The current corona virus pandemic, which now requires all of us to keep a safe social distance, comes with the march of technology.  For me, a member of the old and vulnerable class, the last few weeks have provided some major learning experiences.

Several years ago my son and daughter-in-law decided my husband and I should have smart phones and we received them as gifts for Christmas. My husband keeps his in a nice box that he doesn’t open, except when he takes business trips. At least he knows where it is.  My phone migrates to a comfortable place in my bag, but almost never rings. I usually have difficulty finding it. The phones come into play when we are traveling.  We use them to make hotel reservations, to figure out where we are, and to call our children when we’re on the road.

During this pandemic my husband and I spend our days at home, with a few short trips to the grocery store.  Though we know about the corona virus, we don’t think about technology. We haven’t used our cell phones.  My son had other ideas.

Using the Cell Phone

We were advised to get our cell phones ready, and I used mine for the experiment. On an evening last week, using the smart phone, my son connected my daughter-in-law (at home in suburban Cleveland), my granddaughter (at home in Chicago), himself (in a town house in downtown Cleveland), to my husband and me in Williamsburg, VA.  My husband and I used the smart phone speaker apparatus so we could both hear and speak to everyone. All of us were able to speak and listen, and in general, communicate. The experience was a bright spot in a dull boring week of too much television.

We’ve done this kind of call twice so far, and I don’t know how my son arranges it, but I’m amazed at the clarity and immediacy of the sound.  When you enjoy it, technology is wonderful.

On the other hand, it is important to understand what is going on.  The day after the first family phone conversation, my doctor’s office called to say that though the labs were closed, the doctor would still conduct my semi-annual checkup using the internet. The office arranged a “virtual doctors visit” and I had to load software onto my computer. I entered a password and agreed to various terms of use.

Understanding the Computer

I managed to get onto the system. I saw and heard the doctor, and he heard but couldn’t see me.  The glitch was due to the fact that I had no idea where my computer camera was located or how to turn it on.  Nevertheless, my doctor was happy with my answers to a few questions, renewed my normal prescription and said “see you in six months.” The examination lasted five minutes, the normal amount of time I spend with my doctor in a routine examination.  When it was over, his office immediately called to set up real appointments for the next visit.

Following the doctor’s exam, I contacted my IT specialist, via the internet, about the picture problem. He sent me a photo of my computer indicating the location of the camera. It was attached to the back of my monitor and I was required to pull it up into position. I was now ready for my first “Zoom” meeting with my writers’ critique group which took place two days later.

“Zoom” allows groups of people to have meetings. They can see and hear each other on electronic devices and computers, if everyone’s equipment is working and turned on. I managed to enter the Zoom meeting without a problem, but I had trouble turning on the sound.  I could see people, but I could not hear them, nor could they hear me. Eventually I found the Zoom audio switch and now I’m an expert.

My family is planning a Zoom meeting connecting all of us in a week or so.  My daughter already cooks an evening meal together with a sister-in-law; she is in Chicago while the sister-in-law is in Massachusetts. Over a dozen people are in attendance at those communal meals.  I don’t know if it improves the food, but it’s a fun way to spend time in an epidemic.

Corona Virus, Technology, and Old Jokes

The technology accompanying corona virus appears to come with old jokes.  Over these last two weeks, I’ve received, over the internet, samples of stuff that apparently keep people from going crazy with boredom.  The jokes fall into several categories, all somehow related to coping with the corona virus.  Here are some examples:

“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

“Jewish irony: Passover canceled because of a plague.

“We’re about two weeks away from seeing everyone’s true hair color.

‘You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

“Many parents are about to discover the teacher is not the problem.”

All this and videos too.  I now have a long one about two cows.  Without the corona virus and technology, I wouldn’t know so much about two cows.

 

Reminder

A reminder:. From now till the end of June all of my historical novels will be available in the ebook version at a 35 per cent discount. Order them from ipgbook.com and use the code BMSpring2020.