How technology is changing our lives
How is technology changing your life? E-mail us your story.
(CNN) -- CNN.com users share their experiences of how technology is changing our lives.
It is so wonderful for me to be in regular contact with my children. Sometimes we open our hearts and write a long letter, but other times it is just a few lines, or a few words ( from my son ) but there is the hope every morning that there is a sign of life from someone. There is contact. Gabrielle Jansen, San Antonio
I have a mental illness and the Internet has literally been my lifeline to the world for some four and a half years now. If I'm not comparing notes with any number of advocates/self-advocates throughout the day, I am on some level at least maybe once a day, many times in the company of others, holding someone's virtual hand for a moment until that same flood of emotion I know myself too well washes over the person whose face I most likely will never, ever see. So often, all it takes is for people out there to know someone else acknowledges them, validates them and the existence of their battles. Cindy Sue Causey, Talking Rock, Georgia
Being able to download my banking information into my accounting software has really changed my life...so much easier. And just looking up my balances online and paying my bills online and even my postage. I ship online, buy online, mail online and send photos of my children online. I can do research at 10 stores online; have them hold packages until I get there etc. It seems like only yesterday when I had to wait for Wednesday's fliers to see what sales were on for the week, now? I fax in my order after reviewing the sale items and it is delivered to my doorstep for $9.00. I think technology has changed us all. J Smith, Dana Point , CA
Yes without a doubt technology has extended my life. I was born in 1957 with a bi-cusped aortic valve. When I was 37 years old I needed a heart valve replacement. I received a homograph (human valve) which did not require me to be on any medication and was like having my own valve. The only issue with homographs replacement for the aortic valve is that they only last between 10 to 15 years. I am now 48 years old and just had my homograph replaced with a mechanical valve. I now need to be on blood thinner medication to avoid blood clots but I am still alive as a result of technology. If it were not for the technology to replace heart valves, I would not have lived to see 40. If I were born just 50 years earlier, the technology would not be there to save my life. Ron Gualtieri
I am a 42 year old single white woman living in Florida and I totally embrace new technology. Because of broadband Internet, I am able to work from my bosses home or my home and was able to quit a job that I hated and that kept me stressed out to the max. Because of cell phones, we are able to forward the business phones when we are out or on the road. Laptop computers also help making the job mobile when necessary. My life has been improved in many ways since I got on line. I have made many friends across the south from chatting. I never would have met any of these people if not for the Internet. Melissa G. Tampa Bay, FL
I am autistic but I have struggled to communicate with those around me. I married a young woman, we had kids, and she was already internet comfortable. I discovered CNN online, ucomics..com, and the whole universe of the internet. Now I can write, send, and receive, to and from virtually anyone. Without this thread of technology I would have remained isolated and utterly un-influential. And, (I hate using "and" to begin a sentence, but everyone else does it) if communication technology has helped me to this degree, imagine what it has done for those who are not autistic. Gregory Kruse
The advent of e-mail has drastically improved the way, speed I communicate my inventions with collaborators and commercialize them. Most notable the way technology has helped science is in researching articles and abstracts. In days gone by only the universities with large libraries could facilitate a small number of academics to develop their ideas. The internet has been the great equalizer, with the advent of www.pubmed.gov, www.google.com scholar beta test site and the U.S. patent and trademark site I can research cutting edge treatments for my most difficult patients and suggest out of the box answers immediately. What a privilege we have to live in this technology advanced world today! Harpal S. Mangat
I suffered from epilepsy for 33 years. Anti-convulsant meds worked for years but later became ineffective. During the last three years before undergoing a temporal lobe resection, I averaged one seizure every other day. I had to give up my high-tech career and stop driving. I was too afraid to go out of the house for fear of having a seizure. In 1998, I underwent the surgery at MINCEP (Minneapolis Comprehensive Epilepsy Program) and have been seizure-free for almost eight years. Life is wonderful again because of high-tech medicine. JuLayne Trimble Bartlesville, OK
