How Technology Changed My Life

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I grew up in a generation on the verge of the hi-tech genesis. I know I am aging myself but before the mid 1980s I had never used a computer. My high school typing class--yes, they used to offer this as a high school course--used the manual, old-fashioned typewriters with an ink ribbon. And calculators were very expensive and huge. No pocket calculators in my school and that was if we were even permitted to use them. And to think that we would ever give up LPs for digital tunes is still mind boggling. Let's not even begin to talk about cell phones--those were gadgets that James Bond, Maxwell Smart, and Dick Tracy used, not the average person on the street.

The Sony Walkman was one of one the coolest gadgets one could own back in the day. It was a cassette player that one could snap on his/her waistband and listen to the music with headphones until it was time to flip the cassette over-- unless you had the cooler version that reversed the tape without flipping. Although it was quite big, it was considered the iPod for my generation.

A few weeks ago I was bestowed with one of the new gadgets of the decade--the iPod Touch. While this is not a testimony for Apple, I am thrilled to say I wonder why I never considered looking into this cool gadget before now. It allows me the opportunity to track my food, fitness, and goals on my SparkPeople account when I have access to WiFi, 3G or the Edge Network--all from a small, thin device that fits quite nicely in my purse. It is so easy to use, even for this technology-challenged old lady. I love the fact that I do not have to be tethered to a computer to stay connected to SparkPeople. The application for SparkPeople is free and is one of the best I have seen as I have explored many other apps for the iTouch. And if you don't own an iTouch or iPhone, there is also a Mobile Phone version of SparkPeople. What I love most is I no longer have to try to remember what I ate or write it down on a piece of paper only to lose it. This option totally rids me of a paper trail.

So while I may be a little behind in the world of technology, I am beginning to appreciate all the great minds who invented these new devices. To know that I never have to be stranded without a phone or have access to cash via the ATM 24/7, still leaves me in awe. I may be slow to come around, but as the old saying goes, "You can teach an old dog new tricks."

Do you own a iPhone or iTouch? Do you regularly use the SparkPeople application to track your progress? If you don't own one, would this be something you may consider in the future?

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using new things always help even for few days still good Report
I'm a software engineer, and I do NOT have a Netbook or Web-enabled phone. I'd love to, but the cost of a data plan from my wireless carrier (Verizon) is prohibitive. Besides I live my life in front of a computer so that kind of access isn't as critical for me. Report
I don't have an iphone, but I have a smart phone where I can get access to sparkpeople mobile. It's the best thing to have!

I travel a lot for fun and those weekend tend to be the most dangerous for me, in regards to caloric intake. It's amazing how you can eat a 800 pancake and justify it on vacation. Now, I login to mobile sparkpeople and I can add my foods before I eat them. Preplanning has saved my butt many of times! Report
I ahve a touch, but since you have to be connected to wi fi, it doesn't do a whole lot for me as far as food tracking goes. It is great for carrying around pictures, music, games, but I have not mastered the art of entering food there. I still feel compelled to enter it on sparkpeople thru a computer.
When my dad bought our first VCR, blank tapes were $19 apiece!
We had an Atari, weren't we the cool ones?
I am still iPod-less. All I want from my cell phone is to make phone calls. But I may get an itty-bitty netbook one day.
Facebook is on my to-do list. Report
I have an iPhone and love the Sparkpeople application. Of course it doesn't have all the features of the website but it works in a pinch and each update is getting better. Report
I have the SP app on the iPhone. Use it every day. My two criticisms are echoed by a previous poster (ability to track strength exercises & search user-shared recipes). Other than that, it is fantastic! Report
I have an iPhone but I find it a pain to use the Spark app. I just usually wait till I get home and get on the computer. Report
I have an iTouch, but for some reason after the newness wore off I stopped using the Spark feature. I can't access my favorites and it just didn't seem like the best way to track for me. I could still use it for water I suppose. Maybe I should pull it out and see if any changes have been made to the app... Report
I love my iPhone, and can't believe how I managed before. The many apps are so awesome, even for me who I admit is a bit technologically challened. Both my daughter(14), and my husband had theirs first. My daughter who's a wiz at this kind of stuff was very helpful, and my dh who prides himself on all the latest technology. I had typing in my high school too. My daughter has keyboarding. It's amazing how far we've come. And I have to admit I love it. For me keeping track of my food keeps me honest. And I love reading emails anytime of day, and anywhere. The pics are pretty good too with my phone. And the sparkpeople app is brainlessly easy. Report
I believe this blog has motivated me to purchase an iPod Touch. I have been thinking about it so now I am going to check it out next time I go to the Apple Store. Report
Sounds like a great excuse for me to get an IPhone!!!! Yea! Report
I too grew up in the age of typewriters, mimeograph, and reel to reel tape recorders.

