Textophilia, yes, too much texting


I read this piece on textophilia on yesterday while at the office. I feel like I have to share with someone that I know of just to alert her of this danger. Here’s the text.

“From the DSM-V, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:
Early on-set textophilia is accompanied with feelings of euphoria, wholeness and exuberant empowerment, soon followed by social and environmental seclusion.

Symptoms include an inability to look up, walk with eyes forward, complete full sentences, or engage in uninterrupted physical conversation for bursts longer than 60 seconds.

Without treatment, patients regard texting as more real than flesh-to-flesh communication. This feeling is reinforced by quick dopamine and oxytocin hits to the brain.

In advanced cases (25+ texts per day) life without texting becomes unbearable, empty and meaningless. At this stage, textophiliacs develop an inability to distinguish cognitively between device and existence.

Sudden withdrawal can lead to total collapse of identity and rediscovered freedom.”



Be careful, information over-sharing not a good thing


On 5/3, Friday evening, my daughter went to bed very early. I, on the other hand, normally go to bed very late because I don’t have to get up early the next day.

I often share some good article on facebook. That day I was going to post a link there, I saw a friend of mine posted a picture showing snow in early May. To my surprise, I saw a response from the former CEO of the practice that I once worked.

I was even more surprised when I saw how much information people share on their facebook or on other social media, and how they actually share all their postings to the world without any restriction.

I have not done any research on the consequences of this sharing. But for some reason, I don’t think it wise to overshare your information online.



Technologies, Distraction, New Challenge to Time Management


Technologies can be a double-edged sword. They make life easy on the one hand, take away our lives on the other hand.

Just look at the technologies around us now, from TV to computer to cell phone. TV certainly has informed, entertained and educated us for many decades. The use of computer and cell phone have benefited our lives in more ways than we can count.

In turn, each new technology is also a new distracter, grabbing our attention and providing more excuse for us to delay doing what we should do.

They also hurt us by taking away our precious time when we sit for hours in front of a TV set or on the Internet or cell phone chatting.

They pose a new challenge to anyone who wants to get more things done in the shortest possible time.



How I Killed An Annoying Program


On 4/22, Sunday evening, while my daughter was walking downstairs, I worked on fixing some of the problems with  my laptop. For sometimes, the desktop background was changed automatically when I closed the laptop. This is rather annoying as I prefer dark background and the changed one is bright white. I had to change back each time it happened.

I know there must be a program that does the trick. I just need some time to dig it out and I did that evening. Here’s what I did.
(1) Open Command Prompt
(2) Type msconfig to bring up System Configuration window
(3) Go to Startup tab
(4) Check the programs that start to run upon window startup.
(5) Test any programs that have unfamiliar manufacturer to see the effect of their execution.
(6) Finally, I found the culprit.

Of course, I disabled that program from System Configuration window and also deleted it from my computer. After that, I felt a lot better.

On 4/29, I solved another pc issue. I have noticed that my cursor moves by itself without any user action. There must be some program that does the trick. So I searched, tested, and found a program which I used to trust. It is ATKOSD2, which comes with ATK Package by ASUS. It turned out ATKOSD2.exe could be a virus, trojan, spyware, and adware. So I deleted it and the problem disappeared.



Cell phone, Distraction and Addiction


I gave my cell phone to my daughter around last week of April before she headed for Albuquerque, NM. My son got his first cellphone also in April of his junior year in high school.

Before I gave it to her, I often checked and returned email using my cell phone during daytime as I cannot access personal email from office pc. After I gave it to her, I could not do it any more, which, at first, seemed a bit odd. But after a few days, I feel like “no big deal.” I haven’t missed anything when I postponed email checking.

In the past, there is absolutely no need for me to check email. I did it just because I could. In fact, without this possibility, I found that I have one less distraction now, which is wonderful for time saving.

On the other hand, I have found my daughter constantly interrupts her homework by texting or checking her cell phone as if she expects something. On 5/2, less than two weeks after she owns a phone, when I told her jokingly that I needed to borrow her phone for a day or two, she said resoundingly “No way.” I have noticed the changes that this gadget brought to her in such a short period of time.

