Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Useful Technology

Yesterday was a day I set aside to do, what I knew was to be, a certain difficult battle with technology. My mission was to suck up the fortitude to compile photos and videos of the various horses I want to sell and get the information ready to get to possible buyers. It used to be such a simple thing to take your camera out, shoot some stuff, plug it into the vhs tape player to make a copy, and then mail it off to prospects. The problem with technology is that every couple of years when I need to do something like this, the equipment has changed, improved, gotten infinitely more complicated, and what I did know then, I have now forgotten.

Now the process involves the camera, of course, now digital, but also a computer, with its always evolving software updates to be able to edit the material. Once the editing fun and games is muddled thru, then comes burning it to a dvd, or worse, trying to upload it to either emails or web pages, none of which ever seem to be compatible with the data, requiring a new upgrade of software. The cycle of this perpetual, tormenting learning curve has me wishing for a simplification of this nightmare, like where people actually come a see a horse in person. I ask too much, I know. I like horse and buggy technology, and the dark ages were comparatively much easier.

Anyway, as I typed away at my computer on the dining table and waited for incredibly slow sites to upload stuff, I was creatively cussing this annoying process when a tiny movement across the room caught my eye. The various dogs who were lying around the room took no notice, each in resting mode and softly snoring. Then another flash of movement revealed the shape of a tiny bird, flitting from one window to the next. It was a wren who had come in the open screened door to the porch, and on into the living room. It was very confused.

Our living room area and the foyer have an open two storied ceiling, and these areas are separated by the wooden beamed stairs which rise to an overlooking balcony. There are large windows over the doors to the back porch and over the front door. So this tiny trapped wren was flying back and forth from these high windows, hoping the light from them was an exit. I climbed the stairs to see if I could assist its efforts.

The wren nearly flew into me as I intersected its path and then it changed course and flew into the kids’ bedrooms, first one and then the other as I followed it around trying to herd it back towards the living room area again. I closed all the possible doors to narrow the options of its egress, and had the porch door open in hopes it would figure it out soon. Then I saw that another wren had joined in the mix, having also ventured inside and now it too was trapped by these walls and panes of glass. These two little birds now had the Yorkie's undivided attention.

We have two different types of wrens in our area, the Carolina and the House, and I couldn’t tell which these were. Just as I was going to look it up in a field guide, I heard one of them do their call, and a thought occurred to me of how to solve my puzzle of their identity using a bit of technology.

My cell phone is a hand me down iphone from my uber-techno husband and this thing is grossly more gadget than I ever need to place a call, but does do a good job as a portable camera. It happens, tho, to have an ap on it for bird watching, complete with all the pictures and info one might need to identify a bird. It also has their voices. So I played the Carolina first, not it, and then the House call. It was a perfect match, so much so that the birds flying around my house answered, and then flew downstairs. One landed on the piano a few feet from me, the other a bit further away. They were so cute. Troglodytes aedons, the cell phone identified them as.

I kept playing the cell phone House wren call and walked with it to the open porch door. Obedient little wrens they were. They followed me, found their way out to the now open screen door and to the freedom of the trees beyond singing as they flew away.

These weren’t the first wrens to venture inside, or to nest on the back porch here, but it did make me think of why they are called House wrens, with this habitual characteristic of the species. These were the absolute first, tho, that I have helped get out by using a cell phone/gadget and its technology.

In the course of the day I didn’t accomplish much of what I had wanted to get done with the video/horse stuff, but technology, and me, were back on better terms for this, my attitude towards it improved. I had to concede; it has its usefulness, even if only to help a little bird or two to fly back home. Thank you to Mr. Jobs and all the other nerds who made it possible.

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