To this day…

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Well, the eve of Christmas is here, and before I have my nightly Earl Grey (with just  a touch of lemon), thought I would pop in and give a greeting to those who may still be up. Not a bad day today, slow work in the morning, shopping for the next few days taken care of, and topped it off with a early evening dinner with a small gathering at sister’s house.

I hope that everyone’s day had some pleasant moments in it, and that they to get to curl up with a nice hot cup of Earl Grey or hot cocoa.

See you soon.

 

The colors of Christmas

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Some, who are reading this, may wonder why a black and white photo with no snow was chosen to be included in a blog post entitled “The colors of Christmas”. It’s really quite simple. For some, the season of Christmas brings no color at all, no fancy lights, or dinners or parties. No joyful trimming of the tree or waiting for presents to be received or to be given.

For some, this can be the darkest time of the year, when they may feel most alone. Now, there are some that revel in the loneliness and in some ways actually welcome it. For those individuals, this time of the year is not unlike any other time. Just another day in which to get things done while others are spending time with friends and family.

Yet, for most people who dread this time of the year. It is a 30 day reminder that they do not share this joyous time of the year with someone. No one special for them to sit with and enjoy the endless onslaught of Holiday movies, nor to share a hot cup of cocoa at the end of the day.

Well, if you find yourself reading this, and find yourself one of those individuals, no need to fret this year.

I, myself, have been one of “those people” for a few years now. In fact, this will be the eighth Christmas and New Years season I have spent alone, and am hear to say that, it may not be easy, but, you can make it to the new year.

Instead of focusing on the fact that I have no one special in my life right now with whom to share the holidays. I focus on myself. During an eleven month period, one can accumulate quite a lot of stuff. During the holiday season is, for me, the perfect time to reduce the “stuff” I have.

Old clothes go to the Salvation Army, old books go to the library, and I go through and clean out my “catch -all drawer” (and we know we all have one!). As a photographer of community events, I then go through my SD cards, drives, and pictures folders on all PC’s and devices, to make sure that they have all been categorized and uploaded to the cloud, so that they are readily available.

After that, I get into my own “Holiday Traditions” of watching “The Thin Man” with a nice cup of hot tea (with lemon), some chocolate chip cookies (is there really any other kind?!),and then settle in for the showing of the “Doctor Who Christmas Special”.

This year, however, I am adding a new tradition to the mix. And that is of being online. If you read my blogs, and I know there are not a lot of entries, if you find yourself not having anything to do this weekend, give me a shout-out.

We can email, exchange thoughts on movies, music, or just whatever. Just my way of saying that “no one should be alone on the Holidays”. Yep, sounds a bit cliché and a bit sappy. But, I will be here blogging all weekend and if you wish to chat, let me know in the comments.

Till then and make sure you are ready for this years “Doctor Who Christmas Special”, it comes on this Sunday (Christmas night) at 9:00 p.m. on BBC America.

 

The Big Switch!

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It has been quite some time since I have blogged or posted about things in a while, and many apologies to those who read my blog. But, now I do have something to write about and it is about making the #switch to a Windows based phone.

A Connected World

A little history here. On my Verizon account, I have been carrying 2 separate phone lines. One for personal and the other line for my small business. In the beginning, both lines were Android, but then I switched one of them to the Apple iPhone 4S. Now, initially, I was impressed with the 4S from Apple. This was my first foray into using Apple products, and I must say that they do possesses a certain level of simplicity of use and fluidity of motion. And, I in no way will take away from them the fact that, for the most part, the mobile world does revolve around Apple. And therein lies the problem. Because my world (both personal and business) has always been Microsoft, and not Apple.

Mixing Apples and Oranges (in a manner of speaking..lol!) 

Microsoft Operating Systems have always been on any PC or laptop that I have owned, so there is a sense of familiarity about it. Working with it as long as I have, either just as an end-user, government employee, or a  college instructor, there has always been a version of Windows that I have used to be productive, entertained, and organized. With that being said, when I added the Apple iPhone 4S into the mix, it was not a matter of a poor choice, but rather a “seeing what is out there” type of choice.

