Monday, March 03, 2008
Better Late Than Never (RSS)
As late as 1974, my paternal grandfather still had a black and white television. He told me that he thought color was bad for your eyes and he didn’t think anyone needed a color T.V. I remember thinking that he was stuck in his ways and old-fashioned. I felt he was just reluctant to move with the times, even when technology was much improved. I’m not sure that he every had a color T.V., but I didn’t visit my grandparents to watch television anyway. He was a kind and wonderful man who I loved and still miss to this day.
Fast forward to the present where I have inherited my grandfather’s attitude except that my stubbornness applies to cell phones. I have a land line which my husband and I forked over about $500 for the privilege of owning when we first came to Japan and it serves us quite sufficiently. While there are times when it seems it wouldn’t be bad to have a cell phone, it seems like a pointless luxury and an invitation to have our privacy invaded more frequently. Frankly, I don’t want to be accessible all the time.
One of the dubious benefits of age appears to be that you make the transition to wanting the best of what is currently available to being satisfied with what merely works at a level which meets you most basic needs. I’m not sure when this tends to occur for most people, but it hit me around 35 or so. I guess that the loss of desire to acquire new items for the sake of new functionality which you technically do not need but rather simply want is one of the reasons why the target demographic for most advertisers is so young.
Around the same time that I lost nearly all of my materialistic impulses, I also seem to have stopped enjoying upgrading my computer for the sake of having the newest thing with the shiniest operating system. I also stopped enjoying tweaking the interface and buying new software. If what I have installed is working, I’m content to leave well enough alone now. I used to actually look forward to backing up all my data, wiping out the hard drive and installing a nice, fresh, new system and apps any time I experienced some instability. Now, I approach the thought with dread over the time it’d take and having to dig out all my installation discs.
Because of this reluctance, I’ve avoided switching from using bookmarks for web sites to using RSS. For those who are even further behind than I (all 2 or 3 of you), I’ll mention that RSS is a way of tracking when sites update so that you don’t have to load a web page every day just in case they updated. An RSS reader will notify you when sites update and you can either read them in whole or part inside the reader or go to the site yourself.
In my case, I went with Google Reader because I’m too lazy to look anywhere else and my sister told me that’s what she used. It’s pretty easy to set up, but quite time consuming initially. Once you've subscribed to all the sites you want to track, you're set and it's going to end up saving you time. It's mainly useful for someone who reads sites which are sporadically updated rather than someone who reads big ticket sites that are updated faithfully every day. In other words, it's custom made for someone who follows a lot of personal blogs like me.