Twenty-seven years ago I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Marfan's Syndrome. My father had succumbed to the disease at the young age of thirty-three (I was three years old at the time). It is a connective tissue disorder that becomes most dangerous by weakening the circulatory system, including the aorta, heart, and valves. A new surgical technique was discovered when I was 18, which could extend my life to a normal person's life span. Then on December 17, 1996 the heroes at Cleveland Clinic replaced part of my ascending aorta with a dacron tube, grafting it on, and "patching" up a weakened area of my heart with the same material. I was out of the hospital in time to spend Christmas with my family, and the diagnosis for extended life was good! Because of the many complications with Marfan's Syndrome, my battle with the disease is not over. One of my hopes is that stem cell research can find ways to replace or repair the weakened tissue in my body. Dave Sommers
I'm 63, about to retire. I feel like I'm in my late 40s, with no health problems, and with plans to start working as an architectural designer for the next 20 years or so. Modern technology has been helpful to me insofar as annual physical and psychological check-ups with state-of-the-art doctors, dentists and psychiatrists have enabled me to maintain excellent health through conditions that would have proven considerably debilitating, or even fatal, to people just a generation or two ago (e.g., with my high-tech health practitioners, I've successfully dealt with skin cancers, ruptured spinal disks, bad teeth from childhood, and medications for psychological issues). A face lift and eye work have also helped me look the age I feel. In these ways, technology has kept me "tuned up" for a high quality of life. Fred Philippi
I would like to share some interesting things happening in India. Five years ago, telephones in the home were only for the rich. These day's getting a phone service is like getting a pizza. It is that easy. Medical technology in India has developed to a great level today. Twenty years ago there was no proper drugs for diabetics. My grandfather died because of it. But today, diabetes is controllable. Lots of facilities are open. When new technology arrives, there will be positive and negative results. But positive results are greater in my opinion. G.Subramanian, India
I have spent the last 12 plus years suffering from clinical depression; however, since I purchased a computer a year ago, I find that I can communicate with almost anyone, without suffering the anxiety of doing it face-to-face, and without having to travel to accomplish this feat. Though I am far from healed, I now sometimes feel like a functional part of the human community. With luck, my situation will improve to the point that I may once again be able to seek employment (if I am unsuccessful at finding an income from online activities). Hewy Bontrager
Because of medical technology we can now look forward to celebrating our daughter's first birthday in two months. She was born with a complex heart defect that used to be fatal just 20 years ago. But due to medical research technology, there is a now a radical three-part procedure (Norwood-Glenn-Fontan operation series) that has given life to our daughter. She'll now have a chance to grow up and enjoy life as an adult. C. Ellis Kansas
I've had insulin dependent diabetes for over 20 years now. I'm 39 years old. I was told when I was diagnosed that we were 10 years away from a cure. I'm still waiting. But there is a beautiful little piece of technology that makes my life infinitely easier. Instead of taking 3 or more injections of insulin daily, I now have a device that delivers insulin through a tiny catheter under my skin. I can program it to my activity and dietary intake. No more low blood sugars in the middle of the night forcing me to raid the refrigerator at 3am when I'm not hungry. No more high sugars that make me feel thirsty, hungry and generally discombobulated. This invention has improved my health, happiness and quality of life. It will prevent complications and add years to my existence. I don't know who invented it but the insulin pump is truly a Godsend. Danne Furey Futterer, Rosslyn, VA
I'm a marathon runner, with 60 races done all over the world, halfway home to my ultimate goal of 100. I use the iPod Shuffle as a perfect training-aide. It makes the repetitious (running long miles and gym sessions) rhythmic, inspirational and entertaining. It shrinks time. An hour on an Elliptical-machine at the gym feels ten minutes long when 150 of my favorite tunes are rocking-and-rolling me along. (Favorite song? Eminem's anthem to timing and excellence: "Lose Yourself" -- perfect to get you jacked-up pre-workout or pre-performance at a marathon starting line). Michael Modzelewski
Due to rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, I have had both knees and both hips replaced. If that had not been possible, I would be totally disabled and in a wheel chair a long time ago. As it is, I am still working part time and able to drive and care for myself.
While it is common place today to have an allograft, or donor replacement, back when I had it my left ACL done at the age of 35 in 1990, only football players were doing it.
I was downhill skiing with my husband and two sons in Alaska in the spring of 1988 after having my third son in August of 1987.
I tried to tell them I was too tired to make that last run and within eyesight of the lodge, I banked a mogul and my ski had sunk but I kept going. I heard a pop, there was no pain, but when I tried to get up, I could not stand.
My diagnosis then was to be incised on the outside of my leg from calf to thigh and given less than a 50 percent chance of having my knee support me. I voted not to have the surgery. My knee cap also tore my meniscus on the left side, so I had a painful, noisy knee that let go whenever it felt like it. I could find myself on the floor with no warning.
