Oh, Dear. What does it all mean? I used to be quite savvy when it came to computer technology. We had our first computer at home in 1980, when not many folks around here did. Those were the days . . . eight-inch floppy disks that really were floppy; a word processing program called Spellbinder, that processed in much the same way as a food processor; and 5K of memory (we couldn’t imagine anyone ever needing more than that!).  And the pièce de rèsistance —  a daisy wheel printer that cost more then than a top-of-the-line computer costs now. 

Nevermind that we couldn’t use the thing without the close supervision and instruction of my then-sixteen year old son, Randall (I’m the only one allowed to call him Randy). The significance of his role in the thing was that it was during his matriculation year, which in Australia is Year 12, when any university-bound student was chained to his desk, locked in his room during all waking hours outside of school, studying for his matric exams. We didn’t feel too guilty about usurping his valuable time this way as we knew he wouldn’t be studying anyway. Bless his heart, he got me through my report-writing deadlines and Nigel through many drafts of numerous journal articles. But I digress. (I do tend to do that, don’t I?)

As the years rolled on, and technology advanced at a breakneck pace, we kept up. And we kept up with the constant upgrades and developments in the world of software as well. I prided myself on being able to learn new software programs quickly, and without instruction. I was “intuitive” about it. That was then, this is now. Oh, Dear. Once I stopped working – make that: Once I was no longer gainfully employed (as in retired), I lost my grip on the even-more-rapidly changing technology. Both of us did. All we really needed to do on the computer was a bit of word processing, spread sheets, and data bases. We didn’t get our first email address until about 1995 or 96, by which time I was retired, and Nigel was only working part time.

Not too long after that I started noticing things that I didn’t recognize in the computer sections of the big stores.  As I looked in the IT ads I gradually became aware that there was more and more stuff which I didn’t even have a clue what it was, never mind whether we needed it or not. We continued to upgrade our PCs and printers from time to time, and got on top of the new software.  But we didn’t branch out.  I just bought my first laptop early this year.

Remember those keys that, in spite of whatever disguise they were wearing, meant “Disappear!” ?  Well, I thought I’d left those behind, back in the days of Spellbinder. But they’re back! Every laptop or notebook I’ve used has them. I keep looking, and trying to find out which ones they are, but it’s like trying to see if the refrigerator light stays on when you close the door. You just can’t do it fast enough. And I know it isn’t just me. I often get emails from friends or family that start out “I just wrote you a long email, and just before I sent it, it just disappeared.” It happens to me, too, so I know they aren’t just pulling my leg.   And then there is the feral cursor. Oh, I could go on, but I’m sure most of you are reading this on a modern device that is just as capricious as mine, so I would be telling Grandma how to suck eggs. So I won’t.

Well, it’s all coming to a head again. I need to buy a new cell phone. The one I’m using is way too antiquated to pass on to a grandchild (as if they didn’t already have their own!). It is so basic that it doesn’t even have a camera. Imagine it! Anyway, even though it still works – on the rare occasion that I turn it on – I fancy a new one. The reason is that I now have some new Gee Whiz hearing aids that are blue tooth compatible (or whatever the correct terminology is). I shall be able to hear phone conversations just through my ears! No headset needed. Likewise, I can connect my iPod to my ears, as well as my computer, and I think a TV if there are TVs out there that are blue tooth compatible.




Anyway, I now have to look at cell phones, and I am more than a little overwhelmed. I’m adapting to the computer technology reasonably well, and even have an iPod, but the cell phones defeat me. I suppose that’s a large part of why I don’t use mine much at all. I tend to lose more calls than I manage to answer, and as far as messages go, well, forget that. I’m thinking I might have to drag some grandsons along to help me shop for it. On the other hand, I don’t think they appreciate how befuddled I am by cell phones, and I think I prefer to leave them thinking I’m not so bad, technology-wise, for an old person. Indeed, when my ten-year old grandson, Brendan, learned recently that I was writing a blog, his eyes widened and his jaw dropped, “Wow! Even I don’t have a blog!”         MM