Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Last Friday I spent ten hours building websites and troubleshooting tech problems at my day job, and then I trudged home to do some online shopping.  Through the weekend I checked in with all my friends and family on Facebook, followed the Sunday football games on my fantasy league sites, and spent the wee hours of the next day chasing down Cyber Monday deals before heading off to work.

Then today while I was Googling concepts for a client who has an amazing idea for a new app, I realized something kind of frightening – I’m totally fed up with computers.

Which is kind of a problem  because I’m at the keyboard,  staring at a screen pretty much nonstop during my day.  If I really can’t stand computers, I’ll be out of work and on the street before the week is out.

At first I thought I should go to the HR department and talk to someone about it, but then I realized I didn’t have to – I could just go online to find a whole bunch of great resources to deal with computer fatigue.

And guess what?  The internet is also full of advice for what to do when you’ve had it with the internet.   Most of the sites tell you to log off and go outside and do something physical, though there are also a bunch that suggest you to clean the house or take a nap.

But I didn’t do any of that – because the more websites I found about people hating computers and being online, the better I felt!

I don’t know if that means I’m cured, or just more pathetic than ever.  Do you?


I was about to answer DigiFried when I realized it was an unseasonably mild day in early December, and if I took an afternoon walk I could watch some snow melt in the local park.

What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

66 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. Morning all. This is exactly why you hear more from me during the day and not as much at night and on weekends. Like DigiFried, I sit in a cube in front of a screen all day long so I disconnect a little when I’m not a work.

    And I should be ashamed to admit that I completely understand how DigiFried feels better seeing other folks woes. This is exactly why I read the advice columns. I figure if those folks can keep on keepin’ on, then I don’t have that much to complain about!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Is it sad that some days I like how meetings break up my day because it means I can interact with people instead of a machine?…(and yes, good walk will also do to break up the glowing screen-ness of my day). This is also why I prefer to read paper-based books instead of e-books. One less glowing screen to look at.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I actually prefer webinars! Then I can sit in my cube and when things go off track and folks wander off topic, I can get something else done.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear you on the idea of meetings breaking up the day. It would be nice if instead of meetings there could maybe be little art/fitness/nature breaks to serve the same purpose, but the American mindset just wouldn’t accept that.

      I come from a family that asdumes if you aren’t “busy”, you are available to do something.

      This is teaching me to redefine “busy”, but it’s not easy.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I live in a corporate culture that also assume if you’re not in a meeting then you’re “free”. I often block time on my online calendar just so folks leave me alone for a bit!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. My biggest problem is convincing myself that time to do stuff for “just us” is as valid a commitment ss anything else. Lifetime of yraining otherwise.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Digifried
    I’m sorry to inform you but you are doomed. There is nothing you can do to escape the Digital Force. Going outside will help but with the omnipresent smarty pants phones you must implement safety precautions. Download an app that has hair or lack thereof recognition. Choose the proximity setting of two meters. This will allow enough time for you to respond appropriately to the , warning beeper. Wearing a green , or yellow safety vest is optional

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Our addiction to computers may become the Great Paradox of the 21st Century: We go online seeking advice how to spend less time online. Sheesh.

    When terrorists from _______ (Fill in the blank. Seems like terrorists come in all shapes, sizes, and colors these days) figure out how to take out the electrical grid on a mass scale, I don’t even want to think of the sort of chaos that will erupt.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I was young at a time when progressives reflexively hated computers: “I am a human being. Do not bend, fold or mutilate!” I’ve spent more than half a century learning how silly that stance was. Any technology has potential for good or ill. What matters is how intelligently we use technology to advance our most cherished values. When our technological toys make us miserable, the fault is not theirs but ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t necessarily think the hatred was reflexive. A lot of it was because the early computers were pretty awful. Often the way they were implemented was inflexible and stupid. It took a long time for the technology to evolve to the point where people would actually want to own and use computers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Linda, I like your comment because you differentiate between the computer and its implementation. I was involved with the prodigious project of converting the U of MN course records to computers. Academics kept bleating that “the computer is awful because it forces my choices!” It wasn’t “the computer” that restrained flexibility but stupid programming. So I think you and I exactly agree. It took time to learn to use computers to increase predictability, efficiency, clarity and other desirable things.


