Thursday, November 26, 2015

Staying youthful by learning

My crazy-small iPod Shuffle - the 'makes me go walking every day' miracle

I used to pride myself on not being 'sucked in' to all the high-tech gadgets with never-ending upgrades and saving money by keeping things simple. I didn't have a smart phone and was very happy with my Nokia which just made calls and texts.

In the past few months I have upgraded my thoughts around this and now am the happy owner of a Kindle eReader, as well as an external hard drive to back up our files and I'm currently in the process of purchasing a new fancy laptop since my old one had a terminal episode and could not be revived. Not to mention the tiny iPod Shuffle (it's one-inch square!) I bought over a year ago which is the reason why I am happy to go for a nice long walk most days.

I still don't have a smart phone though; I’m taking the upgrades in baby steps :)

So just what changed my mind when it comes to technology? I was reading a Sunday supplement article featuring women in their 60s to 70s who considered themselves very youthful. They all talked about how their thinking kept them young, being interested in new things and also being keen to learn about new things.

The one woman who affected me most said how she was on Facebook and wanted to learn it to both keep in touch with her grandchildren and also because keeping up to date and learning about new technology keeps your brain young.

Within an instant I knew I wanted to change my thoughts on technology, from 'I don't need to know all this stuff, I like to live a simple life.' to 'I'm going to educate myself. It doesn't mean I'm going to suddenly go out and spend heaps of money on gadgets, but I'm not opposed to gadgets either. If I do choose to buy something in the future, I'll know what I'm talking about'.

I know I'm only 45, and still have many decades to go, but I don't want to start falling behind now and be clueless as things progress. Firstly I decided to read the junk mail and see what's available and learn the lingo. In addition, when friends have something I don't know much about I ask them questions. I'm not afraid of sounding dumb and people are always happy to share with you what they know.

I've learnt so much already and am loving my most recent 'high-tech' (for me!) purchase of a Kindle. There are so many cool Kindle books being written now that aren't available as a print copy because often they are quite small. I've purchased a number of them and they're on my laptop, but it was rare that I'd sit down and read even a short book sitting at my desk.

When I saw that the price of a starter-model Kindle on Amazon wasn't actually too prohibitive, I decided to act boldly and order one. I love that I can read all my ebooks in bed, on the sofa or when I'm waiting for an appointment. It tucks into my handbag and I pull it out for a quick read if I have a few minutes. My place is saved in the book so I can carry on reading from where I left off.

Something else exciting that I didn't realise about Kindle is that you can email a Word document to your own Kindle email and it's saved as an ebook. I have so many Word documents that, again, I wouldn't sit at my desk and read, but now they're like extra juicy ebooks tailored to my taste. Some are inspiration from others (collected blog posts, article snippets etc), and some are documents I've written to inspire myself on a certain topic.

When I bought my Kindle about a month ago it had $20 off ($79.99 down to $59.99) which I thought was great but when researching this post saw that there is a special Black Friday sale of $30 off so they are now $49.99.  I'm a bit miffy that it's $10 less than I paid but c'est la vie.

My husband laughs (nicely) at me now, saying that I used to look down on people who wasted their money on updating their gadgets all the time and now I'm happily sitting there reading my Kindle. What can I say other than it's a woman's perogative to change her mind?

Are you a gadget-girl? Low-tech? What is something you've invested in that you couldn’t imagine living without now?  Or tell me about something you're proud of having learnt this year.


  1. I love my beginner Kindle! I had no idea about the Word docs! Hmmmm...

    I have two teens still at home so I am kept pretty up to date with all the new techy stuff - which is cool. But like you, I don't rush out to constantly upgrade gadgets.

  2. You make a great point, Tracy - having kids keeps you up to date effortlessly. I have to rely on my nieces and nephew!

    Something I forgot to mention: when you attach the word document to your email, type the word 'convert' into the subject line and then send to your Kindle email address. When I do this I always feel rude just typing 'convert'and really want to type 'convert please' but it would probably wouldn't work then :)

  3. I'm a restrained tech girl. Halfway through my teaching career I did a Grad Dip in Computing so taught Computing during the late 80s and 90s which taught me the basics back in that revolutionary time.

    Now I'm enjoying the revolution in software which is app development. I too resisted a smart phone now I love it, I'm certainly not online all the time with it but it's there for Instagram, weather and most of all -- directions! My iphone also has an ereader so I can read anywhere.

    The developments in portable devices have been stunning in the pas few years.

  4. I received a Kindle Fire just before Christmas last year. I fell in love with it! My husband and I have had this very same discussion regarding keeping up with technology in order to feel comfortable with what is going on around us. Having been a Nanny, I've had to understand (somewhat) which games and gadgets the kids would want as gifts and just so I can converse with them, especially the boys :) We also got brave and got iPhones this summer,but not the most recent model. And I love that phone, so many things you can track and learn. Learning is my major passion. Great post! Thanks!