Apps, OPs. and Oops!

For my social networking life, there are just three apps that I use with any amount of frequency. They are: Facebook, Google Plus , and Twitter. And with any search in either Android, Apple, or Windows Apps store, you will find these three apps. So, why the switch? Simple. Office 365 and One Note. With Android and Apple mobile OPs, you have One Note, but, no Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. With the large amount of my documents being in MS Word format, having a way to bring them up in native format was a BIG PLUS. Now, I would not propose to create an entire document on my mobile phone, however being able to edit it, make small changes, and save it in native MS Word format is a wonderful thing! Also I tend to toss my phone around a lot, and with an iPhone, this is not a good habit to have..lol.

In the end, its all about the movies…

The final selling point for me, I didn’t actually find out about it until I came home with the phone. And that is – 32 GB internal storage and Carl Zeiss lenses. From my early days of photography, I was the proud owner of a Contax brand camera. Excellent camera, beautiful pictures, and the Carl Zeiss lens made your photos look outstanding. Now, take that lens and put it in a mobile device coupled with 32GB of internal storage for all my music, videos, and movies? You have got me sold! So now on my daily commute, I can chose to either listen to music, watch music videos, or any one of my favorite movies that I have downloaded to the phone (“Smokey and the Bandit” anyone?) Oh, and the looks I get from my fellow commuters is priceless because not everyone has a Windows Nokia phone. So, is any cell phone the perfect cell phone? No, not really. But having tried all three platforms, I can say that the Windows 8 phone fits perfectly into my life, my media, my social networking, and in my pocket!

What was there before the Internet?…

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Life, Love, and pursuit..

Sorry for the delay in between post, but have been taking some time out to tighten up my social media, and also to take a little time to reflect. Personally, I think it is a good idea sometimes to just unplug from the Internet and social media, in order to take a step back and remember life before Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and blogging. A time to re-energize yourself, put priorities in order, and regain your focus. Hence, the writing of mine at the top of the page.

“Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto”

On my Facebook page, I stated that in this age of technology, we live all aspects of our lives online. From ordering our groceries to finding our life mate, so much of our daily lives are online. And I wondered – “What would happen without the Internet?” Do we remember enough of our basic social skills to still be able to hold a conversation without the assistant of Google, Pulse, or any other news feed for a topic? Did we retain information in our memory to again go to a store, purchase a card and gift, and deliver a birthday message in person? When we relax, do we remember how to pick up an actual good book, or do we automatically reach for our iPad, Galaxy Tab, Nook, or Kindle, and just download the latest seller? Or even something simple as writing a letter to a friend, do we type it or do we take out pad and pencil and write them a letter and (gasp!) mail it to them? I remember, in 2003, there was a large blackout on the East Coast, lasting for at least a few days. No cable T.V, no satellite radio, and of course, no Internet. Now, as Shakespeare would say – “Therein lies the rub” – because even though there was no way to access the information, local radio stations would report the standard reply – “For more information on the progress of repairs. you can follow us on (insert web address here!).

“By the clicking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes..”

The blackout showed me exactly how habit-forming looking to the Internet for our information has become. No longer do we call the operator or look in the Yellow Pages. We now Google or Bing a business to inquire about their hours or products. When we look to make friends, we search our online social media feeds or any number of dating sites. Not that there is anything wrong with that, the thought on my mind was that we are quicker to friend someone online rather than the person we see everyday. And shouldn’t be the other way around?

“Try a little tenderness..”

So, try a little experiment of your own. The next time you want to get in touch with a friend, don’t text or even call, totally surprise them with a visit. On someone’s birthday, buy the card early and mail it to them and take the gift there in person. If you know someone that enjoys reading, buy them an actual Barnes & Noble gift card, instead of a digital one! You may realize that you have forgotten just how pleasing these little acts can be.

As always – Take care, have fun, be safe, and trust me…there is always a reason to smile!