        1. You are more right than wrong, PJ. Linda wrote a sentence I agreed with, but her take on the issue is one I can’t share. You say nobody could like the old MS/DOS computers Linda. But I LOVED my first computer, an 8-bit Osborne. With all of its frustrations and shortcomings, it was far, far better for my purposes than anything previously available. I wrote my first book on a typewriter. All the books I’ve written since then have been done on computers with word processing software, and that is vastly superior.


  6. I totally agree. I have felt this way A LOT. To the point where I started painting again. Getting into the goopy, messy and unpredictable, one of a kind world of painting. We are out of balance as a society. It is literally making us sick in so many ways.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hmm, do we have disagreement? I love what you charmingly describe as the “goopy, messy and unpredictable.” Being out of balance is as unhealthy as it is unpleasant. Has the discovery and use of computers reduced art in our lives? I wouldn’t say it has in mine. People go on making art. Sometimes they use computers to help them express their artistic drive or sometimes they use 14th century technologies.

      I’d love to see your paintings.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not at all. Computers have equalized the art world in many ways as has excel for math idiots like myself. I actually love creating art on computers as I did in my book, the only way you get paid for the time it takes to do art is digitally creating it in most cases. I may post some paintings one day. Computers have increased everything in our lives exponentially. But in that, it has also made many things less special. That said, I do love technology and it fascinates me, even with its dark side.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Speaking of art and computers. In the lighting world, when I first started, the board operators were ‘artists’ because they had to actually, physically ‘fade’ the lights (or the cue). There was real art making that a 2 second fade or a 5.5 second cue and ‘feeling’ it as I always told them. (Or that 20 minute sunset cue.)
        Some people were better than others and sometimes MY art (the lighting design) suffered because they couldn’t do it the way I wanted it done.
        So with the advent of computerized light boards, now the art is the design and programming and the operator is simply pressing ‘Go’ at the appropriate time. (which can also be a trick sometimes! Haha– I always say ‘No, a trained monkey cannot do this’. And don’t double click.)
        So if I program it the way I want it, playback from night to night is reliable and consistent.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I admit that I spend too much time at my computer. As a retired person there is no job related computer work in my life. Basically, everything I do on my computer is done by choice. Sometimes I do make the choice to do some of my writing on paper instead of using a word processor. However, the final draft of anything I write is almost always done on my word processor due the many ways it can help me with my writing.

    There are times when I prefer using my phone over using email. Unfortunately, very often when I try to contact people by phone they will not answer and all I get is a computerized answering service. Computers and computerized answering machines have given some people the opportunity to completely ignore anyone they wish to ignore. Once when I couldn’t get a person by phone or computer I went to see them in person. I found out that a person who ignores your phone calls and email messages my not be too happy if you try to contact them person.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Absolutely. Get out and do something.
    ‘Doing something’ has saved me from myself numerous times when I was wallowing in self pity. But then I had to get up and go do something and I got over it.
    When I first sold the cows and started doing full time theater, I thought it was great, I could stay in the theater for 16 hours / day!
    Didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t healthy. Even lunch sitting on the loading dock was better than being inside all day.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. back when smart phones were introduced i got a black berry and went off to a trade show where one of my colleagues shook his head and said “oh i see you got a cracckberry”. i returned the phone and realized how much it controlled your life. my ids cant live without a phone in their hand. i love how it makes everything on the planet accessible. i hate that i dont know my moms phone number and my kids dont think any more they look it up and satisfied with an answer rather than a discovery. i agree with with that the blocking of phone wifi and connectivity would shut the world down today but i think the greater danger is in the slow degradation of the brain to the point that it no longer functions as a tool and becomes a receptacle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should shut up since I’m disagreeing with everybody. But I can’t. You say you gave up the phone because it controlled your life. But you gave it up, didn’t you? So it didn’t control you very well. You made a choice–a good choice, it seems–to live without the presumed benefits of a modern cell phone. Good for you. But cell phones are not inherently evil. People just use them inappropriately, and that (as I seem to think although nobody else does!) is the real issue. My daughter gave me a cell phone. I soon put it in a drawer because the benefits didn’t justify my carrying the thing. Meanwhile I have seen what her cell phone does for my daughter, and I think it’s great.

