Antique Junk Drawer, Geeky Stuff


I remember when I was 16, seeing the cover of some magazine that featured Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  Actually I don’t really remember if Wozniak was on the cover or not, all I remember is thinking that Steve Jobs is really cute!   I also remember thinking, wow, he’s just a few years older than me, so young to be so rich and successful.  And then, “I wonder if he has a girlfriend…”

Steve never became my real life boyfriend, but he’s always been my pretend techno-geek boyfriend.  I’ve always had a crush on him, I’ve always had a thang for smart geeky guys.

Steve changed the world in many ways, not the least of which, he showed the world that geeks can be hot and that being a geek can be a cool thing.

But the biggest way he changed the world is in how we communicate and stay connected, how we learn and how we process creativity.

When the news broke yesterday that Steve Jobs had died, I read different reports on his life and what various people had to say about him. They talked about all he had accomplished and how he changed the world with his products.  And it’s true, because of the products he envisioned and brought to market, people can do more in less time, be more creative, share more, connect more, learn more.  I am one of those people.

I’ve always been a big fan of the “i” products and recently splurged on an iPad2 for Sean and I.  We love it with a deep intensity and use it all the time.  I have loaded it up with educational games for him and photography and design apps for me and just all kinds of fun and cool stuff.

Last night Sean and I went out for an early dinner at Chili’s.  He confiscated the cardboard coasters off several nearby tables so that we had a deck of about 20.  While we waited for our food we tried stacking the coasters in different configurations to see what kind of load-bearing structures we could make and how much weight they could bear.  Answer:  Triangle structures can bear the weight of a drinking straw – if you hold your breath and no one bumps the table. When we got bored with that, we divided up the coasters.  I asked him spelling and math questions and if he answered right, he got one of my cards; if he answered wrong, I took one of his cards.  Very low tech, but fun for geeky geeks like us and just a tad educational.  But most importantly, we were engaged.

As Sean and I were playing our silly made-up coaster games, I noticed a mom and little girl in the booth across the way.  The mom was staring into her iPhone and the little girl was watching something on her iPad, both bathed in the glow of their devices, a separation of less than two feet, but worlds apart.  I am not making a judgment here, just an observation. I realize there are many many reasons why a mom might need to decompress and veg out and that I have no idea what she’s dealing with.  But I will say that AD and I have taken note of how often we see this when we go out, families out to eat together, but not together – silent and zombie-like, the face and spirit of each lit up by their personal device.

I thought about Steve Jobs and how everyone is talking about how he changed the way we live for the better, that we are better connected than ever.  But, I have to wonder, if perhaps in other ways, we are not changed for the better, if our beloved devices are more of a wedge than a bridge, if we are not more connected than ever, but more disconnected than ever.

What do you think?


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Addendum:  Found this post along the same lines from Jon Acuff who writes Stuff Christians Like:


21 thoughts on “Steve

  1. Great point about how technology can both connect us and isolate us. My daughters’ school have introduced ipad2s for pupils (at parents expense!). I love the ipad2 but not yet convinced for it’s need in the classroom.

    * * *
    Our school got them too, either at tax payer expense or PTA, not sure which. We love our iPad. I use it as a reward at home – if you get this done then you can play a math game (tricky, no?), but I’m undecided what it’s role in the classroom should be.

  2. First, I had no idea Steve Job’s died. My back was out so I went to bed early. So thanks for the update. 😉

    I think what he did is a good thing. As usual it is what people choose to do is the problem. If you chose to ignore your kids/family/friends to stare at your device then there is a problem with that person not the device.

    Now I’m going to read the news. haha

  3. I’m not ready to pass any judgement either, because I have been plenty guilty of staring into my iPhone. I think, like pretty much anything, it is better AND worse. We’re the ones who put these iProducts, etc. in our hands – it’s our job to create some balance. I can use these things to be more efficient with my work, and feel connected to the world when I’m alone, and just plain be entertained. But it’s on me to put it away in the company of people I care about. It’s something I try to be conscious of, but it’s not always successful. And there are certainly days where I say to my kids, “Yes, go ahead and play on the iPod,” for a moment of peace for me. I just have to try to balance.

  4. Well, I am the chief of all “checker-outers”… but try desperately to see when my precious family is in front of my face and I am missing out on time with them. We definitely have a “no iJunk at the dinner table” rule. Now that my kids are teenagers, I have to fight them, myself, and their father! It’s truly a battle, but when we all win when we put it down — THAT is where the living actually is! And what sweet and precious moments it is.

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    Yup and Amen

  5. AMEN. I know that the good Lord gives us all talents. But you have to wonder where we are all headed with this ever-changing technology. I am older than you. When our sons were young, we would take a cassette player to restaurants. But our boys were following the tape with a book, seeing pictures and words and learning…was that any different? I don’t know. But I do believe we are losing the art of communication for whatever reason–and that’s sad.

    * * *

    I sometimes assuage my device guilt by saying, “Well, it’s educational.” I think part of it has to do with time and place – how much time am I giving to the device and is it time I’m stealing from my family? (whether its a cassette recorder, TV or iThing). And is the place we are using this device appropriate? It’s a great babysitter, but I guess because we are old and old fashioned, we don’t let Sean (or us) use it while we are eating or in church. For some reason drawing in church is okay though. I didn’t say it makes sense, it’s just our sense of what’s right and good for us.

  6. Ugh. I hate admitting that I can often be that mom completely disconnected and staring into her iPhone. I told myself I wouldn’t be that way and yet, I am more often than not.

