10 Habits of a Baby Boomer Changed by Technology

The holiday season is upon us, electronic and technology gifts abound.  Even if you have an idea of what you want to buy, the number of choices can be overwhelming.  I thought it would be simple to find quality speakers to listen to the music on my iPhone, yet it has become a project for me.  (Yes the CD collection is now starting to gather dust like the LP collection.)

Feeling sentimental about my lonely CD collection, I realized how many of my daily habits have changed in the past few years due to new technology and gadgetry.  The end of the year is always a time of reflection, and since habits are hard to change, I thought it was worth documenting.  Here is my list – so far.

1.  My watch has become an ornament, a piece of  jewelry that I wear on my wrist.   I use it quite infrequently to tell time.  Instead I find myself relying on my cell phone, PC, cable box, and microwave.  My 26-year-old daughter would never let me buy her a watch – she told me she would never use it.  I now agree with her on this one!

2.  I no longer use my clock radio to awaken me.  I use the alarm on my phone to wake me up.  I picked up this habit on vacation and it has stuck with me.  I will never oversleep due to a power outage as long as my phone is charged.

3.  I keep an online calendar.  It is very handy, especially since I can view it on my smart phone, and set alerts to remind me of appointments.  However I still keep a desk and a wall calendar!  So now I update my desk calendar, wall calendar and online calendar for my appointments.  Yes this is redundant and neurotic (am I the only one who does this?).   Yes, I could print out the online calendar and save myself some trouble, but I like keeping the written calendars.  Perhaps this will go the way of my watch in a few years.

4.  I rarely watch live TV to view my favorite shows, they are always recorded.  This way I don’t miss any shows,  I can view them at any time,  and bypass commercials.  I may record shows I watch live as it is helpful should I fall asleep, I can replay the parts I’ve missed.

5.  There is no newspaper in my house – I rely on online sites.  This also cuts down on the amount of paper I need to recycle.

6.  Going out to the movies always starts online with moviephone.com or fandango.com to find a movie, read reviews, and find theaters and times.  While I am there I order the movie tickets online if I think the show might sellout.

7.   I’ve been an online shopper for years now, and find I am going online to research prices, even for store purchases.  Often the online prices are better especially when there is free shipping.  I may go to a store to touch and feel an item, then go home and order it online if it is cheaper and I don’t mind waiting for it.

8.  At the risk of sounding nerdy (not that there is anything wrong with that) I will admit I keep spreadsheets for my grocery list and vacation packing, rather than constantly making new lists.  I have been doing this for years now, and I rarely miss or forget items, as my lists have been revised and improved upon over time.

 9.  I rely on my car’s navigation system when traveling, rather than printing maps and directions.  I did print directions as a backup in the past, but I don’t bother anymore.  I do still check directions online first if I have the time.  I also use tripadvisor.com to do all my travel research, rather than read travel guide books.

10.  This last one is not a habit of mine, but I do know more than one person who takes their iPad on bathroom visits rather than a magazine, book, or newspaper.  I will admit I am guilty of keeping my iPhone with me at all times.

I am sure this list will continue to grow.  I can’t add listening to my iTunes library as replacing my CDs yet.  Perhaps once I decide on speakers for my iPhone that may change. 

How has technology and gadgetry changed your habits?     What can you add to this list?

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. NiKi UsBaY
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 12:26:01

    With all of these digital revolutions, it’s hard to think that life could get much easier… then apple came out with the iCloud. Have you seen that yet?

    I am eager to integrate all of my apple digital products through the cloud!


  2. Marci
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 12:32:03

    I’ve had spreadsheet shopping lists on my personal organizer (and now my smartphone) for years. Click when you’ve bought it, unclick when you need it. It’s always with me so whenever Hoppie says, “We need…” or I empty something in the house or see an empty wrapper or space where something is supposed to be, its easy to update the shopping list. It’s organized by store so I can weed out things that aren’t sold wherever I’m going.

    I keep a library on my palm. Not just ebooks, but a card catalog of all the books, DVDs, and CDs, I own. This prevents purchasing duplicates.

    Another “changed my life” techno object is the cellphone camera and before that the digital camera. Before going digital, I had a Kodak disk camera, widely hailed as the easiest camera to use and the worst picture quality of a camera developed after 1932. (alright, I made those stats up, but the pictures were DREADFUL). My camera had actually broken to the point where whenever I took a picture, it would shock me. The I went digital and suddenly I was taking pictures all the time. And then I got a smartphone….and I went from taking pictures all the time, to REALLY taking pictures all the time. It’s so handy. Any moment can be captured without the “did I bring the camera?” “Did you bring the camera?” “Did you bring batteries?” “Did you charge the batteries?” I was not a fan of the cellphone camera when the quality was iffy but with the advent of the smartphone, suddenly pictures got much clearer and the picture quality on my smartphone is actually better than pictures taken with my current digital video camera.

    On the flip side, although I have a GPS, I still prefer to get the AAA TripTiks for updates on construction.


  3. Jeri Usbay
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 16:26:21

    Sounds like you are ahead of the curve, Marci. Yes the cell phone camera is my number 11 – when phones first had cameras it seemed so foreign – why would anyone want a camera on their phone? Now it is indispensible, especially for messaging and emailing pics, and as you said you never have to worry about forgeting your camera (since you won’t forget your phone)! Thanks for your comments!


  4. Kristen Shaw
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 11:52:26

    Excellent observations and all very true. As someone who grew up with most of the latest technology, I’m very fast to change to the newest, fastest and better digital device as time goes by. However, I can’t help but feel as if we’ve lost something along the way. Now instead of sitting and actually being invested in a television show, I’m also either on my iphone or my computer. Instead of reading books, with the feel, the texture and the smell that is so uniquely ‘books’, many people are switching to the kindle or ipad (I won’t lie, I might even get one myself). Because of the new advances in technology, which I am one of the first to admit has greatly improved communication, health and the speed in which we get things done, our own physical communication with others has diminished. Now many teens can’t communicate well without their phones, though there are that can. People hide behind technology and seem to have lost their manners along with it. I read an article within the last year or so that said schools were considering getting rid of cursive since people don’t really use it anymore. I can’t help but feel that technology has an impact on things like that. Things that while they feel trivial now will ultimately affect our culture down the road.

    Technology is a wonderful thing but at what point do we take it too far?


  5. Jeri Usbay
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 21:34:39

    Thank you for your wonderful insights, Kristen. Yes, there is an emotional cost to relying too much on our gadgets, and all this technological change has tremendous impact on our culture. We could all use more real face time, and less multitasking. (I miss looking at hand held photo albums – I miss the touch and feel of the photos even though the picture quality can be so much better on an iPad or PC.)


  6. elvalentino
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 01:23:17

    Wow you certainly live an alternative life from myself and my friends, that’s for sure.
    I like your bullet points.

    “7. I’ve been an online shopper for years now, and find I am going online to research prices, even for store purchases. Often the online prices are better especially when there is free shipping. I may go to a store to touch and feel an item, then go home and order it online if it is cheaper and I don’t mind waiting for it.”

    This is interesting, so often I spend my money in-store, but when I consider it. It’s defiantly a lot cheaper to do so online.

    Do you have any favorite websites you could share for me to look at?

    Keep up the awesome posts 🙂


  7. Jeri Usbay
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 21:37:05

    Thanks, elvantino – I use amazon.com and nextag.com the most – usually just using Google to find the item brings up amazon and nextag results. Your blog is awesome – I admire your ambitions.


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