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New Things

Old 01-23-18, 09:16 PM
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New Things

I might have called this thread Embracing Change, but we had a thread of that title with quite a different topic than I had hoped an inspiring title like that would lead to.

So here it is ... New Things! Or perhaps Revisited Things ... things you haven't done since you were a teenager or in your twenties.

Leading up to turning the big FIVE-O ... or since you've turned 50 ... what new things or revisited things have you done? What changes have you embraced?


Posts about cycling and other sports are preferred, but it could be other things as well.
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Old 01-23-18, 09:20 PM
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I'll start with this ...

I was 49 (so in my 50th year of life) when I got my first mobile phone. Don't like phones. Didn't have one in all the years before that.

But everyone in my classes had them, and as an IT student, it was becoming increasingly embarrassing to say, "Oh, I don't know how to use that." So I figured I'd better bite the bullet and get one.

I still don't like using it as a phone, but as a micro-computer it's not bad.
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Old 01-23-18, 09:22 PM
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And that leads me to this ...

I graduated with a Graduate Certificate (first step toward a Masters) in December 2016, just months before I turned 50.

Then a couple weeks before my 50th birthday, I started my Graduate Certificate (second step toward a Masters).
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Old 01-23-18, 09:24 PM
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Getting some sports content in here ...

On January 14, 2018 ... I ran my very first 10K event.

It's the first time I've run an event since my teens, and the first time I've ever in my life ran a 10K event!!

50 is as good a time as any to take up a new sport!


Now, my focus needs to be on cycling for the next few months, but I've got my eye on another running event in September.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:00 AM
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Got my first proper smartphone in December, just after I turned 60. Now I can see the appeal of these devilish devices.

Unfortunately it's also tempted me to check Strava while I'm trying to improve on my PRs while I'm still out. I used to wait until I got home to check. Now I can stop, check my time and re-ride the segment if I think I still have some in the tank. I did that a few times this weekend. Fortunately I'm no threat to anyone's KOMs so I won't be guilty of cherry picking.

Technically I already had an iPhone 4s, but never set it up with a data plan. I used my old flip phone for calls. I carried the iPhone for activities apps (all GPS), maps (no turn by turn navigation, just reference if I'm hopelessly lost while riding), photos and videos. Just wasn't sure I could justify the expense for a data plan. Turns out it was more cost effective than my old flip phone.

But in December my 79 y/o mom's emergency surgery necessitated a proper smartphone, so I could handle managing her medical stuff online, along with frequent calls, texts, etc., from the hospital and rehab clinic.

My flip phone was misbehaving and it was hopelessly slow for texting. And it would no longer accept forwarding calls from my home landline.

Unfortunately I couldn't switch the iPhone to a data plan immediately -- it was locked out until I figured out all I needed to do was log into iTunes. AT&T had unlocked all older iPhones under its system in 2015, but users had to log into iTunes for the automatic unlock. I didn't figure this out until I'd purchased an Android phone.

Anyway, now I can see why so many folks are married to their phones. I try not to be. But it does a lot of handy stuff: bus routes and schedules, so I didn't need to fumble with paper schedules and worry about missing the last bus home; discount coupons at the pharmacies and supermarkets. I was already using a shopping list app, now I just combine it with coupons and the discounts appear at the register.

I haven't come close to maxing out my data limits, besides the voice and text. Even with checking Facebook to meet with friends, etc. The little data I have used away from home is to avoid using public Wi-Fi.

I can see why some folks no longer bother with home landlines. Only reason I still have mine is cost effective internet and cloud backup for my photos/videos, in addition to local backup. I was about ready to completely discontinue our landline service but AT&T agreed to cut the price in half so we'll keep it awhile longer.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Unfortunately it's also tempted me to check Strava while I'm trying to improve on my PRs while I'm still out. I used to wait until I got home to check. Now I can stop, check my time and re-ride the segment if I think I still have some in the tank. I did that a few times this weekend. Fortunately I'm no threat to anyone's KOMs so I won't be guilty of cherry picking.
Oh yeah ... Strava!

