Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

November 21, 2013

Facing my technological ignorance on the path to the future

By Dan Graves Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — Supposedly, advances in technology lead us on an adventurous path into the future.

Maybe so, but from what I’ve experienced, I think I’ll saddle my mule and go in another direction. That is, if I can figure out how to program the mule. Compared to, say, 20 years ago we now live in a world controlled by continually changing and advancing forms of technology, especially in the field of electronics. Those who have grown up with these “advancements” are capable of adapting to their constantly evolving environment and actually welcoming the fact that yesterday’s wonder invention is today’s stone axe.

The term “technical evolution” to us older generation(s) people meant changing from diapers to grown up underwear. We had to drive our cars instead of today’s automobiles that drive us. Sure, everyone is tired of hearing the same old thing from the “older” generation that always starts with, “Now, back when I was kid----“, followed by an explanation of dialing a phone with your finger in a round thing full of holes or actually writing a letter.

When I was finally faced with making the transition from paper and pencil to computers in my profession I balked, using the excuse of “I’ve been doing it this way for 30 years and I’m not changing now.” But since I wasn’t from the “Dagnabbit” and “Dadgummit” generation, and if I planned to continue making a living, I had no choice. I laid down the pencil and picked up the mouse (I call it the rat).

Now I was faced with understanding such terms as DOS, RAM, CD-ROM, and HTML. Working with a brain already overloaded with years of worthless junk, I applied my own definitions to these acronyms.

DOS: Actual definition - Disc Operating System.

My definition: A device used to break up dirt clods in a plowed field being pulled by a John Deere tractor.

RAM: Actual definition - Random Access Memory

My definition: A large male member of the goat family.

CD-ROM: Actual definition - Compact Disc-Read Only Memory.

My definition: Calm Down - Return to Old Methods

HTML: Actual definition - (I still have no idea).

My definition: Holy Toledo! Mother-in-Law! when greeted at the door by a visitor with a suitcase.

Adding insult to injury, just as I was feeling a little comfortable with turning the thing on and off, a smart aleck named Bill Gates came along and dropped a rock in my churn with something called “Windows.”

Since then I’ve had to learn the purpose of those goofy looking icons while getting hopelessly lost in a maize that ends up at a site that my mama used to whip me for looking at. She would tear certain sections out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog to keep me from going down the path of shame and perdition, yet even Bubba’s Used Electric Motor Emporium web site has a purty, scantily clad young thing in its online ad. Well, yeah, I specified a lot of Bubba’s motors in my projects, but only because he sold good used motors.

In desperation, I decided to do things systematically in learning how to use Windows. I would control, evaluate, assimilate, integrate, and delegate (I just threw that in to sound like I know what I’m doing). Eventually, I learned the ins and outs of navigating through Windows. That is, until they released a new version which obsoleted all the programs I normally used for the old one.

I’ve since had to re-learn at least five newer versions in order to be compatible with my clients (all who insist on using the latest version). But the biggest conflict in the war of man vs. machine came when, after entering a command, the thing popped the following message on the screen: “Do you really want to do this?” How dare this mindless hunk of electronic gadgetry question my decision making prowess. Not until I realized that yelling at it wouldn’t make a difference did I type in my response. I can’t include that response here, but the machine got revenge by deleting part of my program. Lucky for it, it didn’t display “I told You So.” If it had, the subject material beyond this point would have been nothing more than an obituary for a Compac Presario computer.

I’m still trying to learn. Recently, I submitted a column in what must have been Ancient Sanscrit format. An e-mail from the editor informed me that they could not open it, but that I could copy and paste it to an e-mail. Do what? What’s copy and paste? My only solution is to copy and paste it into an envelope and send it via U.S. Postal-mail.

Heh, heh, take that Bill Gates.