Thursday, August 8, 2019

What Do You Do When You Can't Find a Topic You Want to Write About?

When I decided to once again participate in Blaugust, I started making a list of topics that I could write about during the month.  Those ideas were meant to be a backup for the times I couldn't find a topic for my daily writing.  I have only used one of the topics since we started and that was because I felt the time was right for that topic.  However, today I am finding myself topicless...and I'm just not feeling the topics on my backup list.  So what do I do now?

It's strange that I don't have a topic for today.  I usually don't have any problem picking something.  During the day, I stumble on an idea that percolates in my brain until I'm ready to sit down and write the day's post.  Not Today!!!  I'm wondering if I'm just discouraged, because I'm not getting much traffic on my blog or maybe I'm just not into writing today.

I know that I don't necessarily fit what most of the Blaugust participants are writing about.  My intention is to focus on topics of aging and technology most of the time.  My goal is to write every day in August, and it's a challenge that I enjoy!  So I'll just count today as one of those days we all encounter when we hit the wall or just aren't in the mood.  I'll be kind to myself and just try again tomorrow, but I'm open to any suggestions my fellow bloggers might have for these type of days.  What do you do when you can't find a topic you want to write about?

Have you found your tech joy today?


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

13 Minutes to the Moon

You are probably aware that we recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary of man landing on the moon since there was a lot of news coverage about this historic event.  I have always been interested in space exploration.  I think growing up in Florida in the late 50s and early 60s is where my interest began.  I can remember seeing the rockets they were testing in the sky.  It made a big impression on me.

I believe that we all take space travel for granted now.  The trips to the moon followed by the Shuttle missions, the International Space Station, and the privatization of space travel such as SpaceX have made these feats common place.  These launches used to be major national events that were covered by all of the news organizations.  Now we don't even realize when rockets are sent into space.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you listen to the podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon by the BBC.  It's a fascinating analysis of the final minutes before landing.  It clearly articulates how precarious this mission was and interviews people who were involved.  By examining the last 13 minutes, the planning involved to get to that point, and the decision-making that occurred each step of the way, the listener is transported to that time when space technology was still in its infancy. It's amazing to realize how far we have come since that time.

Have you found your tech joy today?


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Grocery Lists



My husband and I were at our local Target store tonight picking up some basic grocery items. We use an app on our phones for a shared list and add items as we think of them. It’s also helpful in making our trips more efficient, because we can each view the list and go separate ways to pick up needed groceries. We have been making our shopping lists like this for many years. Imagine our surprise when we saw another couple of similar ages discussing the items on the paper list one of them was holding!  After passing them in the aisle, we turned to each other to comment on this oddity and laughed that we both noticed.

It should not surprise YOU that I started wondering about how people make shopping lists, if age is a factor, and what apps people like best.  I am guessing that the use of paper for grocery lists is much more prevalent the older you are. However, I do wonder if those with smartphones are more likely to have made the switch from paper to their phones. If they use their phones, are they using apps designed for making lists or are they just keeping a list on their notepad?

I have used a couple of different apps but currently use “Out of Milk”.  It works well for keeping multiple lists for Target, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Lowe’s, etc. I know that my son and his family use Alexa to keep their grocery list. My grandkids have had some fun adding items to the list, but there is a failsafe check system that catches unwanted or unnecessary items.  I also use Wunderlist to keep track of meals I’ve bought or prepared. Then I can plan out my meals for the week very easily.

I’d be interested in hearing what your experience with shopping lists has been and if you have any recommendations for apps that you especially like. I’d also love to hear if you’ve noticed differences in paper versus smartphone lists with the people shopping when you are. Is there an age difference, or was this just an oddity?  Let me know!

Have you found your tech joy today?


Monday, August 5, 2019

Video Games As Scapegoats

This will be a short post, but I am tired of politicians using video games as a scapegoat for not dealing with the crisis of domestic terrorism.  I don't want to get too political, but blaming video games for violence after tragedies such as occurred in Texas and Ohio is just wrong.  If you have done any research, you will find reputable studies and reports that will tell you the same thing.

There are multiple sources that show that video games do not cause violence.  The American Psychological Association issued a policy statement from their media psychology division where they found that "scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities."  In fact, Dr. Chris Ferguson, a Stetson University psychology professor who led the committee issuing the policy statement said, "The data on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive.  Literally.  The numbers work out about the same."  In addition, the Supreme Court heard a case about a California law that banned selling violent video games to children.  They found that there was no research to support the idea that video games were to blame for violence.

My sons, now adults, have played video games most of their lives.  I've seen for myself the impact these games have on them so I am not surprised by the evidence that negates this "causal connection".  Anyone familiar with video gaming knows how prevalent it is in Japan and South Korea.  Those countries have some of the lowest rates of violent crime.  It is just ridiculous to blame video gaming for the acts of domestic terrorism we are experiencing in our country.

I see on Twitter that #VideogamesAreNotToBlame is trending nationally.  I'm happy to see the pushback against making video games scapegoats.  They are not the problem!  If you haven't read the tweets, you may want to do so.  They're interesting and compelling reading.


Have you found your tech joy today?


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Why So Surprised that a Grandma is Listening to Your Podcast?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Triforce, a while ago when I heard them discussing their extreme surprise that someone's grandmother was listening to their podcast.  While it's true that the talent are all in their mid to late 30s and the content can be over the top at times, I was dismayed that they had such an antiquated view of grandmothers.  They implied that grandparents are doddering, old women.  This certainly hit a nerve with me!