I finally signed up for Strava in January 2017 ... just a matter of weeks before my 50th birthday!!
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Old 01-24-18, 01:40 AM
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Addictive, ain't it? Or hard to resist, anyway. I opened a Strava account in late 2015 but didn't use it for almost a year because I bought into the erroneous notions about privacy, etc. So I got Cyclemeter, which keeps on the data on the phone itself unless the user chooses to share it.

Turns out I enjoy the social networking aspects of Strava. Facebook and Strava helped introduce me to more local cyclists with compatible interests. That in turn motivated me to ride more often. I'm only competitive against myself and evaluating my rides over time helps me identify where I need to work on conditioning. But most rides are just casual, not with any goal other than to ride.

I ended up uploading my Cyclemeter data to Strava throughout 2017. Eventually it seemed pointless to use apps other than Strava, if the data will end up there anyway. So I didn't bother renewing my Cyclemeter subscription.

And I added the Charity Miles app, which invites sponsors to donate money to charities we choose in exchange for boosting their social media profile. I designate the Alzheimer's Association, on behalf of my mom and others who've struggled with similar issues. Various startups and lesser know products donate based on mileage. Now, to put on a bit of a buzzkill, articles like this tend to pooh-pooh the notion of such indirect donations, including the Amazon Smile program (which I use for almost all Amazon purchases, with Cook Children's hospital as the beneficiary). But I understand how it works, how the data mining works, etc., and I'm okay with it.

I've also helped raise money directly for a local food bank, and give food, clothing and household items directly to appropriate local charities. In some cases it's more cost effective to donate money, but some local charities can use the physical items to respond to immediate needs, such as families displaced by fire, financial disasters, etc. I'm hoping to find apps to make this process more efficient at the local level. Yet another way to make good use of my new smartphone.
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Old 01-24-18, 05:05 AM
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I took boxing lessons for about a 2 years, 48-50. It was a lot of fun and a good upper-body workout. I was pretty wretched at it, because I’m not very coordinated, but it’s something I would do again some day.
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Old 01-24-18, 05:41 AM
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I earned my doctorate just before my 51st birthday.

I finally got a cell phone that had a decent keypad (similar to a Blackberry) for texting when I turned 51 (I've had a dumb phone since the days of the bag phones). My graduate students really appreciated me upgrading, although maybe not when I have to resort to texting them when they ignore my emails). Two years later I moved up to an iPhone and handed down my old phone to my husband. We've both found it convenient to send short text messages to each other. When I'm off doing my long endurance activities (biking and hiking), I'll periodically check in with him.

I started my bucket list item of hiking the entire Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin (~1200 miles) one segment at a time when I was 54. I want to finish all the segments by the time I turn 65. I've done close to 300 miles thus far, but those are the segments closer to Illinois. My drives are getting progressively longer and I now need to plan to be up in Wisconsin for at least 3-4 days to make it worth the travel.

I did my first brevets last summer at age 56. I did 2 @ 200K. I'd previously done invitational century rides with the longest one coming in at 108 miles. Between the brevets and other century rides, I had 6 rides of 100+ miles last summer which is more than I'd ever done in a single year before.

I'm currently chasing a P-12 which is a challenge living in the Chicago suburbs as you never know how much snow and cold we will get. 2018 started off pretty brutal. I hope to get P-4 done this Friday. I'm running out of January.
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Old 01-24-18, 07:40 AM
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At age 52 in '08, I took up bicycling again. Slowly over the last 9-10 yrs I have increased the mileage. There have been setbacks during that period. But so far things get better again after a while.

In '09 I got interested in digital photography as a hobby. Started with my point and shoot. Bought new ones. A couple of years ago I bought a DSLR.

Cellphone? I've had a cellphone since '05 or '06. Got it when my Dad jumped off the roof. Told him no excuses, "Next time call me!" Nothing like having the FD call and the first thing they say is we want you to know you Dad is OK. My work phone is a smart phone. Enjoying it.
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Old 01-24-18, 08:37 AM
  #11  
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At 49 I joined an improvisational theater/comedy troupe. Been doing it 7 years now. It has been a big help in dealing with life's challenges. Long-format improvisational theater is basically team storytelling. You have little control over where the story goes or the details, so you must let go of any specific preconceived plans and just roll with it and contribute to the developing story line(s) in a positive fashion.