My son used to shut down instant message and cell phone when he needed total concentration. We need a statement to ourselves so that we don’t give up control over our lives to any outside forces. Some type of mechanism needs to be installed so that we can guarantee that our time is not subjected to the whims of outside interruptions.



Technology, Addiction, Imagine Life Without Cell Phone


There are always some strange rules at our office. One is personal items like purses, cell phones, keys are not supposed to be out in the open. That’s how I often violate the rule by putting my personal items out in the open. For if I hide my cell phone somewhere, most likely I will forget taking it when I leave for home.

Last Thursday, when I told two of my colleagues that once I forgot my cell phone on Friday and the whole weekend was gone without the phone, both of them said it was horrible as they couldn’t imagine a day without cell phone.

Last Saturday, two friends came over in the afternoon. One of them just bought Sprint’s iphone and was eager to show me the various functions and features of her new phone. From the conversation, I have a sense that this friend of mine was very much addicted to her iphone. She told me I should buy this phone.

I did not tell her that my daughter took my phone with her to Manhattan since the day before and my life went perfectly all right without it. Cell phone became part of our life only a few years ago. It is amazing how quickly people become addicted to it and forget how life used to be without it. One more addiction to guard against.



Urinating on Dead Bodies, Technologies Captured It Again


On 11/27/2011, I published one on police using pepper spray on the harmless students. Now technologies captured and shared with the world something equally shocking, if not more tasteless. It is amazing people never learn anything and never get better. I heard people offer this or that explanation or excuses on these stressed-out U.S. soldiers, as if they needed to relax before moving on to more killings. Didn’t they know that they might be the next ones lying there dead the next day and their enemies might learn something from them?

Many images rush to my head–enemies, human beings, the loved ones of the dead ones, war, soldier, young and stupid, fun, prank, respect, dignity, “moral height,” but none of them make sense to me. It represents much worse than the highest level of stupidity, brainless idiocy. I am speechless.



Frustration with Computer Problems


Yesterday, I felt like all evil forces aligned with one another against me. First, the desktop computer would not start. The recovery effort failed, which meant I had to reconfigurate the system, which in turn meant everything stored in the hard drive will be gone. So insanely unreliable.

Then, the apple laptop my son left to my daughter suffered from broken fans. If I don’t replace them, it will get burning hot and damage other part of the laptop. My son bought the fans from ebay.

I first took it to Bestbuy store and was told only Apple store fixed Apple problem. Next I headed for the Apple store in town and learned that they would not use any part brought by the customers. I would have to use their parts. They suggested I go to Microcenter.

I went to Office Depot on my way home. A futile trip.
Before I headed for Microcenter, I called to make sure they took the job. This they did. But when I got there, a service girl told me they would replace the fans with my part but without warranty for the work. And the ridiculous part is the labor there would cost more than labor + parts + warranty at Apple store.

Now I have decided to go to Apple store next weekend if I have time.



Technologies: More Powerful than God or Any Human-Made Laws



First, the world witnessed the 1992 Rodney King beating by the police. Now the whole world is watching police using pepper spray on the harmless students. Both were done by the police who are supposed to protect the peace-loving people. Both were captured by video and shared globally, thanks to the advancement of technology.

Talk about social control mechanism like laws or almighty God, when the lord is not watching the police, the technologies step in. They can capture any wrongdoings and expose it to the world instantly. So, be careful of the omnipresent eye of technology when you are so inclined to do wrong to others.



Internet, a Big Time Killer


On 5/30/2011, during the Memorial day off, my daughter told me one of her friends might get into medical field. We talked about time investment for this field. If one goes into medicine for money, this time investment might not be a wise one. I told my daughter I was going to check the internet about comparison of salary among different majors.

I got on the internet, first checked emails; there I found one from Microcenter on Memorial day sale. I was so intrigued that I opened its online ad page, where I found a digital camera for a good price. I needed a good one for our Boston trip. I further checked the quality and features of this camera and compared this with others.

It took me more than 30 minutes before I realized I needed to shut it down and do something else. So I did. Then I realized that I forgot why I turned on computer in the first place.

I told my daughter of this experience. “Does it sound like deja vu to you?” “Oh yes, I know what you mean,” she said. She agreed that it was so easy for us to drift away while on the internet. That’s how we kill time.

