Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tech-No, or When Technology Drives You Mad

Remember the film, "Network"? Peter Finch shouts "I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!" Me too. I’m mad (as in angry) because I’ve spent most of the last week trying to make Windows 10 work on my laptop, and now, after much aggravation and web-searching, I’ve finally returned to Windows 7. But it was a struggle.

I’m happy to be back where I started. I’m not really a Luddite, though there are many things in today’s world I wish we didn’t have to face. Computers, for all the great things they have brought us, and bring us every minute if we’re not careful, are high on that list. I am certain that things take longer with a computer than without.

It’s a bore, dealing with the unseen using poorly understood technology and all the time wishing for a yellow pad and a cheap ballpoint pen or, better yet, my old underwood portable. I could bang on that all day long and it never broke, almost never had a key jam (except when I was whamming the keys too fast and too hard), and any mistakes were found and corrected by a secretary. I have spent more time sorting out "how-to-fix-its" than actually writing over the last several decades.

There was a time when I could sit down to write and have no distractions. It takes great discipline to keep your fingers off the in-box button or the search button or the delete key! There are enough distractions in life today without some eye-catching enticement to leave what you’re doing and catch up on whatever one doesn’t really need to catch up on. I long for the days when my fingers pounded the shiny black-on-white keys that hit the paper with a satisfying "thwack" and left a readable mark on paper. And a person who corrected my typing; I miss that, too. What I don’t miss is the pressure from others to finish what I’m writing to meet someone’s imposed deadline. I guess that if I could choose, and the choice was between using a typewriter and being free to write what I want, when I want to, by being both independent and having a computer, I would probably come down on the side of the computer, but I’d still like to have someone on hand to fix things. Some 16-year-old who does computers after school.

Early in my computer-aided life, when I worked in a large organization, my desktop computer developed a problem. I called another department, where they were the first users of computers and had some experts on staff. I outlined my problem and my colleague said he would send his expert around to see me in the afternoon.

About four O’clock a very young man presented himself at my desk, said my friend had sent him to help me and asked if he might sit down at my computer. I happily vacated my seat, he sat down, asked what the problem was, turned to look at me as he hit a few keys and said, "That does it. Did you see what I just did?" Did? He did something? No. No I didn’t see anything. "Well," he said, relinquishing my chair and heading out the door, "Shouldn’t happen again, but if it does, call me. I come in every afternoon after school."

I’m still mad as hell, but there isn’t anything I can do about it until after school.

1 comment:

  1. We have seen probably the most technological change during the past plus/minus seventy-five years of our lives than there has been during the same period since man's progenitors left Africa. And.... we are keeping up.... sort of. -- Moi-nonymous