I am lugging around with me, but I am also hyper aware of what and how my fellow travelers are using technology.

I am quite intrigued by all of the technology that people have out and the uses going on around me. My first observation is more of a confession in that I am typing this entry on my Blackberry and will add my location to the post. Why, in part because I can and also because this is the first in my experiment with blogging as a model for my students and as part of my ongoing research and scholarly interest in communication and self-expression in the digital age. Adding the location is part of the social networking craze which is a bit narcisitic and self-indulgent, and just because I can. To my left is a 20 year old who logged on to his computer, and using the free wifi, submitted his homework assignment to Capella University. Having completed that, he has pulled out his Droid phone and is sending and email. Tons of people are yaking on their cells. Age and gender are not factors in the use. Texting is happening, and the irony seems to be mostly men in their 40s. A 50 something man is talking loudly to someone, and ended his call with “OK, text me when you get home.”. More folks on laptops surfing the web, sending e-mails and facebook. No Kindles or ipads visible, but there were several of those visible on my flight back from BWI last night. Another 20 something on his laptop with his ipod on and headphones in. Only one doing that at the moment. Younger folks are reading books or sitting quiet. The mix here is less than in Baltimore.

Hello world!

12 03 2009

Starting a blog seemed to be too much of a commitment. I don’t have the time to read all the things I want to read, so how could I possibly have time to keep a blog?  I’ve rationalized this for a long time, in fact, I set up this site a year ago and never added a post.  I blogged a bit when I was recovering from surgery a few years ago, but abandoned it after I went back to work.  I came

Why bother now?

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