News and Opinion from Anne Barone to Keep You Chic & Slim


Anne Barone doing cat check before driving car. Kiri, the cat under car.

18 February 2016

Confronting New Technology — and wily cats

My son warned me: “Mom, these days all new cars come with standard features you will think unnecessary.”

Well, okay, true. But making a 23-year jump in automobile technology can require effort to make new features part of driving habit. Yet much of the new technology on my new car is wonderful for safety, I am delighted to find.

I think that dashboard screen that shows me what is behind the car when backing is a great idea. But if the Honda engineers knew my cat Kiri, they would have positioned a camera under the car too. And maybe a little speaker that made a dog barking sound.

A favorite Kiri game is to get under the car when I am getting ready to drive away. She knows I won’t start the car until she is safely distant from the wheels. So she crouches under the middle of the car so I will have to get the broom and nudge her out. Great fun — for Kiri. But not for me when I am running late. Or not in the mood for games. In the photo above I am trying to call her out. Wasted effort, but I always try.

As for learning how the new technology works, my method is to follow the advice of a local locksmith. Whenever he hands you a copy of a key he has made for you, he says: “Try it before you need it.” He has said this so many years that it comes out: “Tryitbeforeyouneedit.” Still, good advice.

I have always been a great reader of user guides. And now a watcher of YouTube and other instructional videos. They are great sources for guiding you in efficient trying it before you need it.

Whenever I acquire item with unfamiliar technology, I make a list of the things that I most likely need to know how to do — in the order of priority. Then I set aside some time to learn how to do those things. And never, never more than one task a learning session. Also I define a small reward I will give myself when I learn the new task.

For complicated procedures of many steps, I sometimes write out simplified instructions that make sense to me in my own vocabulary. Sometimes I even put them on a sticky note somewhere I can see it. By the time the sticky on the note wears out, I have usually learned the procedure.

Confronting new technology can be frustrating. But if you take my locksmith’s advice and “try it before you need it,” the learning can be less frustrating. And you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you have mastered the task.

image: Anne checking for cats under car. Kiri, her calico, under car.

be chic, stay slimAnne Barone