It's like setting out on an open-ended group bicycle journey. A general direction is chosen and then off you go.

It's also like football/soccer practice. You never know exactly how a game/match is going to develop, but through the honing of skills and the building of teamwork and "group mind" order and meaning is hewn from chaos.
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Old 01-24-18, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
And I added the Charity Miles app, which invites sponsors to donate money to charities we choose in exchange for boosting their social media profile.
Thanks for mentioning this. I might look into it.

Restarted cycling around 50, got a smartphone, had my first (and hopefully only) heart surgery after 50.

I got fired, rehired, and transferred at least six time (no exaggeration) in the last six months, so .... hurray, change. I know I should be thrilled, but coming to work each day not knowing if I would have a job, or what it would be, or what my schedule might be ... change wasn't so enlivening (or so embraceable.)

I map and track rides with RideWithGPS. I got Strava but I don't want to be forced to be social. I hate the meaninglessness of "kudos." I cannot Not give them if I give any ... who gets the offensive cold shoulder? The guy who is just starting and struggled to do ten miles or the veteran who did a few hundred in a weekend?

So ... I only upload group rides. I don't care about PRs until after ... and then not much. The best ride of my life might not be my fastest.

I leave my phone screen off while riding ... same reason I stopped mounting a computer in view. No way I want LED numbers telling me how I should ride.

I do really like being able to go back through a ride yard at a time and seeing how fast, how steep, how it compares to other days .... but I cannot say it has helped me riding. It just adds a dimension after the ride.

Before age 50 I just used a stopwatch from time to time.

Buried my mom. I had never done that before. Embrace change!

Education? Congrats to you, Machka (not joking.) Not for me though. I spend every day struggling to learn how to do whatever new job and the new tech involved ... and I still can barely use my cell phone. And really, the only growth I think matters is spiritual growth. I have drastically increased my efforts in that realm post 50.

Another big change post 50 was joining cycling forums. I have met a few really inspiring individuals and some comical idiots and some really decent people.
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Old 01-24-18, 12:32 PM
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I began hanging out on BF when I was 56, also the year in which I took up riding recumbent bikes, after riding more-conventional bikes (drop-bar bikes, flat bar bikes, a tandem bike) since I was 23. That was a year or two before I started carrying a cell phone, having taken over my mother-in-law's emergency phone when she lost ability to operate it.
At 60, I finally completed a bachelor degree (in nursing) long after starting college fresh out of high school. (I lasted two years.) One women in our class was a bit older. (I had already been practicing as an RN for 25 years with an associate degree.)
The game plan right now is to leave the workforce at the end of this year, when I will be just shy of 69. If I carry through on this plan, that will be a New Thing.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:21 PM
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Wow, 56 was a terrible year for you.

Props for being a nurse. Everyone who has ever needed one understands how Much they are needed. Good think no one figured out you didn't really know what you were doing for 25 years!
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Old 01-24-18, 01:39 PM
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Don't want to re-live childhood. Old crappy balloon tired single speed with huge wire basket on the front for paper route.


Sailed the seas in my 20s.
Started cycling consistently in my 30s. Still at it.
Bought my first kayak in my 40s. Still at it occasionally.
Took up ski patrolling in my 50s. (think BUSY first aid rooms & ambulance transfer patients)
Became a Forest Service Wilderness Ranger in my 60s. (the backpacking kind of Ranger).
100% retired for good by age 65.


I have found it most satisfying to start a few healthy things you can truly enjoy for life.


Maybe take up grandfathering in my 70s/80s. Only time and my children will tell.

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Old 01-24-18, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I took boxing lessons for about a 2 years, 48-50. It was a lot of fun and a good upper-body workout. I was pretty wretched at it, because I’m not very coordinated, but it’s something I would do again some day.
Hey, that's great! It's one of the best full body workouts you can get and is great for improving flexibility and coordination. I still shadow box to warm up and keep my upper body loose and coordinated.

