Friday, November 11, 2011

What's My Morning Tech Routine?

Jill Ball asked Genealogists - What's your Morning Tech Routine? on her Geniaus blog earlier today.  I hesitate to respond lest my readers think that I'm a technosaur...

Here's my morning "tech" routine:

*  Up between 6:30 and 7 a.m., wander into the family room, turn on the TV (low tech?), see if Linda has retrieved the newspaper yet (very low tech?).  If not, stagger out the front door in my bare feet to scrape it off the driveway (I need a robot to do this, I think - that would be high tech!).

*  Eat my banana, read the sports section, then get breakfast (either frozen waffles cooked in the toaster (very low tech!) with butter on them, or Quaker Oats oatmeal with raisins and milk, cooked in the microwave (low tech!).  Eat breakfast while watching the first hour of the Today show on TV (low tech!). 

*  Sometime between 7:30 and 8 a.m., wander into the genealogy cave, turn on the radio for news and commentary, and bring up the desktop computer (real tech!) - I leave it on overnight usually.   I read my 30 to 40 emails (mostly crapola), transfer some to the email folders. 

*  Open IE9, open Google Reader and Blogger (high tech?), and open the next Best Of post.  While I read the 100 to 150 blogs from overnight, I add content to the Best Of post.  That usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

*  I close the Best Of post, and open a New Post and try to remember what day it is and what meme I want to try to contribute to.  I search my files for something appropriate to post, and, thankfully for spell check (tech?), manage to get it put together, usually within 30 minutes.

*  At some point in the morning, I leave the computer and go get cleaned up and dressed, depending on the plan for the day. 

*  My daily goal is to post three blogs during the day, except for the weekend.  I try to post one before 9 a.m., one around noon time, and one in the mid-afternoon, around 3 p.m.  That varies, of course, but that's the goal.  I use Blogger's scheduling capability to get the blog posts up at the times. For each post, I put something on Twitter (high tech) and Google Plus (high tech), and the Twitter post and the blog post get put on Facebook (high tech).   I don't have any fancy Twitter things that I use.

*  I often open one of the genealogy management programs in order to investigate a feature, or to help write a blog post.  I collect screen shots in an OpenOffice presentation, then save the presentation and the individual images in a file folder on my computer.  I rarely do any database work in the morning in the program - that's usually an afternoon or evening task, because I want to get the scheduled writing done in the morning.

*  The land line telephone (low tech) occasionally rings, and I keep my cell phone turned off in my pants pocket (tech!) to save the battery - it's only for emergencies, and no one ever calls me on it (because I keep it off). 

*  If I'm home, sometime during the morning I will go check the Recently Added page on and the Last Updated page in the FamilySearch Historical Collections. 

*  If I have a presentation or submitted article to work on, I will usually work on them in the morning after writing at least two blog posts.

*  I check email once an hour or so, and checked Twitter and Google Plus several times a day, and Facebook only once a day, usually in the late evening.  I get very few comments on my Facebook posts, and some on my Google Plus posts.

*  Sometime between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., I eat lunch - usually an apple or grapes, sometimes a bologna or peanut butter sandwich, sometimes Vegetable Beef soup, or frozen pizza, or salami, a dinner leftover, topped off with a chocolate chip cookie and sometimes a chocolate pudding cup.  If I'm going out to the library for a CVGS society meeting, I will often stop at McDonald's for lunch (6 chicken nuggets, 3 chocolate chip cookies, small chocolate shake).

So - that's my morning tech routine.  It's pretty boring.  I sit too much, and don't walk around enough (walking is pretty boring...) and hardly exercise at all (except my eyes, brain and fingers).. 

There's not much tech there, is there?  See - I'm a technosaur.  That may change sometime soon if I invest in an iPhone or Droid smart phone - I've been wondering how other bloggers deal with them and this meme may inform me.  If I get one, what other activities will I have to give up during the 16 hour time window that I'm awake?

