Full Circle

In 1988, my dad taught me how to use the PC. Computers were so primitive back then, a DOS interface with about 3 or so colors.

In college, I majored in computer science because of my dad. And while I do not enjoy my major, it taught me a lot about logic and problem solving.

Recently I have been teaching my dad how to fully utilize his Samsung Galaxy Note 4. It has come a full circle.

I never thought I have the patience to teach him and my mom how to use the Note 4. Surprisingly I do. 2-3 hours of hands on teaching every day, followed by homework, and then a refresher the next day. Rinse and repeat.

I do it because I do not want them to get left behind in this technologically advanced world of ours. A few years back I got them the ipad and the ipad mini so that they could communicate with me while I was in Hong Kong. It worked out real well in that I never had to buy a phone card and that I could always see them via Facetime.

Did my parents really need the Note 4 when they already had their own ipads? I would say yes. For them the android operating system and the pen is a game changer.

The android system has such a robust voice recognition program that they no longer need to type.  The pen allows them to completely bypass the keyboard and just write on screen.

Also they never need to be scared that they are downloading an app that is not free because google does not require a credit card in order to download from their play store. Hence my parents never need to worry that one fat finger would cause them to pay $5 for something they did not want.

I have also been teaching them WeChat, which is the best messaging system I have seen to date. It is no wonder it has been downloaded a billion plus times. So easy to use and completely free as long as you have an internet connection. It allows you to talk to people around the world whether it is through a text message, voice recording, a phone call, video call, and much more. My favorite feature is that you can select the times you don’t want to be disturbed, for example I have it so that I don’t receive any WeChat notifications between 11pm and 9am.

Personally, I am very glad that I made the switch from the iPhone to the Note 4. I feel that much more organized because I now have the freedom to do things my way instead of the way apple wants me to do them. Don’t get me wrong, when I first got the iPhone 3G back in 2008, I thought it was life changing. But I didn’t see a big difference between the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 4 that I later got. And even less when I “upgraded” my iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5. So this time I knew I wasn’t going to get the iPhone 6 or 6+.

My parents are glad too, my mom finally understands how to work her phone. She previously was using the iPhone 4S and she only really knew how to make and receive calls from that. The screen was too small for her to do much else as she would fat finger everything. My dad is enamored of his Note 4 as well, so much so that I have to limit him to maximum of 2 hours of daily use a day.

I will admit that it does require a lot of patience to teach one’s parents new technology, but the payoff is worth it. One of the things that older people often complain about is loneliness. With a smartphone and WeChat, they know how to reach me and I don’t feel pressured to respond to them right away so that I can always think about my answer before responding to them. Also I have downloaded Chinese radio stations and various games to keep them entertained and occupied. In addition to all the youTube videos and the Letv they currently watch.

It feels good to know that my parents are enjoying their retirement. Now I will just have to rise and repeat this process with my in-laws. My mother-in-law is not retired even though she really should be as she has an extremely physically demanding job. But she is scared of retirement and so very afraid that she will have nothing to occupy her time if she retires. Hopefully, she no longer will feel that way once I teach her how to use the Note 4.

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Fed Up – A Documentary About Americans and Sugar

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