I kept hearing about football players that tore their ACLs, had surgery, and were back on the field within weeks. Luckily Alaska is a young state with a reckless population pushing themselves in the outdoors 365 days a year.
We had a new sports medicine doctor and I made an appointment. What he suggested sounded like something from Star Trek...use a donor ligament? I had the choice of using my own patella ligaments on the right side, but I was an active equestrian and working Mother of three sons, two sore legs sounded dreadful. I opted for the deal. I never looked back. I woke up from the surgery with my leg strapped in a passive movement machine I had to rent for a week (no casts or splints here, the old way), my medication delivered to me at my will at the push of a button and had physical therapy the first week. I was climbing stairs in a week.
Ten years later, I was still barrel racing my horses, swimming in the crashing waves of the Atlantic on vacation, pain free and never a fall or failure. This surgery changed my world.
Now, 16 years later, I am ready for something new, as my meniscus is gone and there is bone on bone, it sounds like a cement mixer when I walk, it swells, and I am taking pain medication daily to deal with it. I have given up barrel racing at 50, and now drive my horses in carts, carriages and wagons, it is difficult to climb aboard. I want to ride again.
I will wait for my insurance to pick up the cost of growing my own cartilage - I heard about that two years ago but cannot go to Sweden to have it done now in my lifetime.
Clairese Austin, Titusville, Florida
Two things. My TI-36X Solar Scientific calculator is a small miracle (by today's technological standards) that makes my life easier every single day. Secondly, USB Memory Sticks, Thumb Drives, or whatever you call them. These things are amazing. Everything I have done for the last two years of my Computer Science degree lives there with room to spare. I can plug it in and work anywhere. It also serves as an off-site backup for the school work on my home computer. Unbelievable. Kirk Smith
"Seeing" in cyberspace
The Internet, perhaps the best known example of open standards at work, allows blind professionals such as myself to use whatever adaptive software or hardware we might need on our computers, without requiring anything special from those we communicate with. For example, I might be using a Braille display or a speech synthesizer, but co-workers or clients can receive my reports and send me information in the same way they do with any other colleague. This relatively seamless integration between those with disabilities and everyone else is a rare luxury outside cyberspace.
Some years ago I was the 29th person worldwide to have an ABI implant. This is an audio brain stem Implant. Part of this devices is hardwired directly to the brain stem and a small device about the size of a small radio is carried in my pocket. I had this done because I had two tumors, one on each side of my head which were growing. When they where removed, the hearing nerves had to be cut to remove the tumors. Without this I would be totally deaf and would never had heard my grand kids say, "I love you, grandpa," so for that reason alone it was worth it. I knew that this was experimental and no guarantees were given, but I felt then, as I do today, that the risks were well worth it. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Wiet and the team of doctors who performed the operation.
Help for hearing impaired
I have lost my hearing and wear two very strong digital hearing aids. These help a lot. My audiologist got me to wear what amounts to a microphone connected to my hearing aids That also helps me. But I still could not use even the strongest telephones that are on the market for people like me. Two years ago I was asked to participate in testing what amounts to a telephone with closed captioning. This phone is like closed captioning on a television set. Now I can read a phone conversation as a listen to it.
Rosalie Carnese, Albrightsville, Pennsylvania
I am a veteran of the U.S. Army. I spent most of my adult life searching for a career in jobs that had very little potential for career opportunities for me. I became extremely passionate about Web development, and it has shaped the rest of my life. I have several of my own Web sites, as well as sites that I have built, managed and maintained for my employers. Technology in general, and the Internet, in particular, have inexorably changed my life and put me on a career path that I would never have discovered if not for the technological boom of personal computers, the proliferation of the Internet, my desire to find a better life for myself, and my dissatisfaction with my current career path. To this day, I am passionate about software development, and I spend many hours outside of my normal work day enhancing my existing Web sites, and building new ones.
