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Prime time: The digital life - go forward or stay mired?

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The hour of decision is at hand. Either I move forward boldly into the digital world or remain mired in 2011. Yes, it happens that fast.

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First, a confession: I have not taken up with an iPhone or iPad. I don't know Blackberry from the Droid. I've never tweeted and don't have a clue how to do it. I know about apples: Delicious, Honeycrisp, etc. Oh yes, Macintosh, but that takes us back to the world of Steve Jobs, God rest his soul.

I know nothing of apps.

I do feel proud of knowing how to text, even though I'm slow.

I'm devoted to my laptop. I believe that there's nothing that Google can't lead me to. I can enter the name of any book of the Bible and find a study guide. I can enter a list of ingredients and come up with a recipe that uses them. OK, I'm not that creative with the ingredients and I tend toward the things that I know go together. But what am I doing with three shelves of cookbooks when it's all right here with the click of a mouse?

Now let us speak of Facebook. My daughter set me up with an account a couple of Christmases ago. I used to take delight in discovering that people in my life knew other folks that I know.

Conversations could spin out over generations, towns - continents, even - as we discovered these links. No more. Again, just the click of a mouse and hey - we're friends! I'm not even sure what the word means anymore.

On a good day I promiscuously accept anybody into the friend category, and feel a certain smugness in receiving a friend request and ignoring it.

And I'll bet you thought that the word promiscuously referred only to sexual looseness, but I Googled "promiscuously definition" and see here - the one I'm looking for. It's the second one in Free Dictionary: "lacking standards of selection; indiscriminate". That's the way I select friends. On Facebook, that is. Real friends are different. We tend to agree politically, but don't let that stop you. We can be Facebook friends anyway.

I'll admit that my first inclination in wanting the definition of promiscuously was to look around for the dictionary. There's one around here someplace. Gathering dust. Oh, poor Merriam. Poor Webster. Poor American Standard. When I Google that, the first thing that comes up is plumbing fixtures on sale. The dictionary is down the list.

So, sitting here at my laptop, I mourn the demise of the substantial book known as the dictionary. I mourn for the U.S. Postal Service, which is being replaced so quickly. Yes, I pay bills online and toss out the print ads that arrive daily. Oh, the poor PO! I could mourn for big-city newspapers because so many readers have made the leap to reading online. But papers like this one are blessedly kept in business by sports and the arts and local events listings and obituaries: There's an online version of this paper, of course. But you know that.

Well, I'm going to email this column in to the editor now and then read a few chapters in the latest John Grisham book, which I have downloaded into my Nook.

Oh dear. Maybe I'm farther along in the technical world than I thought I was.

Click. Send. Done.

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