Sunday, January 26, 2014

Searching for the Impossible—The Universal Charger

Do you have a drawer like this? A drawer where all of those left over chargers go when your phone, digital camera, e-reader, or iPod become obsolete. This is only part of our collection; we also have a bag tucked away in a closet full of even older charger technology.

Doesn't this seem like a waste? If we can invent iPhones, Google glasses, and Fitbit fitness trackers I do not understand why someone cannot invent a universal charger for all of these electronic devices. Especially within companies. Yes Apple I am referring to you. Of course this is a marketing ploy to get everyone to upgrade to the iPhone 5 and then pay for a new charger for your house and your car and an extra one because you've already lost that first iPhone 5 charger.

It does seem wasteful to constantly create all of these new chargers when one universal charger for all could do the trick. Wouldn't designers just need to make the charger plug-in components all the same? That just seems too simple. Such a revolutionary technology change as a universal charger would probably call for some international protocol on charger technology, taking decades to design, approve, and implement. By then we will probably all be running around in Google Glasses and communicating telepathically. Beam me up Scotty!

Until then, the old charger collection continues to grow.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

One of 40 Million

If you read this blog, you know that I am a Target shopper. Since I used my Target credit card multiple times between Black Friday and December 18, 2013 I am lumped in with the other 40 million Target shoppers whose confidential credit and debit card data was stolen. Knowing my luck, I'm probably also in the mass of 70 million Target shoppers whose phone numbers and home addresses were also stolen. The only shoppers left unscathed were those who paid with cash. And who uses cash at Target except kids who don't have a credit card?

Angry, disappointed, confused, bitter resentment, betrayed: that pretty much describes the reaction of your average Target shopper. Even a few class action lawsuits are popping up. I fall into the disappointed and confused categories. Supposedly Target had a quality security system set up. Not!

How does Target manage to have such massive holes in their security networks and nonexistent safeguards that thieves could go undetected for weeks stealing all of this information? At least the Secret Service was keeping tabs on Target and let them know what was going on a few weeks before Christmas. Target has supposedly resolved what they can although all that data is still floating around out there in cyberspace.

Perhaps I am naive as I continue to shop at Target and swipe my Target card, figuring that they must have resolved these security issues and chances of a similar incident happening is slim. However I am tempted to just cut up that Target card and be done with it.

This whole scenario is more than eye-opening. We tend to take for granted swiping our plastic cards to pay for purchases instead of carrying around wads of cash or writing out a check—if you can even find a place that will cash your check. If this can happen to a massive chain like Target couldn't this happen to another major business or even to a major bank?

I've not yet started stashing cash under the floorboards, but this Target security breach does make you think about cyber-security and wonder what those criminals are going to do with financial data of 40 million trusting Target shoppers. You can only buy so much diamond jewelry, luxury cars, flats in London, and flights to far fetched destinations. Hopefully justice will ensue.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What to Do When It's 50° Below Zero Outside

Minnesota's current arctic blast means no outdoor activities unless you want any exposed flesh to freeze within five minutes. Welcome to the coldest January Minnesota has experienced in decades! The Governor even cancelled school for the entire state on Monday. Although it hasn't yet hit tomorrow's forecasted -50° to -60° windchill yet, I opted to stay indoors today.

If you have never experienced air this cold consider yourself lucky. Eyeballs seemingly freeze up, eyelashes stick together, the insides of your nose freezes up, and taking a breath of air sets your lungs on fire. But the sky is brilliant blue and a frigid sunset takes on a surreal edge.

It is so cold that even the teenage boys are wearing coats and gloves, but still not quite cold enough for a hat. Cannot wreck the hair! The house is making all sorts of odd settling sounds. The windows, which are caked in layers of frost and ice, crack and pop loudly while cold air streams in despite state-of-the art glass.

Today's slow descent into record-breaking negative temps meant lots of indoor activity. All of the Christmas decorations are finally boxed up and put away for another year. The VCR has been dug out of storage for watching old Disney movies. After seeing Saving Mr. Banks, my daughter and I had to dig out Mary Poppins and a few other classics that are only on videotape. The first episode of Season 4 Downton Abby awaits on the DVR!

While watching the Green Bay Packers lose by a field goal to the San Francisco 49ers this afternoon at frozen (but warmer than here) Lambeau Field, my husband and I remembered back to even colder winters. 90° below zero is truly cold! Especially when you're a child and you have to go out into it. That kind of cold is unsettling and never leaves your psyche. This cold snap brings back memories of those cold winters of the early 1980s. I kid you not! —90° wind chill.

If I did not have to get out of bed to drive to work early tomorrow morning, I would certainly opt for a long morning of hibernation.