When I was 10, I suffered a stroke that left my right side paralyzed. I am now 38 and have had ample time and motivation to work on my recovery. I was approached by the American Stroke Association about running a marathon to raise awareness and funds, and to help educate. Although I had never been a runner, I committed to a half marathon. I began to seek out other forms of therapy to aid in my recovery and improve my gait. Initially, I started using an electric muscle stimulator to try to strengthen the muscles on the outside of the shin that raise the outside of my right foot. This helped, but did not have a major effect. Then I discovered "Neuromove." It combines electric muscle stimulation with biofeedback. The biofeedback is sensitive enough to register an attempt to move a muscle even if the muscle doesn't actually move. The user is able to set the threshold of effort to trigger the stimulus. Once the threshold is achieved, the stimulus is delivered, and the muscle moves (flexes). When the muscle flexes you increase blood flow, and ultimately muscle mass. What is more significant however is the ultimate goal of creating new neural pathways. It works just like any other conditioned response. Your efforts to move the muscle are rewarded with the muscle actually moving. With enough repetition, the movement becomes voluntary. My gait is still not perfect, but it helped me improve enough to all but eliminate the drop-foot. Now when I run, I can sometimes strike with the heel of my right foot. When I am tired, or stiff, I land flat. It may seem like a small difference, but it is not at all. It made a huge difference for me.
I read the article about the stem cell operation on the eye that worked(Full story). I have had my leg operated on four times, each with different stages of amputation. It is off at the knee joint, but the main artery is up the leg about six inches which makes my stump with blood which causes pain and being cold. This is why I can't wear a artificial leg and in pain all the time. Duke hospital says there is a stem cell that can be injected into stomp to make blood cell grow to ease pain. I want to know where I get this done near me.
Jerry Poston, Fayetteville, NC
Back pain gone
In March 2003 (at the age of 45 ) I received an experimental artificial disc in my lumbar spine at level L5-S1 to treat degenerative disc disease. The disc is called Maverick and is made by Medtronic. Before surgery I was only able to walk less than 100 feet and was in extreme pain. I was on lots of pain medication and my outlook on life was very bleak. Four days after the disc was implanted I was home from hospital and went for a two-mile walk with my daughter. Within a week, I was completely off the pain medication. My surgeon, Dr. Richard Hynes of Melbourne Florida, had given me my life back and for that I will be forever grateful. They are still waiting for FDA approval which can't come soon enough. My only other option would have been a spinal fusion and that was the last thing I wanted. This new technology has changed my life. Paul Abbott
Staying in touch
For the past seven years I have worked as an exploration geologist in Mongolia for a Canadian company. Communication was always an issue with expats working overseas. Satellite telephones have helped me to keep in touch with my family but the per minute cost prohibited long or chatty calls. Now, I can talk to anyone in the world who has either a phone or an Internet connection with "voice over IP (VOIP)" Internet telephoning. Now I can call my mom in Canada from my western Mongolia ger (round wool tent) field office any time of the day or night for just eight cents a minute. I can see her face on my laptop as I left her a Web-cam on my last visit home. I can watch live Web-cam video of my eight-month-old daughter in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I can hear her talk into the microphone and see it all in "real time" with a Skype "Voice over IP" Internet telephone system. Now I feel connected all the time with my family and friends.
Thomas Drown, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Has technology improved my life? I hope you are receiving e-mails from every single reader. Anyone who doesn't think technology has radically improved his or her life is not in touch with reality.
James Gray, Tampa, FL
Technology, Iraq and family
My wife and I were married in August this year, after being together for more than three years. I was deployed to Iraq in September. Computer and Internet technology has allowed us to talk, chat -- even see each other -- and to share stories, both good and sad. It allows us to send instant messages, which is critical in involving me in making decisions to do with my family, their schooling and my own professional issues. These advances allow us to remain in close contact with each other, as well as helping me to ease combat stress. I owe to technology that our relationship is growing strong each day.
Manuel A. Soldevila
Seeing is believing
Having a corneal transplant three years ago has definitely changed my quality of life, both now and for the future. Being born with a rare, and progressively worsening, cornea disease (granular cornea dystrophy) left me with no other choices. Now I can drive, read and lead an independent life again. Thank goodness for the donor who allowed me this gift.
Lynda Narug, Hot Springs Village, AR
Sense of freedom
Although lasik -- or laser eye surgery -- has been around for some time, I still cannot say enough positive things about it. After 15 years of wearing contact lenses and glasses, having this procedure done really has been a source of freedom. I can enjoy activities that were previously difficult due to wearing contacts. With my first child, I had to stumble about trying to find my glasses when he woke in the middle of the night. Now, with my daughter, I can just get up and see where I am going. I love it.
