For quite some time now, computer widows and widowers have become part of our social landscape.The loss of a partner due to computer overuse appears to be more of a female plight, with computer widow currently producing 1,600 Google monthly searches, and computer widower producing none — an interesting fact regarding differences between males and females and their relationships with computers and with each other. Thousands search for information on their loved ones’ behavior monthly: too much time on the Internet, addicted to video games, no time for me.Wikipedia defines computer widows and widowers as “those who have a relationship with a computer user, either one who plays video games, on a console or on the computer, uses the Internet, or creates his/her own programs, who pays far more attention to the computer or game than to his/her partner.”If you are a computer widow(er), or know somebody who is, here are 5 tips to try before engaging in a hurtful fight, going into despair, or leaving your relationship.5 Tips For Computer Widows: How to Get Your Partner Back 1) Take a time-out. Especially if this situation has been happening for some time, you may be having BIG feelings! If you are, take a time-out (or several) to allow your feelings to soften. Take a bath. Go for a walk. During your time-out, notice how the situation is affecting you. Ponder on your intention and your desired outcome.2) Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Do not assume he or she is an insensitive person who does not care about you. They may be struggling with balancing their lives, or even with addiction. They may be so engrossed in their computer that they do not realize the extent to which their habit affects you. Or they may be trying to escape unresolved personal or relationship issues.3) Communicate with your partner positively. Now you are ready for communication. As you know, blame or judgement never work. The “sandwich” structure can be helpful: the challenging news preceded and followed by appreciation or acknowledgement. Ending with a specific request and an agreement is a good idea.”Hey honey, I’ve been thinking lately about how much I enjoy spending time with you. I miss you, and I’ve been getting sad and lonely when you spend several hours at the computer every evening. Would you like to agree on a time for us to be together every day with the computer turned off?”4) Change the things you can. With his or her consent, kindly help your partner create new habits, and have fun (yes, fun!) with it. Invite your partner for a walk or a movie. Sit on their lap when it is time to go. Tickle them if you must. Offer to set an alarm or timer. Make a bet: They owe you money if they do not leave the computer at the agreed time. Plan activities that you used to enjoy together. Remember that beginnings are the hardest and “it takes 21 days to break a habit.”5) Get help. If your partner is not receptive or interested in change, you may want to seek group support or professional help in the form of individual or couples counseling. For some people, computer overuse is a phase. For others, it is a strong habit or even an addiction that is difficult to break without help.
By now you have probably heard the term “Cloud Computing” or “The Cloud”. Heck, even Microsoft talks about it in their latest television ad campaign.But what is The Cloud really? In its simplest terms, The Cloud is simply other people’s computers that you access over the Internet. These computers can be owned by Google, Microsoft or your uncle.In fact, I bet you have been using The Cloud to check your email for years. Whether its AOL, Hotmail, GMail or Yahoo, you’ve been using cloud technology before it was fashionable to call it The Cloud.So why this sudden interest in something we’ve been using for so long?Well, functions that you would have done primarily on your desktop or laptop computers in the past are moving to The Cloud. For instance, have you ever used Google Docs to edit, review or create a document or spreadsheet? That’s The Cloud.There are many other functions that once were the sole domain of the desktop computer that can now be done in The Cloud. To name a few: Photo Editing (Picnik.com), Microsoft Visio style diagramming software (Gliffy.com), Sales CRM software (SalesForce.com), and many many more.All of this is what is commonly referred to as Cloud Computing or The Cloud. Basically, take your data and software and let someone else host it, save it, update it and back it up for you.And it doesn’t stop there. Companies are beginning to make available whole desktop computers in the cloud – through a browser – so that you can use any device to access your Windows desktop computer.But why is this happening? Well think about how you access the web. You do it from home, your office, your mobile phone and your tablet. Cloud computing solves the issue of where your data lives. If it’s stored in The Cloud then you can access it using any of these devices without having to worry about whether or not you backed up your data and brought it to the coffee shop with you.So tell me. How do you use The Cloud? Do you trust the cloud vendors with your data? Let me know.