    Thank you for the reminder that I need to be more connected to my kiddos than my handheld device.

  7. I do believe he made great strides for all of us but also agree that we are “plugged” in way to much. I am guilty of letting the kids have their ipod or game system while at dinner and I really had to take a look at how it was affecting us as a family. We no longer allow anything at the table, yes sometimes this is hard when waiting a long time, but it teaches our children so much.

  8. I find it a bit inappropriate to debate whether his impact was as great as is claimed on the day of his death, but I will say that he/his company have absolutely created products that streamline my daily life and allow me to connect with my family easily. I put the onus on myself to set limits of “plugged in time” and to strike the balance of electronic device connection vs. real life connections.

  9. Karen, I don’t find it inappropriate. At all. That’s what we do when people die – we talk about their lives and the impact they had, especially a public figure like Jobs. Anyways, I thought we were talking about whether or not technology makes us more or less connected, more so than debating whether or not Steve Jobs “as great as claimed”. But, I will agree that it is my job to find the balance.

  10. I find myself wondering the same thing from time to time – has technology made us more or less connected? For our family, it boils down to balance.

    With a brother working in Kabul, it’s brought us closer. The Little Man can not only talk to his Uncle, but see him as well, and this does help forge their bond.

    Then again, I catch myself staring at the iPhone from time to time too and have to remind myself that as a family, we’ve agreed that we’ll use technology together when the Little Man is awake, or not at all. That goes for gaming systems, computer, iEverythings and even TV.

    We’re far from perfect at it, but for us personally, the dependancy on technology was the medium through which we were wasting much of that oh-so-precious family time, something we do try to value, especially since we both work full time outside the home.

  11. Agreed. It takes an assertive amount of effort to be mindful of this. Even when kids are young’ins like mine (2.5) and little Kensington (2 months)…(did you know I had another?), I find that it’s so easy to check out during playground time. But that’s the time I’ve found that can be the most essential to watch my kiddos and how they play/interact with others, and also to play with them myself. I find we miss out on so much otherwise.

  12. I have been thinking the same thing for such a long time. So many things make it easier to BE connected, but on such a shallow level. I have about 200 Facebook friends, but how many of them do I seriously connect with? Especially since I now know way more about them then I ever did-it almost seems unnecessary for a more human relationship. I miss the human touch.

  13. Many years ago when I was young, people would come and visit and everyone would sit and talk together.

    Then TV came into our lives,and family and friends no longer came and sat and visited but stayed home and watched their own TV.

    The art of conversation was lost when we found the TV. vivian

  14. I completely agree. There are times I want to take away my daughters’ cell phone or her computer. It’s always attached, like an appendage.

    But when we took up photography 4 years ago, we discovered a common passion and have enjoyed much quality father-daughter bonding time.

    Soon, she’ll be off to college, and with that, a desire to be independent. But with our Steve Jobs’ devices, we will stay close and connected.

    These gadgets changed our world, but it’s up to us to manage them, as good parents.

  15. Hmmm. . .

    I believe that technological advances will come no matter who discovers/creates them. The visionary thinking of guys like Jobs and Gates is amazing–and over the course of years, hopefully, it will find its correct place. There is ALWAYS something that we will use as a distraction. We may say that books are better, or exercise is better, or conversation is better, or whatever. But it’s all in the balance of Time and Place. And I LOVE your impromptu physics/math game with Sean. Teachable moments–you’re doin’ it right. 🙂

  16. My heart grieves for his family. We lost our Mom to pancreatic cancer & it is a tough journey. As far as the tech aspect…
    I see my grandchildren engrossed in their hand held gadgets & find it quite annoying at times. Just this week, the kids had a day off of school & I went to lunch with my daughter & her children. I was dumbfounded to find a game/movie pod on our table. I was a little disappointed to see the boys sitting there playing games, & fighting over whos turn it was, before our food came.
    I’m sure you & Sean could find a better way to pass your time.

  17. I LOVE how you find creative ways to connect with Sean! We have a strict no-gadget, dinner-at-the-table rule at our house. There are some nights that we don’t talk much, but the silence is sometimes comforting as well…familiar and cozy to know you don’t have to talk all the time and/or be entertained. LOVE your style!

  18. There are no iphones or ipads in our home but not because we don’t covet them from afar. I guess its need vs want. I believe we all have a valid argument for both sides. Either way, we’ve never allowed anything at the dinner table that can be hand held with the exception of silverware! Its what worked for us.

  19. I’m with you A.M.! When I’m with my daughter, I want to really be WITH her. Not to down talk my dear husband, but I’ve noticed that he seems to be always multitasking. When he has alone time in the car with my daughter, he’s talking on his phone. When he walks the dog, he’s either on his phone or listening to a podcast or music. It’s constant. He doesn’t take alone time by himself and he even fills up the time he “could have” with other family members. He’s much better about this type of stuff around me, because he knows how I feel about it. But, he can’t seem to connect his stress level with his behavior.

  20. I was just talking about this with my son the other day, telling him I don’t have a Smart Phone, I have a Totally Stupid Phone, can call, take pictures and text but nothing else. I told him I don’t want the internet on my phone (but not judging those who do) and used the example of the folks we see in public places, all separately on their phones- that is just not me. Something to think about, for sure.

  21. Very well said AM! I couldn’t agree more. It bothers me to see people sitting at a table mnore engaged with their gadgets and not with each other.

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