No one asked me, but my judgment (wild ass guess) about the use of technology by genealogists is that:

*  Only about 5% of all genealogists (limited to, say, those who occasionally do research or attend society meetings) have a smart phone and are "tech-savvy" like some of my geneablogger colleagues.  It's easy to think, by reading the genealogy blogs, that everybody is "tech-savvy" and using smart phones and iPads. 

*  Only about 5% of all genealogists even read one or more genealogy blogs, and about 80% have no clue that they even exist. 

*  About 80% of the genealogists have email but don't know how to use a browser effectively, let alone download software, use an RSS Reader, read a website, watch a webinar or radio show, search an online database, or save an image to their computer file folders. 

*  Of the 20% who can at least get online, 80% struggle to search a database because of the complexity of the search algorithms, the confusion of too many details, and their fear of doing something wrong. 

This is the reality I see in my little corner of the genealogy world, and it's frustrating to me, and I try to help out by speaking, teaching and helping. 

What is your morning tech routine?  Are you an "early adopter" for tech things, or are you, like me, a technosaur?


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thanks for sharing, Randy. Much looks familiar. Same on cell phone! Reading and writing, that is what I do; I use a Mac, but otherwise, similar. I suspect your 'percentages' are pretty accurate. Hope to see others respond, as well! ;-)

Eric Jorgensen said...

TV and radio may be "cheap and quick" tech, but unless you have the older tube amps, I wouldn't consider the circuits within "low". And microwaves are indeed tech; I know people who prefer the stove (tech) and refuse microwaves. A hundred years ago, those three (TV, radio, microwave) didn't exist -- radio was starting with wireless telegraphy, but not yet for the commercial voice-audio masses. Ever see a newspaper printing house that didn't use technology? Even pre-printing-press monks using pen-and-ink had a history of technology improvements of their own.

But then, I have a historian's view of the definition of technology (bone tools, stone tools, metal tools, etc.). Microchips don't enter the scene intil the late 1950s at experimental earliest. Why consider everything before desktop computers (even things that include computer circuits these days) as not even "real"? :)

But then, this was typed out on a laptop (miniaturized circuits more powerful than Dad's 12-year-old dektop) over WiFi. :p

Celia Lewis said...

I only have an Android phone - no landline anymore, and keep everything on it, including calendar items such as genealogy webinars. I use Google for email (it brings over other email address mail as well to one place), Google+ for genealogy and other Circles of interest, GoogleReader for all my fave genealogy Blogs. I also post on Facebook (for adult kids, cousins, friends), check Twitter as well. The automatic coffee machine and the microwave are my best buddies. News? If it's really news, someone will tell you - otherwise I check in online to several news websites several times a week. Mildly to moderately techy, I think. Cheers!

JL said...

If 'technosaur' means not leaving the house with a pocketful of electronic gadgets, count me in. I don't even own a toaster. I guess that would make me a 'pre-technosaur'.

Judy Webster said...

Your stats look about right to me. When I do family history talks, especially in country areas, most people in the audience have not used blogs and are scared of them! Consequently it often seems safer to say 'Web page' instead of 'blog', especially when emailing people I don't know well.

J. Paul Hawthorne said...

Well Randy, I'm not retired yet. Maybe in another 20 years, so when I'm at work all day I have to sneek in reading all your blogs just to keep up with the genealogy world. Technology speaking I'm hooked into Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, Myspace and all via an Android phone or through Windows Vista at home. The weekend is another story...24/7 genealogy!

James Tanner said...

What is the opposite of a technosaur? I think I am it. Very insightful thanks for sharing. We all (meaning the tech bloggers) lead pretty (from the outside) dull lives sitting in front of our computers all day.

GeniAus said...

You're no technosaurus, Randy. You just don't let it rule your life.

Agree about the demographics - most of the genies I meet look at me as if I am from Mars when I ask can I photograph them for my blog. We geneabloggers are only a small part of the general genie community.

Anonymous said...

I had some good chuckles reading your blog...and not in a mean way I assure you. There's something to be said for balance in all things, except like you I don't get enough exercise.