I told her, “Next time when you need to check on something, instead of hopping on the internet that moment, write it on a notepad, check it during your break. More important, use a timer.”



Cellphone, Technologies and Addictions


This time more than ever before I observed a heavy addiction to technologies in China. Nearly everywhere from airport to groceries stores, I noticed people either chatting on cell phone or something else on computers. I had to interrupt a salesgirl’s phone chat when I needed a service. I saw the annoyance on a guy’s face when his attention was forced to switch from computer to me at stores. At home, computer was the default place for anyone thus addicted, with very good books being left collecting dusts.

I feel sort of sad as I miss the days when our lives were free from these gadgets. We like these technologies, yet, like drugs and cigarette, we let ourselves become addicted to things we like and our addiction takes control of us.

This reminds me of the fable about a fly and a drop of honey. The fly enjoys the honey so much that its wings are glued to it so that it perishes amidst the wonderful honey it enjoys.



Yahoo! Email Disaster, Technology and Dependability



This is the third time that I was not able to get into my yahoo! mail. Only this time I was anxiously waiting for an email from a book editor and the problem seems lasting longer than I could tolerate.

I searched everywhere on my computer for a copy of his email with his email address so that I could inform him of my yahoo! trouble. No luck. I trusted technology so much that I saved all my important emails in Yahoo! mail server without a backup in my own computer!

Last week, a colleague of mine told me the meaning of IOWA. With that total trust in technology, now I feel like one of them — Idiots out wandering around. Not really, as I have now learned my lesson and steered away from Yahoo! and keep a backup of anything that is too important to be relegated to others.



Internet Gamers — Way to Kill Our Disposable Time


This is a reading from Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/22/2010, “Facebook Gamers Are Frequent Players.” I am not surprised to learn of the following facts.

(1) About 90% of fans of Zynga Game Network’s “FarmVille”—and games made by other providers offered on Facebook—return daily to play one game or another.
(2) 28% of respondents said they play once a day,
(3) 62% play multiple times daily.
(4) More than half of respondents saying they play “FarmVille” every day — the most popular game of Facebook.

(5) “The more time people spend on such games as ‘FarmVille,’ the harder it is for them to switch to a different diversion.”
(6) The game gets 64 million monthly active users, according to Inside Social Games data.
(7) Consumers in the U.S. will spend $1.6 billion this year on virtual goods, according to ThinkEquity.

A lot of things can be extrapolated from these facts. First of all, one cannot but notice that gaming is addictive, more so than anything good like reading bible. I mean we cannot say 90% of fans read bible every day and 62% read it multiple times. Secondly, when people don’t have money in their lives, where do you expect them to go other than finding this inexpensive entertainment online with virtual money?

Thirdly, one step further, those addicted to the FarmVille most likely do not have anything near to the real farm or property to manage in real life. In other word, they somewhat belong to the social groups that are deprived or underprivileged to the point that they have to find the satisfaction of having their dream realized online in one of their FarmVille — a bit pathetic but not far from truth.

Once again, the way we spend our disposable time reveals so much about us.



Time Management and Modern Technologies


I have been surprised by seeing how electronic gadgets control and waste our lives stealthily without our noticing it. I have observed people pouring a huge chunk of time surfing or texting or emailing, so much so that sometimes I had to stand waiting or repeating myself when the other person was busy emailing or texting while talking to me.

I have seen a sad case of poor time management in which a person used unproportionately large amount of time for a small task with unsatisfactory result. I learned of some addictive college students have to quit school. All because of having the bad company of a computer and internet.

Every time I see or hear about how people are consumed by these modern gadgets and how their drive, dream and hope are rendered hopeless and irrelevant in the midst of this internet/computer addiction, I feel greatly challenged by the presence of this great time-killer, hope-crusher and energy-drainer in the form of technologies. I want to write about it, attempting to warn myself and my children. There are a few very simple mechanisms to avoid being a slave of these gadgets.

(1) Check and answer non-urgent emails once a day only and turn off any IM or Skype. Do not allow these non-urgent communications interrupt your work. Keeping in mind you are not going to get anything done if you allow yourself to be interrupted by constantly dipping in and out of mailbox or IM.