      This is fun, actually. Baboons agree SO much of the time. I’m the weird outlier on two issues it seems. I don’t hate modern technology and I don’t hate politicians like most of you do. That’s okay. We agree on important stuff like the State Fair and puppies and good music!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Steve – hate to break your “Steve-against-the-world” bubble, but I actually agree with you… like everything it’s what we do with it/about it that counts.

        And after having it less than a week I’ve decided that the tablet I got w/ my new phone subscription will be going to Young Adult under the tree this year – just doesn’t do anything that some other device doesn’t already do!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I like a lot of modern technology. I have an old PC (Windows 7) laptop, a tablet which I use mainly as an e-reader and I love getting library books that way, a fairly new Macbook, a MP3 player, and a smartphone (but only get data with wifi for my $10 a month plan). I love texting because it’s easy to have short conversations, mainly with my kids. I don’t want to go back to older technology; I remember many times being so frustrated with the old PCs when it seemed that you needed a computer science degree in order to do certain things. They’ve made things a lot easier for regular people now so the frustrations are fewer and further between than they used to be.

        One thing I do not want to go back to is film cameras. My mind is blown by all the different stuff you can do with digital cameras, both while shooting and post-shooting with software such as Lightroom.

        But I am healthier and happier when I spend regular time outdoors away from all those high tech tools. And while it’s nice to keep in touch with people via these techie things, it shouldn’t totally replace time spent together with friends. “Face time” via a screen is not the same as face time in person.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. i think the reality here is that if anything else on the planet got inside everyones brain the electronic media has it would be banished. it is unbelievable how you can sit in a room full of people and have each of them looking at their device to fiddle with this or that and to do anything other than to relate to the world in front of them. the world knows texting in the car is not a good idea and the technology is there to stop the phone form being able to text if you are traveling over 30 mph or what ever parameters you want but they dont because that would eliminate their entire market. you couldn’t access aamps. ok make an exception for maps not for facebook or instagram who want to push advertising at tyou as you drive by abc pizza to sell their goods. baseball, politics, target, oil changes. all reaching out all day long.
    the access to knowledge upon demand is wonderful the addiction that is here and getting worse is not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it would be fair to say to none of us would be on here if we hated modern technology, and most people – including the baboons still in the workforce – wouldn’t be able to do their work without it. Relational databases, spreadsheets, and other software give us instant access to, and ability to manipulate, so much information that it makes your head swim. And who can deny that word processing software beats the hell out of typing on a typewriter?

      That said, I do think tim has a valid point when he questions what the long-term effects are going to be on brains that no longer are used to solve problems. Will we find other ways of utilizing this amazing organ, or will it shrivel up and be come a vestige that we no longer need, and our lives become controlled entirely by computers?

      We already know that some skills that used to be common, like giving change, are now almost lost. If the cash register doesn’t tell the cashier what the correct amount of change is to, say, a $20.00 bill if the item purchased cost $12.65, we all know what would happen. And, heaven forbid the customer should dig out an additional $.15 after the cashier has already rung up the sale.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. For 15 years, I had a flip top cell phone and kept my land line “just in case” to make me feel secure. For just as many years, I could never figure out what good a land line did me. When I turned 70 two years ago, my kids wanted to buy me an iPhone and I turned them down because I’m downright phobic about learning any new technology. I even gave my brother the Kindle they’d given me for Christmas a couple of years earlier.