Nowadays, I love the conveniences of ATMS,scanners, PCs, cell phones and MP3s.

My husband took my sons' advice and bought me an iPod classic about 3 years ago. I LOVE it! I call it my "pacifier". I have playlists for every need and use it to calm down when I'm anxious.

I have a Blackberry and frequently use the food tracker when I'm on the go. I feel very organized and connected.

I love my gadgets. Report
Don't know how people can afford the latest and greatest in technology - like the IPhone. I can barely afford my monthly cell phone charges and I've had "texting" forced on me, whether I need it or not. I've always been into computers. I'm in my 50's and I was using a computer at work in the late 70's and at home, in the early 80's. (Both a Kaypro II and a Commodore 64) But the technology today is out of my financial means - so I will stick with a laptop computer ($300 at Wal-Mart) to update my Spark. Report
I love being able to spark from my iPhone but I have found the foodsearches for entering itemssuch as milk, nonfat will not show. This would be awesome to record nutrition on the iPhone if it worked the sameas it does on my pc. Report
Do you own a iPhone or iTouch? I don't, but DH is a HUGE gaget junkie, so he almost always gets the latest and greatest. He's a former IBMer, too, so he's always up on what's new.

Do you regularly use the SparkPeople application to track your progress? No, I don't, but am interested in using it.

If you don't own one, would this be something you may consider in the future? Yes, because DH has an iPhone, and after seeing all the great things he can do with it (including Skype, which we use to call my daughter in Germany and my brother in Japan), I am anxious to have my own! What usually happens is he'll give me his "old" one, and he'll get the newest. So when I get my hand-me-down, I'll definitely look into the SP app! Report
I was young during the '50s and '60s, so I remember the '80s well. By 1984, I was a computer programmer working on IBM mainframes....and I still am. However, I am into technology selectively. I am used to high speed internet connections at work, but my husband still insists on using dial-up slow speed at I almost never use our home computer. I have an iPod shuffle that I only use at work in order to drown out noisy co-workers. I love my digital camera, but haven't had time to explore all of its capabilities. I have my cell phone, but I don't even use the photo capacity...just the phone. I wouldn't mind an iTouch or iPhone, but I don't like the requirement of using AT&T and I don't have wifi capacity at home (obviously....since my husband is into low-tech). So I guess I am kind of into cherry-picking what will work for me. Each to his or her own!! Report
I am a tech junkie... I use the sparkpeople app for my itouch every day. I find it very useful, and look forward to updates and improvements. Report
I'm from the same generation and still have my old electric typewriter and Walkman! I don't own or want an iPhone or iTouch, don't have an iPod either. I have an old mp3player that I use on long flights, on the treadmill and to relieve boredom at work. Heck, my cell phone isn't even set up for texting, lol! I don't want to have access to everything while I'm not home, just want a little time away from it all. Although dh is a gadget guy, he hasn't had any interest in anything "i" and that's how I like it! Report
I'm just an Old Fort, Nancy :) I love my large-capacity iPod (I don't know how many megadoodles or kilorams it has!), digital camera, and only-for-emergencies cell phone. Recently, a good friend asked why I hadn't gotten an iPhone. It's because I already have all these gadgets, and they're delivering me what I need. (Yeah, I'm an abacus-and-scratch-paper kinda gal :) Report
I'm a child of the 60's so I remember those things too. Unfortunately it must be nice to have the money to afford those things. I would rather feed my family than buy one of those things and go hungry. Report
I'd love to have the iTouch, but finances don't permit it at this time. I'm 58 years old and remember LP's, 45's and even a few 78's! Having a transistor radio was the height of cool. And we all typed on Royal manual typewriters. The technology boom has really changed things, and keeps changing things, almost at the speed of light! How exciting! Report
I hope you don't mind me pointing this out but the iPod touch can only access the internet when you have access to wifi. It cannot use EDGE and 3G like the iPhone.