(2) Stick to your plan religiously, granting no exception to yourself, absolutely. This is very important, as we know very well that too many exceptions create a rule. Of course, you must have a plan first. Remember no plan means plan to fail.

(3) Set a fix amount of time for internet fun time. Take away this indulgence when time is up.

(4) Do a reality check after you are on the internet for some times.

Once you are away from home either in college or at work, you have nobody but yourself watching over you. Be a good time manager.



You Can Save Lots of Time without Computer


On 3/8, my daughter was on the computer doing her homework and did not get off till after 1 AM. The next day I took away the computer and asked her to work on her homework using her textbook.

The result is she got a lot more work done by 9 PM, without computer. I said to her, “This is like an experiment. You can see how much time you can save when you are not on the computer.”

She agreed that once she was on the internet, she found it hard not to surf around. Then one click after another, and time passed very fast this way and she had to cut back her sleep for having spent too much time on the internet.

Imagine what will that lead you to when you spend more and get less done, wasting a large chunk of time surfing! Nowhere. I hope both of my children will remember this experiment.



Don’t Consume Away Your Youth, Your Future and Your Life on the Internet


This is written for all the young people that I care of, especially for my children.
Computer technologies are wonderful things when they can take us surfing globally without ever leaving our bedrooms or even bathrooms. Yet, I have posted some entries on the negative sides of this and I am doing it again as I observed nothing less than this psychological addiction to the internet among young people that I know of, including my own children. They find no life nor meaning outside computer, so much as that the touch of the topic triggers a sure fight between parents and their children.

As with all culture artifacts, there are producers and consumers, with the formers being the creators of these artifacts, the makers and movers in human history. The consumers are those who passively view and receive whatever channeled to them through the internet. There is nothing wrong with being consumers, only if you don’t care about consuming away everything you value in your life.

It is rather foolish to assume the consumers pay nothing for whatever channeled to them via the internet. As far as I can see, when people pour large chunks of time day and night, month rolling into years, they pay with the most expensive price for internet consumption — that is, their time and their dear life.

Yet, it is a terrible realization when you have consumed away your daily hours and then your youthful years, with the ultimate casualty of this addiction being your dream and ideal, your future and your life. This is not a false alarm. It is a real heartfelt wakeup call. The sooner you wean yourself off this addiction, the brighter is your future. Otherwise, doom to that future of yours and whatever dreams you may have. With that, you will remain a lifelong mediocre internet consumer.



Drug, Nicotine, Cell phone, Internet — Anything Can Be Addicted


On 6/9/2009 and 7/31/2009, I touched the topic of social networking. Yesterday, while at work, one of my colleagues and I talked about cell phone usage. It is almost unbelievable that my high-school child does not have a cell phone. She said she wished her daughter did not have it because she was almost addicted to it now. Once she left home forgetting her cell phone. She cried and had to have her parent send the phone to her. I have learned kids are a lot quiet in class now, yes quietly texting each other, new pattern of classroom behavior. I also learned that parents often told school to contact their children via their cell phones. I have seen with my own eyes how people spend large chunks of time on contacting and connecting, as if their whole lives were dependent upon it. I have also known some teenagers addicted to Japanese comics.

Starting from elememtary school, children are taught against substance abuse and nicotine addiction. I am wondering when our school will be aware of an equally damaging addiction and a threat to quality education — the psychological and even emotional dependence upon social networking and other forms of technologies– computer game, Internet surfing, texting, IMing, emailing, and even cell phone.



Waste No Time on Unneccessary Social Networking


I once promised my daughter that I would give her a cell phone once she was in high school. Now I changed my mind. No cell phone until she drives on her own. I don’t care what others are doing or saying, I am firm on my decision.

She knows that money is not the issue as the monthly phone fee is only a fraction of the cost for her weekly lessons in art, piano, and figure-skating. She also understands many people spend tons of time on chatting, texting and other means of social networking, and she should not be like this.

Therefore, even if nearly all of her friends have cell phones, I am glad that she accepts without complaints the fact the she still does not have one. Modern technologies make communications so much like a heaven. I am not against social networking. Sometimes, they makes good connections and help out those who need to connect to others, like emotional support. Yet I repeatedly remind both of my children to never waste precious time on senseless emailing, texting, IM, Facebook, or anything that might crop up replacing Facebook. Never network simply for the sake of networking. We got to have something more important in life than this unless your life depends on this.