    A few months ago, on my own schedule, I caved into buying the damn iPhone and now can’t live without it! The day I got it, I couldn’t hear any sound, so I made another trip to Verizon to complain. It turned out that the way I was holding it, my palm covered the speaker! I’ve had a few basic glitches with it early on, but now carry it around like a delicate egg. I made a date for the land line to be dropped because I knew if I didn’t, learning how to use the iPhone would be pushed off into the future.

    There are two extremely wonderful features at my fingertips with this phone. One is that I don’t any longer have to hold a phone to my ear because having on speaker phone means that I can plop it on my lap, cook a meal, or do things like lay in the sun while conversing.

    The other great feature is texting. My kids urged me to get an iPhone for years because they didn’t have the time to email back and forth, much less the time to actually call me. Now we can text brief messages back and forth several times a day without intruding on one another’s time! It’s opened up an effective and immediate way to stay in touch with them.

    I do miss the occasional, long phone dialogues, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. uh huh
      (thats wahat i say to people in long dialogs where they want to talk about something and i have other stuff to do)
      glad you figured out how to plug the technology in cb. have fun with it.


  12. I do notice that if I’m on my (desktop) computer for than more than an hour, I start to get TB (remember “tired butt?), and if it’s two hours my eyes start to cross. I HAVE to get up and stretch, and then realize my slightly arthritic left hip kicks in… it’s not pretty. So I’ve enjoyed the retired lifestyle where I can get online and do a little email or Trail Baboon a few times a day, instead of all at once.

    Mostly I’m fine with the technology I have when it’s working and not lost. But I leave you now to call TracPhone to hopefully reinstate the flip cell phone I lost in September. I have an former (same model) lost-and-then-found one, for which they told me to buy a new Sim card. I’ll be on the phone for about an hour, trying to understand someone from Bangladesh as they read from a script to tell me how to transfer my cell phone number from the lost one to this replacement one. THIS is the part I don’t like about technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OT: since it is so quiet in here today, I’ll slip in a Public Service Announcement. Has anybody had honey crystallize in its dispenser? Has anyone (other than I) thought that could be solved by zapping the honey in a microwave? Since I was dumb enough to try this, the rest of you can benefit from my mistake. Think of two words: honey bomb.


    1. I’ve had that problem with honey. Solved it by zapping a bowl of water in the microwave, and inserting the honey bottle in the hot water after I took it out. Worked like a charm. I’m guessing that the plastic bottle my honey comes in would melt if put in the microwave.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My strategy with honey is to buy it in glass jars, or if it comes in plastic, transfer it to a glass jar. It can then be heated in water in a small saucepan on the stovetop to de-crystallize.

      Honey always looks very pretty in a glass canning jar.

      Liked by 5 people

  14. Another OT. A friend posted this on Facebook…I’m not sure if it’s her original haiku or passed along from someone else:

    Haikus are easy.
    But sometimes they don’t make sense.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Don’t forget about book club tomorrow…
    Sunday, December 6
    1 p.m.
    Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
    Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salmon Rushdie


    1. I loved Roz Chast’s book. Or maybe I should put it another way, as I’m not sure a book about death is fun. I did enjoy it and felt I’d learned a lot from it. I can’t remember another book that did so well at capturing how we can love people while finding them enormously frustrating.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Here’s what’s on today – some of our relative:

    OK, as long as this is still the topic, I have some questions:
    If I did want to get, say, a tablet or an iPad, I would also buy a router. Would I then need to pay an extra monthly fee beyond what I already pay for internet access?

    And what is this Lightroom of which you speak, ljb? (Just found these comments from yesterday.) Where does one learn photoshop – would I need to take a Community Ed course or something?


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