Jari K. Heier
Making a connection
My most beloved husband passed away from esophageal cancer, complicated by diabetes. The very worst part of the period after his death was my inability to stop thinking, incessantly playing the tapes of his last few months over and over again. Looking for help on the Web, I expected to connect with another widow, but I connected with a widower, who said, "Don't stop thinking about him -- just think about him full of life and healthy, not sick and dying." He was so right. Overnight, my life changed. The widower and I married a few weeks ago. At 62 and near 66, we both have a lovely new lease of life.
Teflon to stop pain
I suffer from Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia, which is a condition marked by repeated episodes of severe pain in the tongue, throat, ear and tonsils. These episodes can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Without microvascular surgery available and the "Teflon" sponge (which is surgically implanted in patients to reduce the pain) I would not have been able to have the surgery I had to stop the pain (and medication). To date, I am happy to say, all is well. Although, I would be very, very happy to find out what causes Glosso-Neuralgia.
Susan Cormier Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada
Reaching out online
My youngest son was born with a severe brain injury due to a true knot in his umbilical cord. His prognosis was cortical visual impairment (blindness), and developmental delay in every area -- cognitive, mobility, speech, manual function, social/emotional. Because of being able to read about alternative therapies on the Internet, I have been able to find The Family Hope Center in Blue Bell, PA. There, I learned about a home therapy program that I could use for my son. He is now five and a half and reads ahead of his age level and is doing first-grade math. He walks more than two miles each day in a nature reserve on rough terrain. His vision is only 20/50, but we are still working on this therapy program to continue to improve this. There are so many negative things about the Internet, but it saved my son from being blind, immobile and mentally retarded --- and it has changed my life as I use the Internet to coach other parents and help them help their children.
Not just hot air
Thirty years ago, I read an article in a French paper about fighting a cold by blowing hot air through the nose. I suffered through many colds so decided to try this. I had a lot of success. When I felt a cold coming on, the hot air seemed kill the bugs. I do this every time I have a feeling a cold is coming on. I put a plastic tube of 10mm x 120mm in one nostril and shut the other with my fingers. I then inhale the hot air, which I tap from a hairdryer through the plastic tube for one minute, into each nostril. I have done it hundreds of times and it never fails; the germs in the nose are killed by the high temperature. It is a very safe way to beat a cold and you do not burn yourself. The only time it failed was when I felt a cold coming on and waited until the next day to take action, which was too late. Maybe it might work for bird flu, which also starts in the nose?
Information is power
My husband is a Type two diabetic, and has just been treated for peripheral neuropathy in his legs and feet with a treatment called anodyne therapy. It is a light ray treatment using a simple machine with blood pressure like pads that inject a light into the veins and capillaries that seem to clear out the nitric acid that cleans the veins and arteries of build-up and increases the flow of blood, thus giving him feeling in his feet and legs. My husband has had three such treatments so far and intends to continue. I want to know why more publicity is not given to this treatment. I realize limited studies have been done, but results of a study done at a reputable hospital should be made public to those suffering. If it works, and some studies have been done successfully, then why keep it a secret?
Logging on helps
I have suffered from severe depression for the past ten years. During the past four years, I have learned that when I get really down, all I have to do is get on the Internet and surf away and I feel a lot better. I has really helped me more than all the therapy I have had. If it wasn't for the Internet I don't know where I would be.
Technology has changed my family's and my life. My daughter developed an eye problem when she was about four years old. Treatment was not possible in our home country of Ethiopia back then so I took her to New Jersey in the U.S. with help of Healing the Children. She first had surgery in 1991 and again in 1997. She is now training to be a doctor so that she too will be able to help others. We have seen many advances in technology here in Ethiopia -- we are happy at home watching satellite news, films and documentaries, which keeps us well informed. Mobile phones have also contributed to changes in our life, making them easier. Each of my three children have their own phones, as do my wife and I, as well as a fixed landline at home and in our offices. It is wonderful.
Abebe Bekele, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Going to the shopping mall on the weekend has being a highlight for my children, but it used to frustrate me that I had to walk all over the entire mall -- I would search for my children in every store and would eventually find them, often playing video games. These days with affordable family cell phone plans, I can enjoy my shopping, bug my college son and then gather my children back together in no time.
My husband has been away from my family for two years, but I not only talk to him every day, I send him our children's school results or pictures, or developments about what is happening at home. Everyone chats by typing quickly. I am never bored from browsing or researching the Web.