Get Off the Computer, Get Ready for School, Part 2


See my first one on the topic in June this year,

http://momwrite.com/2009/06/off-the-line-get-a-life-and-be-an-active-player/

I heard more than one parents complaining of their children — get on the computer right out of the bed and off it right before they go to bed, even with a strong addiction and the violent resistance to any attempt of disciplining their computer time. More computer time means less time for book-reading, doing things other than computer-related, and less family interaction, etc. My children are no exception.

Good thing about my children is they are not reason-proof. I talked and talked about restricting computer time with one of my children and have finally hammer out an agreement — no computer while we are not home with all PC password-locked. I will unlock it after I get home. Even with that, the child needs to take a 10-minute break after 30-minute computer time.

Indeed, as we are just told of Google Books Library Project, Facebook Lite, and the promise of new technologies churned out everyday, it is absolutely impossible to totally cut off the line when we live through the era of boundless internet possibilities. Before the children know how to make good use of their time and tap into this technology, we parents have to be firm in setting the rules and regulations regarding computer usage, just as the traffic police are out there watching us drunk and driving adults. We all have to live with some kind of rules.



Techonology, Social Network, Time, Use it for Your Advantage


At first we have email to connect or send message to friends and families, far and near, then IM shortens the time between the two parties, then facebook, youTube, myspace, blogging, twittering helped by cell phone texting, etc – all help broaden and enrich the quality and dimension of our social network.

On Saturday on the way to her art class, I talked to my daughter about this. What does it mean to us? It means many things. On the plus side, it vastly facilities communications and social network. On the minus side, any unnecessary activities, such as texting or emailing or IM-ing just for the fun of it, mean TIME consuming. Yes, we need to be connected, informed and need to participate in this wonderful social networking. But what for? Do we have to have a purpose in all our activities? Yes, if you value your time and your life. After all, without exception, all activities consume our time. Everytime I watch others engaging in non-stop social-networking and I see too many of this (e.g. texting), the first thing that hit me heavily is – ouch! you are wasting so much time. I am sure we can live comfortably without it.

I care how I spend my time and also wish my children would care. Finally, if you really care how you spend your time, never participate for the sake of participation; never connect for the sake of connection. Never do something simply because everybody else is doing. Always tap the new technology and maximize its benefit for your own advantage.

By the way, one of the reasons for my insisting on short posting is this – I don’t want to waste too much of my readers’ precious time.



Off the Line, Get a life and Be an Active Player


“Get a life,” the child said to the parent, as if the child had a life of his/her own. I heard this at least three times before, including one from my child. A friend of mine told me that her daughter told her “Get a hobby, get a life” right before she left for college. In other word, “I am off on my own and you stop living a life through mine.”

When I was on my children’s back about their failed commitments and responsibilities, I was often told to “get a life” and leave them alone. Good thing never comes singly. Last weekend, a friend of mine told me that her son told her to “get a life.”

That is an interesting expression. Lately I have observed the behavior of some teenagers that I know of. I found out that it was high time that we should tell these youngsters to “get a life,” a life away from Internet. Frankly, they throw too much of their lives on the Internet, without the time to experience the life of their own.

These people are such excellent consumers of Internet culture that they seem to be without life other than living a life through those of the Internet producers, in much the same manner as babies being hooked on TV.

To be sure, Internet provides rich supply of nearly everything and we are all Internet consumers to certain extent. Of the top sites globally, the first two are search engines, Google, Yahoo!, followed by YouTube, Facebook, Windows Live, Microsoft Network, Wikipedia, Blogger, Baidu, MySpace, … ebay, Amazon, Twitter, etc. Internet addicts are those who find life away from the Internet boring, meaningless, not as exciting as virtual life on the Internet. How real can that be!

I shared this with my children — unless we can wean ourselves off this Internet addiction and stop this mad waste of time on the Internet, we will forever be the onlookers, consumers, viewers, observers, living our lives through others, instead of being producers, active players or even key players in this game of life, and living to the fullest a life of our own.
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