At any rate, the SP app is wonderful. It was a little buggy at first but now it works great and they keep adding more and more features. I also use iFitness to track my strength training and it is PERFECT for the program I'm on (new rules of lifting for women). I also downloaded The New Rules of Lifting for Women onto the iPhone Kindle app, and use the IntervalTimer app while I do HIIT. Report
I would really like to get an iPod touch or iPhone, and consider the SparkPeople app one of the reasons to get one. I have no internet access when I go to visit my mom, I'm lucky to have cell phone coverage in my opinion, and I think it would be very useful for staying on track with my calorie goals. I, too, grew up in the same era of manual typewriters, and remember my walkman very well, as it was very advanced and I was so proud of it. It was much nicer than the ones my friends had.

I feel like I've made the technology jump pretty easily, I'm not intimidated by the newer gadgets that are out there, but the amount of things you can do on them do still blow my mind.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. It was a great article! Report
I use the iPhone app, but have two complaints...

1) It would be nice if you could lookup foods added by SP members instead of just the stuff in the database. Try adding cabbage rolls through the iPhone app to see what I mean.

2) It would be nice to be able to track strength training through it in addition to cardio exercises. I strength train three times a week. I'll find myself entering exercise through the app at the end of a day and then realizing the app won't let me enter strength training, so I have to go boot up the laptop.

Other things I do with my iPhone while exercising:

1) Listen to free French lessons from the Radio Lingua Network
2) Use the C25K running app
3) Watch movies (on the exercise bike)
4) Use the Metronome app to time my reps when weight training Report
I first got my iPod Touch a little over a year ago and I was looking at the apps they had then for food tracking. A friend told me avout Spark People and I joined. Even then using Safari, food tracking on Spark People was superior. The new app is amazing. I use it everyday. ( Sent from my iPod Touch.) Report
I agree with Lab-Lover...I have a blackberry, and the mobile version of SP is pretty frustrating. I really wish there was a SP app for blackberry...if facebook and myspace have one, I don't see why SP couldn't create one! Report
I have had an iPhone for awhile now, and I was already using it whenever I could to go online and track my sparkpeople progress before the app (and I was of course using it for music while I ran), but I tell you, the app I invaluable to me! And with the improvements in the new version, it's only getting better! Lol, I'm actually reading and replying to the article on it right now... Report
I have a blackberry and the SparkMobile site has been a disappointment for me, so I rarely use it, but would like to. For some reason I can't read blogs or comments on blogs. In a pinch I can log in and enter foods, but it's slow and cumbersome.

I love gadgets and I confess that your blog made me think -- maybe I should get an i-touch. But I don't want to carry around 1 device for work and 1 for personal! Report
Thanks for a walk down memory lane and it's wonderful you're taking advantage of new technology!

I do not own one and don't have any plan to buy one anytime soon. I won't say never, but I live in an area where cell phone service is sometimes non-existent. I own a basic cell-phone, but I use it for nothing but carrying on a conversation with someone- if I am where I have service. I have rarely even used the camera on it and have never looked at any of the other features. I am pretty hooked on my computer and miss it when I am away from home, but I survive. By the way, I think I must be from the same generation, or possibly even a few years older. Report
Thanks for the fun article. I grew up in about the same generation. Pong was a big deal. I still remember the amazement in my eyes when I first saw someone use a cordless phone. The Internet was something still to be discovered. It's fun to look back on things. Report
I love the IPod Touch, and I was thrilled when I found the SparkPeople app, I use it a lot. Report
I love the Spark App on my iTouch. I was traveling, for a long weekend and was able to keep track of my diet goals. It also helps around the house when too many family members competing for computer time. Report
LOL, I so remember some of the older technology. Can you say portable 8 track cool. My first computer, a commodore 64...we saved files on cassette tapes. My portable video game of ms. pacman...I was hot stuff, non of my friends had this. Oh and we got to play pong through the TV.
My daughter has an IPOD touch; hmmmm, might have to borrow it for my trip next week so I can still track my foods. Report
This blog brought to mind an incident in my high physics class way back. We were learning to use the slide rule when one of my classmates asked our instructor if he thought the hand held calculator would take the place of the slide rule. Our instructor looked him firmly in the eye and said, "The average person will never be able to afford a calculator." (At that time a simple calculator ran in the hundreds of dollars.). How technology has changed since then. Report
I don't have the new gadgets. My kids do and it seems like they can't live without them. If they are that cool, it's only a matter of time until I break down and join the 21st century too. Oh--and thanks for the trip down memory lane! Report
The SP iPhone app keeps me tracking my food on those days when I just don't want to. It's so easy to add my foods on the iPhone. I've noticed that I wind up using my iPhone mostly on wifi -- are other iPhone users thinking a switch to the iPod Touch is in their future? Report
I will definitely consider buying an I Pod Touch. I also wanted a I Pod Nano but all these little gadgets cost so much. But I think I am worth it! Report
I have an iPod Touch, but I haven't tried the SP app yet.