Living in an online world
Internet technology has totally changed my life. I review my online bank statements, make transactions and pay bills, all through online portals. I go shopping for electronics, books and DVDs -- all through the Internet. I pay online, and then I track my shipment online. I log on to the web portal of my telephone company to review my phone bills, pay them and change or request new services with a click of the mouse. I developed my knowledge and learnt most of what I had to do at work from the Web. I search for specific topics to help me understand how to achieve them. I do 80 percent of contacts with friends and family online through e-mail or instant messaging services. This is especially helpful as I have family members in different countries. I practice digital photography and compose music as a hobby and those fields are full of different technologies to help me direct the images and music.
Omar Sadoon, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
With my new 60GB iPod with video, I'm no longer bored on my one-and-a-half hour commute to work on the train. I have all of my music and I when I watch movies, the time flies by.
A different world
Could you imagine a month, a day or even an hour without the Internet or your cell phone? I would be 100 percent lost -- so would this message as I would have no way of sending it to CNN. Argh! The thought alone gives me the chills!
Anne Hamre Blaine, Minnesota
The planet is at risk
Yes, technology has given us immeasurable conveniences, but at a cost. Like Albert Einstein said, "Our technology has surpassed our humanity." If we are lucky enough to live another 100 years, we will find that the new environment we have created will not be able to support life. EMFs, pollution and even negative thoughts all take their place in the mosaic of disease multi-causality. Make no mistake, in North America, we have the best of medicine, the best of technology, and will be watching our quality of life slide to third-world levels.
Brad Ferringo, Waterloo, Canada
New lease of life
I have three kids with Duchenne's MD. As the disease progresses, on advanced cases like our children, the lung diaphragm weakens to the point that the children need a ventilator to breathe. Before 2000, this "vent" was plugged into the wall, and the child was forced to stay bed-ridden, for the rest of their life, and usually was forced to stay institutionalized. Now, my children have briefcase-sized vents on the back of their wheelchairs that give them the mobility to go to school and participate in social activities, and come home at night to sleep in their own bed. This they could not have done a few years ago. This new level of freedom for my children is a unimaginable difference in their lives, and in ours.
In the early 1990s, I was bitten by a tick. Three weeks later, I was sicker than I'd ever been in my life, and the doctors were stumped. A friend suggested asking doctors to screen me for a then-little-known condition called Lyme disease. While the cure for the disease turned out to be simple, the damage it did to my body was extensive, and I was not to know the full extent for almost 10 years. Almost 10 years later, I found out I had an irregular heartbeat. Soon after I was admitted to hospital. My cardiologist suggested implanting a demand pacemaker. Now, a small scar and small lump in my upper-left chest, and a short feeling of breathlessness every 12 hours as my pacemaker automatically calibrates itself are the only remnants of my problem. Every six weeks or so, I use a specialized modem to connect myself to the hospital, and use a magnet to tell my pacemaker to encode its telemetry into my EKG so that the hospital can make sure that both the pacemaker and my heart are functioning properly. In another seven years or so, I'll need a minor surgery to replace the battery.
Mark Hartman, Spring Valley, California
Genetic testing has changed my life. For years, I've had trouble with anxiety, changes, anger, depression and self-destructive behaviors. After undergoing genetic testing, I found I had CYP2D6*4: Heterozygous. This means I only received one gene from one parent whereas 99 percent of the population receives one from each parent. This also explained why my body was not producing the right "stuff" to break down medication. Medically, they finally understood the issue and could now start trying to figure out what types and what drugs dosages I could take for help. I know that if it wasn't for running into a new psychiatrist with his understanding of genetics and medicines, I would not be where I am today. Science has finally given doctors a tool to prove how people like me are different and some doctors are using those tools to be able to treat untreatable patients like me, for the first time.
I live in Saudi Arabia and in April this year, I bought a second-hand vehicle from the U.S. During the shipping, it lost its stereo, and being in a remote town of the Kingdom, I could not find a compatible stereo to replace the lost one. This is when I got Internet connection in my office, and during my lunch breaks, I started to surf the Web, for places where I could buy a stereo for my vehicle. Web and the Internet helped me to find not only several locations where I may be able to find a stereo for my vehicle, but also I revolutionized the way I shop! The technology offered me assistance, help and guidance on areas I would have overlooked on the usual shop-to-shop walking.
