Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain (DES) is a self inflicted condition we have brought upon ourselves because we use digital devices so frequently and our world requires that we do in order to work, play and organise our lives. Phones and tablets put out enough light to illuminate a dark room. That ought to remind us we need to take care of our eyes and we need to respond more pro actively to looking after them. It comes down to knowing what to do, taking action and reminding others to take action. Constantly staring at screens is creating problems for people so we need to be sensible and build in the health routines which will alleviate some of these problems. Vision Optique has some helpful inforgraphics to show us what some of the problems are and then some very helpful ideas to show us how to improve what we are doing so we avoid digital eyestrain. None of it is hard. Optometrytimes looks at how DES is affecting people and what can be done about it. Again there are some good visuals to help us.

Things smart phones have replaced

things smart phones have replaced

Image: teacherswithapps

I shouldn’t be surprised with how long the lists are. Smart phones have been around for a while. They were looked upon as fancy upgrades to the phones we had at the time but in real terms they are having an economic and environmental impact. Fewer devices means less clutter in our homes and less e-waste. I still keep a paper copy of contacts and addresses because electronic devices are not 100% reliable. They can lose vital information because of a crash , loss or changeover. I back things up but there still isn’t a perfect way of ensuring your data is there when you need it. Worse is if you have no wifi or internet connection. Then you really are in trouble. In Australia we haven’t moved over to electronic purchase receipts. That would save so much paper. I love e-tickets of various sorts. It is simple and works well. I do carry my shopping list and any other list on my phone. No more lost bits of paper. I haven’t totally converted to e-books because a paper book is just nice to have and isn’t counted, tracked or quantified. You can just read in peace. Smart phones have revolutionised a lot of what we do and will probably continue to do so because they will run our smart homes , smart cars and smart gardens. I have seen non English speaking tourists in our shops using smart phone translators to get the things they need. It is not perfect but certainly better than being stranded with no way of communicating in a language you don’t know. It is less worrying for the tourists and easier on the shop personnel. Smart phones have also been our way of quickly establishing relationships with people. You no sooner meet someone than their smart phone comes out and you can see pictures of their family, their holidays, their skills. We have used them to create authentic relationships in a very effective way. They are very complex now and can do so much. In time they will replace more things and then add their own layers of functionality. There is another list on technologreview, apart from the link at the top of the post ,with more things smart phones have replaced. For the generation  coming into smart phone use, none of this is relevant. They have what they have and won’t know about what has been replaced so there is a whole bank of generational experiences which have gone too and whether that matters or not is to be seen. I was wondering who’d remember what a rolodex/teledex was and who’d actually care? I used to love playing with it and thinking it was something to achieve to have my own one! What the smart phone uptake does do , though, is create a way of thinking and processing information and if you don’t have the things you are used to, you might be scrambling for the workarounds and not understand some digital processes. That replacement function will be affecting cognition in some people.

Putting the internet on to boil

I am currently using technology as an appliance. I am still waiting for the port swap to occur which is booked for tomorrow so I haven’t had my home phone or internet since 4pm April 26th. These things take time and telecommunications technicians are flat to the floor boards. It is creating erratic costs and erratic connectivity. I have a home phone number redirect and mobile data and phone to get me by. This is not how I use the internet. These days I put the internet on to boil, make a cup of contacts, maybe a spoonful of banking or  isp dashboard and maybe a splash of looking and searching. No surfing the web for me. No online courses. No online groups. The experience has been interesting to say the least. I don’t spend hours on the net but it is an integral part of who I am and how I live. I don’t just pop on the net to find the nearest coffee shop or quickly make brief contact. Keeping and staying in touch is more than that and being connected is normally normal …

 

Image: blog summall

Phone with cobwebs

Waiting for the cyber faeries

cyber faerieImage : Cyberfaeries wear boots with my own custom border

We can’t see the information super highway. We can’t see the infrastructure. Even if we work in that industry, we can’t see all those connections all over the planet and then up to satellites and back. We just take it all for granted and yet, it is a hugely complex ,connected world. When a motor highway is being built , repaired or upgraded we can see what is happening and so we understand it . In recent times I have lived through the construction of 2 expressways and a train line extension and electrification in my area and driven past the desal plant being built . You can literally see the landscape change and be amazed at what we are capable of achieving. You manage the inconvenience and disruption because you know what you are dealing with.

When we are rolling out telecommunications infrastructure we can’t see what is happening. We don’t understand the changes and we can’t put the picture together easily. It’s new ground and it’s a J learning curve. We live in the information and communication age , though. Communication is central to getting everyone to work together.

I have had access to a home phone since the 70s and the internet since 1995. It has been tough to do a month with first 8 days of no phone and no internet and currently day 10 of the second adventure of no phone and no internet. I am waiting for a port swap which will hopefully resolve my disconnected state. It’s hard living without unlimited access to data and a phone. I have never needed my mobile phone much so I didn’t have a plan to cover an event such as this. This has never happened before is probably the reason I haven’t thought too much about mobile access and plans.

I have had a lot of conversations with technicians and technical support over this last month. I have also seen a lot of telecommunications people out on my local streets as I drive around, some of them totally lost in the big trenches they have to dig. Everyone is working . Everyone is doing their job. Everyone knows what they know and it’s now we are starting to get those connected conversations which are going to facilitate the process and understanding of what is actually occurring.

Not everyone is having my problem. It’s a classic new millennium situation which requires a 21st century process: personalised learning, customised response and then everyone being part of the conversation to get the feedback and growth which will inspire solutions. Create content – share – get feedback – reflect – create more content…. I have spoken about the internet model so much on this blog.

Technicians I have had personal contact with and the tech support from my ISP have just been getting better and better. People listen to me. They say what they need to say, they give me information and then we move on.

I have had to get really good at mobile technology. Everyone should learn how to set their phone up as a mobile data hotspot. It’s not hard. It’s in the settings and the phone tells you what to do for wifi name and password. It is now a life skill for when there is no wifi, no ethernet. Just you and your devices. In a city you could probably go outside and get free wifi. Doesn’t work like that here. I have to get in my car and drive somewhere and access is not 24/7. You have to learn to make the right decisions about mobile plans and then ,if you get another sim card ,to make the best choices there. Currently I am using my old phone to be the wifi hotspot. I should have made the unlimited talk and text choice for the old phone and used my regular phone for the wifi hotspot. I have learned.

Complex problems need complex solutions. It’s important to know what your options are and understand how you can customise your own survival package depending on where you live and what choices you have. For me mobile data has been critical but then I have been stuck when I need to make a call which isn’t often but not having a phone plan which covers calls in this situation is making it harder. Took the wrong turn at Albuquerque but at the time I didn’t have enough information and the outage wasn’t expected to be this long. I have done it the olden days way and paid my commercial practices a visit. That has been the nice side of this. The other bonus is now I am so familiar with my online information from my online ISP account. It’s a great site which gives very useful and helpful information . I knew it was there and what it did but it is only become meaningful to me now because I have had to have very particular information in order to go from one day to the next. So my top 5 tips:

Know :

your mobile plan and sim card options

where you can access free wifi

your ISP site and what information it provides

how to set up a mobile phone hotspot

how to use one online calling service like Skype , Messenger, What’s App or Facetime phone.

As I mentioned in my previous post, mobile access is expensive and so you have to be really mindful of that. It is something we all need to think about because normal access isn’t expensive at all. We all need a tech outage plan like we have a bushfire plan and an electrical outage plan. Meanwhile I am waiting for the cyber faeries to do their work. Some of them are a bit mischievous and like to play tricks but I have faith the cyber faeries will work their magic and get my cyber connections back.

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