Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Killing Me Softly with Technology

When I was a young man, a teenager actually, all I wanted was a typewriter and a tape recorder. I felt those were the tools a writer needed to make life easy. I got them both. The tape recorder was fun, but I didn't find it practical. I still had to write down what was said on tape. The typewriter was the main technological advancement from pen and paper for me.

My old battered Underwood Portable did me well for years. Of it could be tedious sometimes. I would use ribbons until a path was shredded in their middle by the battering of the keys. I would become ink smudged from carbon paper. And how annoying it was to edit or discover a missing sentence in the center of page 1 of a 12 page manuscript. It would throw every line off and require retyping everything.
If only I could think it and it would magically appear on the paper.
Then along came the personal computer and this was probably as close to thinking it to the paper as we could get. Editing and making copying all became a cinch.

With the first computers, you couldn't do much more but write documents and do some spreadsheets on Visicalc (if that was the proper name of that first spreadsheet software).  Not counting the Atari 401, my first real computer was an Apple IIc. It had no internal storage, everything was kept on floppies and it only came with an impact printer. But it was a wonderful little machine, very user friendly.

For some reason, the Apple failed to capture the corporate world. My company, like most, went PC and so in a couple years, I did too. I wanted to be able to do work at home and be compatible with the computer I had on the job. Apples didn't speak to PCs in those days.

Thus for the last 2o to 25 years I have lived in the Windows world. Which was fine, I was use to it and what you could do on the PCs kept growing and growing. 

You don't realize how depended upon and spoiled by the computer until you lose it. This past week my PC crashed big time. The only redemption I was offered was to do a system recovery. This wipes out all you have on your hard disk. Fortunately, I did have backups and I was able to backup some more recent files before the big erase, but I know I lose somethings. It is a bigger hassle than you may imagine. 

I sat there knowing I had to reload all this software and then restore all my data and photo files from the CDs I backup on and decided I had had enough of the constant in and out of the windows game.

My decision was to chomp on the Apple again. I now am working through an IMac. After so many years in the PC environment, it is taking some getting use to. I have a whole new system to learn. (At least, I got my photos onto the Mac and was able to pull one up for this post.) 

It is a bit scary, though, how imprisoned we have become to technology. It makes things simpler when it works, but it is a nightmare when it doesn't. 

3 comments:

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

I went through that in April of 2007 - nasty!

I was wondering why you hadn't posted - good to see your post, and update.

Ron Tipton said...

Well said. We have become so dependent on PC's for everything. However, we don't have to depend on Microsoft. There are alternatives. I will monitor your progress in learning the new system and I will probably follow your example. It's no fun knowing that, eventually, the Windows system will crash. It always does. And whenever that happens, Mr. Softee (Bill Gates) makes another billion because we, the Great Unwashed, fall for the scam and buy yet another version of Microsoft's unstable syste, the latest of which is Vista. No thank you. I think I will go the way of Mac.

Greg said...

I won't get into the PC vs. Mac debate, but I sure identify with your experience and dependency on computers. I work all day on a computer, for my job, I teach a computer class at my son's homeschool co-op, and when I come home, my wife and I spend quality time on our respective computing machines! LOL!!!

Last February, my laptop got a bunch of spyware on it (still don't know how I got infected!), and it took me almost two weeks to recover. Thankfully, I didn't have to reinstall anything, although I seriously considered the possibility.

I freely admit that losing a computer is analogous to losing an appendage or an eye. Make that both eyes, an arm, and both legs! Just have to keep telling myself, "My sufficiency is in Christ. My sufficiency is in Christ...." :)

I also write occasionally and fondly remember that my most creative period was late elementary through high school. I remember our first computer and the first editor I ever used. We had DOS 2.0 (or something like that) and it came with Edlin, which was almost as user-unfriendly as a typewriter. As its name implies, it was a line editor, meaning that you could only edit your document one line at a time! YUK!!!!