Asoka Nimal Rathna, Saudi Arabia
Staying in touch
I am South African, married to a French man. After our wedding in 1999 we lived in France for five years. It was very hard, since I come from a very close family. E-mailing was a huge help, but telephone calls were limited due to the cost of the calls. We moved to South Africa for a year before moving back to France. I've since discovered cheap phone calls using the Internet via Skype, which means I can now contact my family members any time of the day and talk as long as I like. It has absolutely changed my life, even though at certain times of day, the connection isn't great.
Lila Trupin, France
Bridging the gap
My 13-year-old daughter is an accomplished classical musician (harp, piano, flute and drums) as well as a successful young composer. Her grandmother's sister-in-law died in Holland recently. The family wanted to play a piece of my daughter's music at the memorial service. We received the request about seven hours before the service. By publishing the piece on Internet Archive and then blogging it to our family web-site we were able to provide them with a high-quality audio file that they then burned to a CD for the service.
In January 1995, I was able to create one of the first public Internet sites here in Dallas. I created the Korean War Project, and have spent the last 10 years providing many, many services to Korean War veterans, families, DOD, and a host of others. A key use of Internet technology has allowed me to find families of Missing In Action from the Korean War to provide DNA samples for possible matches. That program is called Finding The Families: The Search For Korean War MIA/POW Family DNA. We've helped to obtain hundreds of DNA samples in the last five years. I went from being a carpenter to helping people throughout the world. It is nice to wake up each morning knowing it will be a day of good work helping others. For me, technology brought a radical change to the quality of my life.
Hal Barker, Dallas, Texas
Tivo has radically changed our life style. Shows that come on too late to watch (10PM), we now watch the next evening. Even shows like PTI that come on at 5:30 while we are eating dinner, we can now watch right after dinner.
Fred Unger, Springfield, Virginia
Staying in shape
I have always been a fan of technology, the most recent item I purchased that has had a major impact on my life -- and my health -- is the Apple iPod. I have always known that the only way to lose weight and maintain it is to eat right and exercise. I changed my diet but the exercise was slow to follow. Then my iPod arrived. All excuses for not to strap on my sneakers and go for a run literally jumped out the window. I always need music to motivate me, but just the process of selecting a CD sometimes took so long I had only a few minutes to get ready for work. Or I would listen to the same CD over and over again until I was not longer motivated during the run. Problem solved with the iPod. With a full selection of up to 5,000 songs and the ability to download new music, I never get bored and increased my distance from a one mile to three miles a day in just a couple months. As a result, I lost nearly 30lb and feel great. My energy levels are through the roof. I feel I can accomplish more than ever before. I can even listen to cooking tips or any other audio book (or podcast) related to food and diet.
Michael, Lexington, Massachusetts
My cell phone received poor reception in many areas of my house. I would miss call from my children, friends, contacts. Now with the new RCA Cell phone docking system, my cell stays at the place with the most "bars" and a cordless phone stays in my pocket, communicating with the cell when calls come in. I get the best reception site in the house from places in the house(like the basement) where reception would have been awful.
Philip A. Waldor
My Olympus digital camera uses two AA batteries. While out shopping last winter, I came across a sale on solar-powered garden lamps. They charge by day and discharge by night. Curious, I unscrewed the top of one of the lamps and found two removable AA batteries. For the hefty price of something like 20 euros, I bought a box of eight lamps. Eight times two equals 16. I now have 16 rechargeable batteries that are recharged with solar cells. The lamps run for about five hours on a charge, and my digital camera gets about 50 pix per pair of solar-charged batteries.
How has e-mail changed my life? Well, I'm old enough to remember not having it, and I'm old enough to fully appreciate how technology has helped me tremendously. I am often separated from my family and loved ones, particularly my wife, and sometimes I find myself in places where telephone and other such legacy communication systems were either not cost effective or simply unavailable. E-mail seems to be a system of communication that is almost always available in one shape or another. I have no idea what I would do now without all this stuff. It's quite amazing how fast the world become so dependant on a new technology, and how fast it seeped into our lives and changed everything. I, for one, am very grateful, and so is my marriage!
E-mail has not exactly saved my life, but it's saved my mind. I'm running a small, stress filled charity on an island not far from the U.S. but pretty much out of reach. The people I've met via e-mail who have helped the charity, and the friends I've made -- some of whom I talk to everyday -- have done much to offset the sadness and depression that accompany my volunteer work. It's the closest I often come to normal conversation and interaction with friends.
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