And don't worry too much about trying to mimic the graceful boxes like Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard or Floyd Mayweather. Some great boxers looked pretty awkward. Check YouTube for the title fights of former middleweight champ Carlos Monzon. He was an all-time great champ, although little known in the U.S. because he was from Argentina and fought only a few times in the U.S. Handsome guy, looked like Charles Bronson's better looking brother. He looked more like he should have been a tennis pro. And he boxed like it too, gangly, pushing punches rather than throwing them, doing almost everything wrong by textbook standards -- and he kept beating the best despite it all.

I was an amateur boxer in my teens and twenties, and fortunate enough to spar and literally rub shoulders with some future pro champs who happened to be my age from my hometown. Back in the 1970s-early 2000s, Fort Worth was home to several pro champs and top contenders. I was only fair to middling as an amateur, nowhere near good enough to turn pro. My main assets were a good left jab, a donkey kick of a right hand and a hard head. I had no defense. I finally stopped in my early 20s after ending up with a severe headache following a bout I won, but felt like I'd lost.

I'd strongly advise against any head contact sparring. As we age our brains shrink about bounce around more inside the skull. It takes less impact to do more damage and result in concussions and worse. I no longer spar because my neck was broken in a car wreck in 2001, so I can't take the chance of any sparring, even zero contact sessions, because unintentional contact is still a risk. One of our local former champs has struggled with depression and other problems as a result of brain injury from boxing, but he seems to be doing well now.

A good sparring partner/coach can help with sharpening defensive reflexes by teaching how to avoid and deflect punches, without any actual head contact.

But light contact body shots while wearing protective gear can be enlightening and exhilarating. You never really know how you'll react to being hit until it actually happens. Once you get accustomed to it you can still think clearly and respond appropriately in all kinds of stressful situations, including bike crashes. Probably the same for football players and any martial arts.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:48 PM
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It's great to hear other folks pursuing their degrees later in life. My mom was nearly 50 when she got her degree in social work. She worked in hospitals, psych units, for county mental health agencies and finally ended her social work career as an inspector overseeing nursing homes. That's one reason I'm so concerned about ensuring she gets good care now that she's 79 and probably en route to long term care in a nursing home.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:51 PM
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@Maelochs -- that does sound stressful. I hate job changes and moving. Reminds me of a favorite comic strip, One Big Happy, with the little girl Ruthie telling her grandfather "I hate change."
Ruthie's grandfather reassures her that change is inevitable and we learn and grow, etc.
And Ruthie continues, oblivious to grandfather's homilies: "Folding money. That's what I like."
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Old 01-24-18, 01:51 PM
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My wife and I used to work together, until the financial crisis upended everything. At 49 we left our jobs, sold the house and moved to the US to the town where I lived as a college student. It was very weird to start a new career (in a related field, but not the same) and a new life in a place that was vaguely familiar, but that had clearly changed a lot in thirty years. Eight years later I have to say it has all worked out pretty well.

I also started cycling again at age 52 after a ten-year hiatus.

Trying to embrace technology with mixed results and mixed feelings.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:59 PM
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I bought an E-Bike....I kid, I kid.

On my 50th birthday I participated in a half Ironman Triathlon. It got me back into riding more than just for fitness, after not training seriously since the early 90s. I'll be 55 this year.
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Old 01-24-18, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Wow, 56 was a terrible year for you. HA!

Props for being a nurse. Everyone who has ever needed one understands how Much they are needed. Good think no one figured out you didn't really know what you were doing for 25 years!
Some folks are still wondering.
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Old 01-24-18, 03:13 PM
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Both my father and brother passed away last summer after long illnesses (Parkinson's and Lymphoma respectively). That in itself is something to deal with, but I also now find myself my mom's main point of reference after being the irresponsible little brother most of my life. Apparently I'm also the patriarch of the family now, a role I guess I'll have to embrace, but it sure feels odd.

On a more positive note, I'm about to start a yoga course and would like to do some touring on the bike.
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Old 01-24-18, 03:57 PM
  #23  
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I'm a techno-phobe. (Hence the Retro Grouch screen name.). I use a flip phone for personal use because it's simple and easy to use. Typing this right now approaches the limit of my computer prowess. I used to be able to post photos on BF but I got a new computer so I don't know how anymore. Maybe I can get my daughter to come over some time to teach me the process again. I have sometimes thought that if constant confusion over various electronic devices is going to define my future, I'm not sure that I want to go there. I've visited with a psychologist on the topic and I'm generally OK today, but for now I'm sticking with the flip phone.