I am a 66 year old grandmother, but I am very active.  Our kids say that their parents have a much more active social life than they do because we are always going somewhere, doing things with friends of all ages, and interested in a variety of things.  I do remember when I was young and thought that people in their 60s were really old.  We definitely are older, but I think that aging has changed in our current society.  More of us are active, vital, contributing adults later in life!  Using technology is certainly one of the things that has changed our lives for the better, and many of us embrace its use and what it offers us.

As I started musing about Podcasts and demographics, I had to do a little research to see what the stats were about Podcasts.  According to, there are over 750,000 podcasts!  That's a lot of content being created.  Edison Research tells us that "51% of Americans 12+ have ever listened to a podcast, with 32% having listened in the past month, and 22% in the past week...Although all key demographics grew, much of the increase in podcasting has come from Americans age 12-24."  

Credit: Infinite Dial 2018

As the graph shows, listening to podcasts occurs during many parts of the day.  Most listen at home like I do, but a large percentage listen in their cars or at work.  My husband listens while exercising.  Podcasts can fit into lives in many different ways so people of all ages should be able to find a way to enjoy them.

Podcast listeners subscribe to an average of 6 shows and 19% of us speed them up (  I subscribe to 27 different podcasts.  I listen to all of them with Smart Speed which shortens silences.  Some of them I listen to at 1 1/2 speed.  My son listens to a lot of podcasts at double speed but I haven't been able to get used to that!

I think that podcast creators need to recognize that seniors are an untapped demographic.  I am hoping that more and more will discover how much fun listening to podcasts can be.  I think they're definitely missing out by not exploring this form of media and content.  So, Content Creators, grandmas like me won't be pidgeonholed into antiquated stereotypes of gray haired grannies knitting in our rocking chairs.  We're out here ready to learn new things, stay current, and be entertained!

Have you found your tech joy today?


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Do You Twitch?

This weekend was the first YogCon (Yogscast Convention) in Bristol, UK which I was very excited to see.  I'm a big fan of Yogscast, follow several of their streamers, listen to Triforce-a podcast of 3 of their streamers, and always watch Jingle Jam, their December charity event: so I made sure to go on Twitch to watch today's content.  It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it a lot.  I also was watching the crowd and their reactions and started wondering if many people my age watched Twitch programming.

I have watched Twitch for a long time.  In addition to watching Yogscast, I also watch GTA Role Playing on Twitch a lot.  My son is the one who has hooked me on these forms of programming.  I know that I enjoy it because of the personalities of the people online.  I think others would enjoy it if they knew about it and understood it.  This line of thought started me thinking about Twitch demographics so I had to look into it.  I suspected that Twitch demographics run on the young age group side.

According to Much, Twitch is the "31st most popular website online".  It also says that 55% of Twitch users are between 18 and 34 years old.  The remainder are 13 (the youngest age you can have a Twitch account) to 17 and above 34-pointing out that gamers are aging and make up part of the remaining statistical group.  While it doesn't say what the remaining breakdown is, I'm guessing that those of us 55 and over make up a very small percentage of viewers since we didn't grow up playing video games.

I doubt that there are very many of us in the 55 and older age bracket who have even heard about Twitch.  That's really sad, because I find a lot of enjoyment out of watching streamers on Twitch.  That's probably a surprise to younger readers who don't expect this viewpoint.  However, there are a lot of us who like streaming and the technology that supports it.  If you're in this older age group, I would highly recommend that you try it out.  You may be pleasantly surprised!

Have you found your tech joy today?


Friday, August 2, 2019

How Long Will We Be Remembered?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Hello Internet, and they were talking about how long people are remembered.  It was a fascinating discussion of how long it takes for famous people to no longer be remembered by at least 100 people.  This was an intriguing discussion, because I am feeling an obligation to capture memories from my childhood so that future generations in my family know what life was like during those times.  This started me thinking about how technology has impacted the memories of people today.

As I mentioned, one of the goals I have is to capture memories for my children and grandchildren.  With the changes in technology, there are several different projects that are part of this goal.  One is to digitize all of the photographs from our parents and us.  Another is to delve into our ancestry.  I'm also in the process of changing VHS to digital format and writing about my memories of childhood.  These are major undertakings but could have a lasting impact on my family's history.

My parents had a few photographs of their family but not many.  In fact, I don't have a picture of my maternal grandmother.  Now we take pictures and videos with our phones every day.  Just think how this will change the memories of our children and grandchildren!  I feel lucky to have an audio recording of my grandfather.  Now I am searching for the best ways to save it digitally so I can share it with my siblings and children.

I use Ancestry to keep track of our family trees.  If you have used this, it's like a rabbit hole with an overwhelming amount of information. Add to this the new DNA reporting from Ancestry and 23andMe: we have so much data and information at our fingertips.  It HAS to change how people are remembered although it MAY devalue this information and these memories because they are so readily accessed.

The question is really: will all of this media and technology impact the lasting memories of generations?  I would think that it will for those people who are interested in learning about their family trees.  I also think that technology is allowing us to get closer to having memories of what people were really like.  Instead of a still photograph, we can now hear their voices, see how they moved, and better understand their personalities.  I find these changes fascinating and believe that memories will be improved and longer lasting if care is taken to preserve them.  It's a task I have chosen to take on for my family.  While it's overwhelming at times, I find a lot of joy in it.  Do you have someone in your family who is taking on the role of historian?

Have you found your tech joy today?