Monday Minute - Life in the Fast Lane

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Have you noticed how the pace of technology has picked up? I am afraid it is getting impossible to keep up and this rate of change can't be stopped. Volvo announced it will only produce electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019. Engineers across Europe are looking for alternatives to diesel engine technology for the "mobility solutions" in vehicles that will replace the automobile as we know it. These companies will faze out diesel engines for automobiles, linked, of course, to the emissions scandal that now include Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, and BMW along with Volkswagen. They apparently could not meet these emissions standards legitimately.

Porsche is committed to electric cars, but they will always be fun to drive, and unlikely to ever be autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

Porsche is committed to electric cars, but they will always be fun to drive, and unlikely to ever be autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

Last week I decided to see if there were updates to my 2014-vintage Garmin chartplotter. Seems I missed a number of updates to Blue Angel's navigation electronics. The process wasn't hard but it is not something I think about very often.

That might have to change, however, as software is evolving as rapidly as everything else. I made the switch from Nikon DSLRs last year. I've been a Nikon guy since the '70s, but I really don't want to lug heavy camera gear around these days. With digital, there is no need, especially when publishing digital media. So I sold my collection of Nikon photo gear, and moved to the FujiFilm X Series mirrorless system of cameras and lenses. I have been super happy with the X-Pro2, which looks and feels like my Leica M6 film camera. Perfect for travel and everyday shooting. The X-T2 body is more of a DSLR camera, shares the same Fuji lenses, and shoots 4K video. As I get into video, this will be a great tool, very well rounded.

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But the thing I found now is that I also have to periodically check for updates to the software in the cameras, as well as the lenses. Software in a camera lens!?!  I suppose all this is a good thing, keeping my gear current and up to date, but it is another thing I'll need to do in order to stay ahead of the curve, keep up with technology...

A new Harris Teeter supermarket opened up in nearby Severna Park. I went there last week to check it out. As I walked by the refrigerated and freezer cases, motion sensors detected my presence and turned on the interior case lighting to showcase the contents. Saving energy while giving me a runway experience. Slick.

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Our car's navigation system uses maps on a CD, and every year I get notices that offer updated street maps for only $149.99. That seems like a lot of money for an annual update, but that is my only choice if I want current road maps. For now, I'll take my chances and keep my eyes on the road rather than blindly follow directions that might be out of date. Or use my iPhone or Garmin Nuvi, which also require regular updates. And now I hear I can have Alexa in my car through a new offering from Garmin.

Almost every digital resource I use has switched to subscriptions, rather than one-time retail pricing. Adobe Creative Suite is just the tip of the iceberg, as is Microsoft Office. Gone are the days of simply buying software in a box at Best Buy, with a grace period for updates. Now we have endless downloads of the newest and greatest functions, most of which I won't need or understand.

I wonder how much my life costs in terms of monthly or yearly subscription overhead? It used to be just magazine subscriptions, and perhaps AAA, now it is life. And Life Lock.

Last year I wanted to settle some family tree questions and subscribed to Looking for some structure in my family history, it seemed a worthy pursuit. But $50 a month is kind of rich for my taste, yet I dutifully stepped on that moving escalator. I even did the DNA thing. And that was quite a shocker, really a total surprise.

With today's technology, which steadily improves, we can figure out who we really are, which is hopefully interesting and rewarding in some way, rather than the alternative. But in my case, it shredded everything I had been told about who I am. Instead of being German and Austrian, and half Italian, my genes tell a radically different story. My overriding and specific genetic communities are Norse and Roman. Seems I am part Roman and Viking, not a bit of German/Austrian. My friends tell me they knew all along I was Scandinavian.

Who would have thought such things would be possible just a few years ago? Technology in the fast lane.

The Dashews left our dock on Saturday and I caught the departure of this innovative motorboat as she leaves her Med moor in Ridout Creek in Annapolis. We'll see them again on Tuesday and I'll be sharing lots of information and images of this incredible boat.

Excuse me now, as I feel the need to go conquer or pillage a village or between software updates, that is.

Have a great week.