Category Archives: Technology 101

Election Day

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We’ve come a long way from the days of marking our votes on a slip of paper. With all the changes in technology, it’s no wonder why we are now using technology to track votes. Not only is it faster but it is definitely more convenient. In a day and age when we want to know and need to know quickly that is a huge feat. You have the entire country, maybe even the entire world, sitting around their televisions, just counting down the minutes until they are able to hear which candidate won the majority vote. Now that’s democracy at it’s finest.

Many people don’t realize exactly how people used to vote before our current use of electronic voting machines. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? The very first voters used paper ballots and tabulated these ballots, manually. In fact, the first use of paper ballots in the United States dates back to 1629 when there needed to be a pastor selected for the Salem Church. Can you imagine how time consuming this must have been for them?

There then came a punch card system, an optical scan system, and a lever system. The very first voting machines were mechanical. These machines only allowed for there to be a single vote. Later, there came a voting machine that allowed for a vote to be cast for multiple candidates in multiple categories. This was largely due to the work of a man named Alfred Gillespie who made several refinements to the original direct-recording voting system. In current day, we use the direct-recording electronic voting system which is a machine that records votes by means of an electronic display and is automatically tabulated.

Do you think that with all of this technology it is causing us to be lax in our choices, even spilling over into our voting? Or do you think it is helping us in some way?

I believe that having access to the kind of technology that we have access to is a big help. Especially in my personal life, I have noticed that the Internet helps me to keep up with the candidates a lot better than I have ever been able to before. In this election season alone, I have found myself looking up things about each of the candidates and this has greatly helped me to make a better voting decision. With the busyness of life, I do not always have time to sit down in front of the television to watch a debate or see a commercial on who is running for a certain office, in my district, and it is in this way that the Internet and YouTube are a big help.

My voting experience has greatly changed since I was 18-years old. At that time, it was pretty typical of me to just mark anyone without having much knowledge of the candidates or even having a real reason for voting for the person that I chose. And while I am not that gung-ho on any of the candidates this time around, I do take pride in knowing more about the issues, the candidates and having a reason for voting for who I did.

What about you? How is your voting experience different from when you were younger and first eligible to vote? Have you been doing anything differently in respect to how you vote now as opposed to then? Do you take more pride in your vote now than you did before?

If you haven’t already, be sure to get out and cast your vote. Don’t know if you’re registered to vote, find out here. No matter what everyone else says…your vote DOES count! Let your voice be heard. Happy Voting!

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Kids and Technology

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The days of kids playing outside or making up games, on their own, to play with their siblings and friends are long gone. It is in this way that I, and many others, believe that our children’s creativity and imaginations are being stifled and, even worse, eliminated altogether.

We now live in a world that craves more and nothing is ever enough. Our 8, 10 and even 15-year old children throw temper-tantrums when we tell them that they are not getting that new video game. Children as young as 5-years old now have cell phones and they talk about other children, their age and older, whose parents have chosen not to buy them one. This is ridiculous!

Don’t get me wrong, technology is the way the world is going in and I am an advocate for our little ones staying knowledgeable and in the fast lane dealing with this. However, I also feel that it needs to be controlled because technology addiction, even among children, is a reality.

I began noticing this new form of “addiction” years ago but never actually experienced it myself until my now 10-year old daughter started to get a bit irritable just being around her siblings. One night, after slaving over a hot stove, I called the kids downstairs for dinner. I prepared their plates, sat them on the table and then stepped out of the kitchen for a moment to answer a call or send a work email, can’t remember which.

When I came back in and proceeded to sit down at the table, I noticed that there was no one at the table and that my children had each gotten their plates and went into the family room and other parts of the house. At this time, each of my children had hand-held video gaming devices, access to 2 laptops, tablets and a cell phone that the older girls each shared. This is when I realized that I had contributed to this because of my desire for my kids to not be “left out” and to be “in the know”. I was contributing to my children barely saying 2 words to each other, let alone myself, and I was not happy about this.

This family was becoming the family I grew up in as a child and it was not at all what I had envisioned for my family to be. I wanted to communicate with my children but I noticed that I had given up control and stop really even trying to have a relationship with my kids. I blamed it on the stress of being a single working mom and not having enough time and all these other things but I purposely allowed my children to become more engaged with gadgets than with having a real conversation with me and their siblings. When I began to own that…I was able to really move forward and make change happen.

The change did not happen overnight, not by a long shot. It happened slowly and sometimes I just wanted to give up and let the gadgets continue to have my children but I kept pushing forward. It probably would have been easier had I had someone in my corner, rooting me on and telling me that the end results would prove to be worth the proverbial “blood, sweat and tears”.

The main changes that I made were not that drastic. I didn’t take away and destroy all of the technology in my home or tell my children that they could not be on these objects. The only thing that really changed was the amount of time we used our gadgets each day. We established a couple of new “traditions” in our household. One was simply that, each night, we now sit down and eat dinner TOGETHER and we do not bring our cell phones, tablets, video games, laptops or any other form of technology to the table. This has helped us to be able to reconnect in numerous ways but, most importantly, has aided in how we communicate with one another and show our love and gratitude through our words.

The other “tradition” is that we take at least one day each week to not do anything more with technology than we need to. Most of the time this is a weekend day because during the week we all “need” technology in some way…whether it is my children who now have to research things online for certain projects and homework assignments or needing to respond to a last minute-urgent work email. There is almost no way to get around using technology during our week so we usually will keep Saturday or Sunday as our “No Technology Day” or severely limit the use of it for a few hours so that we can breathe, volunteer/serve, reconnect with each other and other people in our lives, and even do other things that we don’t get a chance to do when we are immersed in all of our technology.

This may or may not work for you and it may or may not be an issue for your family. If it isn’t, then congratulations for starting out on the right foot. You are among the few families that this has not become a problem for. However, if you or someone you know are struggling with technology addiction or if you would just like to learn more about this “new” mental illness, visit WebMD and HelpGuide.org for additional resources and information.

Technology Anyone?

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On another note, continuing with our new theme of having a purpose for everyday of the week… Today is Tuesday and I will be calling it ‘Technology Tuesday’. On this day of the week I will be posting about all things technology and tech-related. I would love to have some guest bloggers as well so if you’re a tech-blogger or just love technology, be sure to contact me and let’s work on collaborating in the near future.

As always, please feel free to send in your questions or your own stories involving technology and you may be featured in the coming weeks and months. You can contact me at misssatomi1@gmail.com or you can leave a comment/question in the comments section and I will be sure to respond. Thanks for following and I will chat with you again soon!