I'm a visual learner. Every time that I get an idea, it comes to me as a picture in my mind. Consequently I'm pretty good with things that have chains and sprockets but not so much with computers and electronics. I tend to be relatively quiet in social situations because I have to translate words to pictures in my mind and back again before I speak. We won't even talk about foreign languages. Inability to get passing grades in Spanish all but torpedoed my college degree. I visualize electronics as a bunch of wires emerging from a rock only what the wires do varies from time-to-time. That's not good for a visual learner.

My goal for this year is to switch to a smart phone. I'd like to have the ability to pull up navigation apps, or look up stuff on the internet, and to manage my appointments. I'm not so happy about having anxiety attacks every time that my phone rings.

Wish me luck.
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Old 01-24-18, 05:07 PM
  #24  
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Salsa dancing lessons.
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Old 01-24-18, 08:29 PM
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canklecat
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
My goal for this year is to switch to a smart phone. I'd like to have the ability to pull up navigation apps, or look up stuff on the internet, and to manage my appointments. I'm not so happy about having anxiety attacks every time that my phone rings.

Wish me luck.
Once you try a smartphone you'll wonder why you waited so long. Rather than making me dependent, the smartphone has enhanced self sufficiency.

I'm no technophobe. I've enjoyed electronic doodads since childhood, although terrible soldering thwarted most of my project building. Got my first computer in the early 1980s, including online access from college and work.

But I hardly ever talk on the phone at home and couldn't see much use for a mobile phone other than for emergencies. I hated texting because it's so awkward on a handheld keyboard. Only thing I needed to do on the cell phone, besides make calls, was to look up phone numbers. But a few years ago my old 2010-2012 era flip and keyboard phones were obsolete for web access -- the old school browser was deactivated. I was reduced to begging for phone books in convenience stores and restaurants. Eventually, nobody even had phone books anymore. I actually had to call friends a few times to ask them to look up a number for me.

I don't walk around with my nose buried in my phone, and put it away when I'm with friends. But it's reassuring to have access to immediate communication. Besides my mom's recent surgery on long term convalescence, an old family friend of hers from school became ill at about the same time. It's handy to be able to exchange brief messages and updates without waiting hours until I'm back home to check the computer.
  • I can look up my own dang phone numbers now.
  • Remotely set call forwarding from home to the mobile phone when I forget to do so before leaving the apt.
  • Look up a bike repair tutorial on the road for a new-to-me problem.
  • Check bus routes and schedules (I don't have a car).
  • Summon Uber or Lyft if my bike breaks down beyond my ability for road repairs (Yellow Cab doesn't service our area, another reason for the success of Uber and Lyft).
  • Get turn by turn voice navigation -- haven't needed it yet, but I've tried it and it works pretty well.
  • Check for discounts, coupons and unadvertised specials in almost any store. No need to clip and carry coupons. I saved another $5 off a $50 total beyond the advertised and shelf prices in the supermarket last night just using the app.
  • Feed the cats and scoop the litter box. Okay, not yet. But soon, my precious fur monsters. Soooooon.

And, for better or worse, most folks even my age and older now prefer texts to voice or email. I think it's a commitment issue. They're afraid a voice call will drag out for minutes when they only need a sentence or two to communicate. (One of my older friends is a master of regular but very succinct phone calls: "Yokay? Needinnything? Innythingnew? OKtok2yal8rbye." Her conversations have always been like texting.) And emails tend to invite lengthy exchanges, which can be difficult to read on smaller smartphones.

No point fighting the trend. We'll end up like ol' great-great-grandpappy, cussing that consarned Samuel Morse and Alexander Graham Bell for their devilish inventions that caused more than one interruption a week.

Oh, and with the Swype and similar apps that let you sweep across the virtual keys rather than tap-tap-tap, texting is a breeze. Unfortunately it means my emails from the phone are just as wordy as my posts here.

Last edited by canklecat; 01-24-18 at 10:17 PM.
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