My Love/Hate Relationship With Technology

So, I am learning to use my new Tobii eye gaze communication device. I was warned about the learning curve and they were right. I am dictating this post (s l o w l y) in Dragon because I am not yet comfortable with Tobii.

I was so excited when we were finally able to get the device on our Wi-Fi network. Even more excited when we linked up my Facebook and email accounts to it. But…

Back when I was using my iPad I discovered that I preferred accessing Facebook through the web browser rather the Facebook app. It seemed like using the app limited access to some of the posts, features, and tools I was used to on the Facebook site itself. On the Tobii, I access Facebook via an icon on the “set page” which is used for most of the communication functions. Unless I am mistaken, there does not seem to be a way for me to see what my friends are posting in the way of photos. So far I have been unable to read comments on posts. However, it is easy for me to post text. As long as I don’t mind being unable to read any of my friends’ comments on what I say.

Naturally, I realized that there would be limitations. And I am grateful that I will have a relatively easy way to communicate with people who are in the same room with me once I am unable to speak at all. However, those of us who have been using technology to stay in touch with friends and family have higher expectations, I guess. P1070376 (1024x766)Clearly the technology is amazing. But I can see there is room for improvement. Either that or I simply need more time to learn the tricks needed to make the technology work for me.

At this point, I cannot figure out how to blog using Tobii. Anyone out there doing so now? Please enlighten me!

The email function is a mystery. On my laptop I have saved quite a few messages in folders, but try to keep my inbox cleared out regularly. When we linked my Gmail account to the Tobii it tried to download all of the saved messages. Apparently it ran out of room. The most recent messages it showed were from December 2013! Again, from what I can see, I will not be able to open attachments or see pictures. Unsure if I am mistaken about this.

Our Tobii rep kindly offered to stop by later this week to help. And I am so grateful. Meantime, I will continue to practice and try to be patient!

I have to remember that I have had frustrations with every new electronic device I have ever used. I refuse to give up! I WILL master this thing.

And speaking of technology, a friend suggested I might enjoy audiobooks since I can no longer turn pages. Excellent idea! Alan picked up a couple at the library the other day. Yesterday he set me up with Disc 1 of one of the books. Headphones on, eyes closed, I was enjoying this thoroughly. And then I woke up. I have no idea where I fell asleep in the story. Good grief.

So my relationship with technology seesaws between love and hate. I imagine this is common. Since the first days of the industrial revolution, I’m sure people have both blessed and cursed the devices created to make life easier.

I am extremely grateful for all of the devices that help us cope with ALS. My frustrations will sort themselves out, I’m sure. Patience. I need patience. NOW!

Want to help? The next time you have issues with an electronic device feel free to apply a little “percussive maintenance” for me, okay? Give it a swift kick or bonk it on the top or side. Say, “That’s for Patty!” Thank you.

Happy Monday!

Love, Patty

9 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship With Technology

  1. Hope you get this via your new ‘devices’. Will kick and talk authoritatively to all my devices, immediately, for my little sister. We sure had a great get together. I use movies and books to put me to sleep. So when you feel sleepy just stop listening, if you can react in time. Then when you wake up, start again. I am glad you are enjoying the books, tho. You will get the ability with the ‘eye tech’, am sure. We are very stubborn when it comes to what we really need. It is one of those ‘defects of character’ that helps us the most in unexpected circumstances. I am reading Sir Winston Churchill’s “The Great Republic” A History of America. I got the large print from the Ramona Library and just renewed it, for the second time. It is a large volume. His writing is not as readable as Doris Kearns Goodwin on her history of Lincoln. That one reads like poetry. He has a ‘old English’ style of statement sometimes and it takes a rereading. Now my need to save gasoline and not run into Ramona to renew, took sometime for me to just get the process correctly accomplished. Had to get a new ‘pin’, of course. Anyway, I was stubborn enough to learn. More later. Hoping Meridith gets to extend her much needed recovery. She is still very sore. Lov u both very much. So good to see Doug, too. Vivi


  2. I’ll try to remember to “kick it for Patty” when I get frustrated with some things around here. I find myself getting frustrated easily these days. But I am sure you will enjoy the
    new device before long. I’m glad for every help you can get and pray for you and Alan
    as you get it. Praying for Meredith’s healing as well. Love and prayers.


  3. You need a computer geek to help you. My brother loved computers and new alot about them. He taught me alot of what I know and for that I am grateful. Do you have a grandchild or niece/nephew who could help. A wireless mouse could be used by that person. I have no doubt that with your determination you will have it mastered in no time. I hope Your daughter is recovering nicely and will continue to keep you all in my prayers.


  4. Patty, we had pretty good luck working with the tobii phone support folks. That worked best when I hooked up the keyboard and mouse and they talked us thru the steps. We did not use Facebook, but we had all email and could open photos and attachments.


  5. Hi there! I find your blog very interesting as I am a volunteer with a local organization and I am partnered with a person who has ALS. I help her write emails and fill out paperwork that she has and do things that she needs done two nights a week. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and it offers me some keen insight into what it is like to have ALS. I wanted to chime in and say that your post here is really on the mark for me. My buddy just got a Tobii eye machine and I am helping her get it set up (I’m kind of a tech geek). It sounds like you have the Communicator software like she does – if you go into the advanced settings for the email configuration, you can check/uncheck a box that gives you “authority” to open attachments. I believe this is by default that it doesn’t allow you to download attachments but you can change that so that you can tell it to open. As far as the Facebook plug in, my buddy has the same frustration. I have not quite figured out the quirks with the Facebook plugin and on occasion it gives error messages, I don’t know if you are seeing that as well? We tend to get an “OAuthException 200” error. For as much as it isn’t perfect software, she did write me an email today and that was awesome. 🙂 I hope the Tobii rep can help you out with some things and if I can help you too, let me know. Have a great day!


    • Wow! Thank you! We will check on that setting for the attachments. I sure appreciate you sharing this. And I appreciate what you do for your ALS friend.


  6. Patty, sorry that I’m so slow to reply, playing catch up on reading posts. I am typing this with my Tobii. Why aren’t you going around the Tobii features (very limited) and using it like a regular computer (i.e., Windows Explorer or Firefox…)? That’s what I do. Also, if you like to read books, you can download the Kindle for PC App and read books on your computer.
    I would be happy to help you, please email me.


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