My first computer was the good ol' IBM PCjr. No hard drive. Had to put in the Basic diskette every time. If I wanted to save anything, I had to load another diskette, not those little hard ones, but the flexible 6" ones. That was back in the days when computers came with big multiple manuals. I remember teaching myself Basic Programming, or trying to, anyway. One night I felt like taking a hammer to the thing, but IBM had a reminder in the front of the manual that said "It's just a machine!" LOL! I told my husband I would never be a "computer nerd." HA!

That was back in the early 1980's. Now all these years later, my daughters (ages 35 & 27) still call ME for tech support. I proudly confess, I AM a computer nerd. I even read technology magazines online. I am fascinated by the technological advances, and I hope I continue to keep up with the times. Report
I do not have an iPhone or iTouch.....yet. I just learned to text 3 wks ago! there are so many technical gadgets now, I don't know what does what. I guess iTunes just store music. I thought an iPod was about the same thing. I guess not. I guess I'm just iIgnorant!!!!!!! Report
Yes, I use the ipod Touch - and love my other gadgets, too: ipod nano for workouts when the touch is too big, GoWearFit for metabolism monitoring, Nike sensor, Cateye computer for bike, Polar for HRM ... the list goes on :)

The only thing I wish we could do with the ipod application is use it offline, because I'm not always in range of an open wireless connection when out and about. Report
I, too, learned to type on a manual typewriter. Moved up to an electric before graduation from high school. I worked in an accounting office and typed financial statements on an IBM 17-inch carriage typewriter. Our first computer at work filled a 6-story building that occupied one square block. My how things have changed. Now I am almost 68 years' old and I love my iPhone. I sometimes use the SparkPeople App, but more often I use Safari to log onto the website so I can access everything. I pull up recipes on iPhone and head to the stove. I'm packing up all my recipe books. I have everything I need with SparkPeople and my iPhone. Report
I have an IPhone and I use the Spark App. Totally love it because I can look up foods while I'm eating out to see if I'm choosing a good item for lunch/dinner or whatever. Report
I do not own an Iphone or ITouch; I have a basic cell phone. If I had my way, I would not even have that! I am all for new technology when it is used for more than just "texting". I am amazed when I see someone sitting with a friend, a spouse, a parent, a child, etc. and instead of carrying on a conversation, they are TEXTING on their phone! I doubt I will ever own one. Report
I love my iPod touch ! My husband gave it to me for my birthday ! I found the SP application a few weeks ago and use it everyday to log in and add food to my daily journal. It really helps me with my calorie intake when I am away from home. Report
I am also your generation. I dont know if I ever will use one. I tell my kids who text every other second and such on their phones,ect that i do not need a computer in my pocket.
I recently purchased an iPhone and immediately installed the SparkPeople app and it is great. I have really enjoyed the convenience of having SP in my purse whenever I need it.

There are a few things that can help to continue making the app even more user friendly - such as a alphabet bar along the right side of your favorites (similar to how the contacts work), so if you have lots of favorites - like me - you can drop down the list quicker than scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Love the app, recommend it to anyone who gets a iPod Touch or iPhone - it is great. I am sure the tech staff will continue to make improvements, but already - I love it! Report
I refuse to own anything put out by That Fruit Company; and I took typing classes on an electric typewriter in 1992. Report
Yes, Nancy. We are of the same generation. I was so proud to be going off to college in 1975 with an electric typewriter. It was about the same size as the calculator my father had in his office at the time... I started picking up computer skills in 1985, and I haven't stopped since. I use them for just about everything, and I love gadgets. My first PDA was an HP Jornada that, among other things, allowed me to synchronize my home and office calendars and read ebooks. An office-issued Blackberry followed. It allowed me to make work-related phone calls and send email from anywhere. That was at my old job. At my new job, they don't give them out as widely, so I don't have one. I tried to replace with a Nokia N810 tablet PC, but it's just not the same, partly because I am not in a position to buy the wireless plan to go with it at the moment. I also have a cellphone with a camera, and a couple of other digital cameras as well: one for my purse, and a larger, more sophisticated one that I use for my better photography, like taking soccer pictures of my daughter and her team. I've been hooked for a long time.... Report
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