Friday, October 9, 2009

The indomitable human spirit!

I just read this inspiring article about how an African teenager with no education, no money and no supporters built an electric windmill for his home and village. And through his invention, he's finally going to get his education! Wow! It makes you really think that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything. That's right, believe in your abilities, no matter what the doubters say. Its that indomitable human spirit that says, "You can!"

How a Malawian teenager harnessed the power of the wind

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's just TOO much!!!

Today, I attended a Lottery training seminar with my mom. We have a grocery store and the NY State lottery requires all agents/retailers to have a new lottery terminal/machine at the end of the month. Therefore, we had attended this seminar because we were required to be "trained" for these new machines.

So, the main thing I noticed about these machines, were how they vastly upgraded the interface and structure of the lottery terminal. Gone are the bulky, heavy, and paper driven mess that all agents had to deal with. Now, its just a monitor and small printer. Even, the new paper roll is smaller and now, glossy. It seems that the Lottery people have had plenty of input from Dell and Company.

But, the thing that I was most concerned with was how the older retailers would adjust to these new machines. Frankly, most of these retailers are in their 50's and older, just like my parents, and they too never had a lot of experience with computers. How would they adjust from pressing tickets from a keyboard to a new system with a touch screen and a gajillion different options?

"It's just TOO much!", a fellow store owner would say. He continued, "For young people, like you, its ok. But for us, we've never had any real experience with computers."

"You're right," I replied. And I couldn't help but think that with all these new technological advances and gadgets, WE (me, you, society, businesses, etc.,) have somewhat created or intended to leave the older folks behind. I mean, did Apple really create the iPhone for my parents? Of course not. And as I thought about "them" - the older folks - I questioned myself, "Are we going to push them out of jobs, and into retirement, as they struggle to keep up?" Probably, I answered. And I think they too are coming to the realization that their time is limited, that they are becoming "expired" and this is just a gradual way for them to become obsolete. Very sadly, I might add this last point.

So, back to my mom, she also had trouble using the machine. And she's typed her resume, sent emails, and downloaded audio files from her mini MP3 player onto our home computer. Therefore, she's somewhat computer literate. And I have full confidence in her that she can adjust to this machine. But what about my father? I can't even imagine how my father would ever get used to a machine. He barely knows how to turn on a computer!

And I'm sure when the new lottery terminal comes to our store, I'll have to be there day and night, teaching him ALL the new features. But, I do wonder from what I observed today, if we're advancing technology (and even society through these advances), but at the same time, "pushing" these older folks out of their way of life. Not to mention, gradually erasing their self-worth, their values and their collective souls out of our own lives.

Update 10/8 - I just read this article. I thought it validated what I wrote above. But there seems to be solutions!

Technology, economy proves a barrier for older, less-educated applicants