  5. I have a laptop which is five years old and I just got a backup drive for it recently. I buy 95% of my music online at this point and only get CDs if iTunes and Amazon don't have what I want. I'm looking into a tablet where I can get the Kindle app downloaded- I have a list of books to buy for that!

    I stay aware of what's out there but don't go overboard- I'm not on Instagram or Twitter, but I have FB because it works for me.

  6. I'm not a technology minimalist, however, I tend to be selective about going whole-hog adopting technological tools in my personal life until it's clear how it supports and enhances how I want to live. After going through the process recycling a bunch of computers and other electronic gadgets for my family a few years ago, having to consolidate files and material, get all the devices wiped clean and taken to recylcing and hazardous waste disposal centres, I decided to make sure everything would be pulling its weight.

    There's so much choice among technology tools that it has almost reached the point that you just need to decide what it is you want to enhance and make easier -- and there is a tool for it. I'm not big on adding apps for the sake of adding apps -- sometimes they duplicate things that are easy enough to do another way, especially for the occasional user. But when they are helpful to the user, they can be real lifesavers.


  7. I own two Kindles (reading only) but still buy print books. I couldn't imagine being without my Kindles, so handy to slip into your bag.

  8. Love your blog. Been reading a long time.

    I'm 46 yrs old, so we grew up in the same generation. We know life without gadgets and relate to the generation older than us. We know life with technology and are amazed how kids function with technology every single day. We are right in the middle of the 2 extremes.

    It took me several years of deciding, but I now embrace technology!

    Technology is not going away. I was missing opportunities in business, pop culture, and social awareness. I realized the harder I rejected technology, the more out-of-touch I became. I sounded like an old cranky woman complaining about the youth of today. Being out-of-touch and judgmental of the "young kids" made me look, sound, and feel old. Ugh.

    We all have a choice in how much time we devote to wasting time with social media and games, understanding etiquette which goes along with keeping real relationships alive, and being present in life. Being mindful of that is key.

    So, I got the iPhone 6 plus when it was time for a new's got a big screen and a perfect size to see what I'm doing for my 40-something eyesight. I invested in a really beautiful leather case which is nice to touch and smell. I do my banking on a mobile app (life-changing!!!), I got rid of my thick, heavy dayplanner and between the apps for the calendar, notes/lists, and the app called Evernote I am getting streamlined and carry/hold much less details of life are at my fingertips immediately. My grocery store has a app and all my coupons are on the app. So many other things that are functional and make my life easier.

    But yes, I do have a game I play now and then, and it's okay.

  9. I bought a tablet some years ago, no big fancy brand, and it really is handy for travel. I don't have to lug around a laptop. And now I FINALLY upgraded to a smartphone a few months ago. And I totally admit I was living in the dark ages. It is a life saver when on vacation, esp. when there is no free wifi in the hotel. I didn't even look at my tablet. And being able to access information while on the go, esp. Uber, while traveling is amazing. Also it saves on space in the bag instead of porting a tablet around too.

  10. If you decide to get a smartphone, the first app you should get is the Kindle app. It may seem redundant, but the technology is so magical when you've forgotten to grab your Kindle and have a few spare moments for reading. The app on your phone will pick up where you left off reading on your Kindle!

    I'm new to your blog, and very much enjoy it!
    Rochelle in the U.S.

  11. At the young age off 55, I am reading this and posting my comment on my iPad. I also resisted for a very long time, but now I would be lost without it. I can send emails, use google and have Kindle have loaded on it. I can pop 100 books in my iPad and read wherever I am.


  12. What amazingly informative and generous comments. It's so interesting to hear of everyone's experiences and what works well for you. Gayle, you make a great point about our generation between the two of no tech/high tech.

    Merci to you all.

  13. I'm a techie, but then I worked in software for almost 25 years. When I had my strokes my first inclination was to turn to technology for assistance. I use more smart phone for everything and I keep it up to date. I have both a Kindle HDX, the fancy one, and a Voyage and I love them both, as well as the app on my phone. Right now I'm saving for a new tablet/laptop as my kids busted mine. I also use the new cloud technology for television and music and no longer subscribe to cable television. But I still love hard copy books. I'll never go without them completely.

  14. Fiona:
    wait until you get into audiobooks, free to download from your local library. Never thought I would be so "disloyal" to the printed word, but now I am addicted! Happy kindling!

  15. Fiona, I love your blog and just purchased your Christmas ebook. I'm really interested in the ipod shuffle like yours, but I don't know how it works! Can you explain a little bit about it. Thanks. Kay

  16. Hi Kay, You download iTunes for free (doesn't matter what kind of computer you have, Apple or PC) and then you plug the iPod into your computer to load up music, audio books or podcasts. You can get audio books from the library then just delete them when you've finished. Loads of websites offer free podcasts, you'll find the ones that you enjoy, and there's tons on iTunes to download for free as well. I like to make up playlists and then take them walking. I didn't know anything about iPods before I got one but I soon found out, it's not hard. I googled any questions I didn't know. Have fun.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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