Try as I might, there doesn’t seem to be any hope of me ever really, truly figuring out computers.
Sure, I can use one to type my stories on, download photos, the normal things we have to do every week to get the newspaper out. Nowadays, I can also navigate my way around our websites and Facebook but that’s about it. Let it throw any kind of curve ball at me and I’m pretty much lost.
Regardless, now I have my work computer and one at home. Both are laptops, old and more than a little outdated, but still doing the job. Well, for the most part.
We repurposed an unused laptop at work for me to take home; that way I could stop docking and undocking the one on my desk at the office several times a week. So even though the one on my work desk is technically a laptop it now is (hopefully) permanently docked and connected to the big monitor. Saves me from hauling it back and forth on those nights I work late and the weekends when I try to get a little bit ahead.
It’s just a little unusual, though; maybe call it a glitch. The laptop I now have at home won’t connect to our networks at work as me; it is done under the nickname of the prior user. For some reason, when I log in as me, I can’t access anything from work. But logging in as my new alter ego, it lets me. We thought we set it up to recognize me but, apparently not. I am sure there’s a way I could take the laptop back in and have it reconfigured so I could just be me all the time but, whatever.
As long as the stories I get done and drop into our ‘Editorial’ folder from my home are actually where I need them to be the next day, that’s okay with me.
Such as this column; I am writing it from home and will send it to myself. If you are reading it, well, the system worked.
Computers can also tell, I suspect, how their user approaches them; what kind of comfort level the user has. They can smell fear, just like animals.
Remember Hal? From the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hal kind of took over. He was the onboard computer. Hal made things a bit difficult for his astronaut companions.
But I digress. My computer is not named Hal; it doesn’t even have a name. But it seems to behave much better when our resident IT guru Rich is working on it or even just looking at it. I could be having a major issue and, as soon as Rich arrives, the computer is on its best behavior. Trying to get it to have the same problem while he is standing looking over my shoulder at the screen, it just won’t do it. Perhaps that’s the computer’s way of not getting fixed; if you can’t make it show you the problem, how can you take care of it?
So we learn as we go; I try my best not to make my computer mad at me and also try to praise it when it works hard all day without shutting down randomly. Those out-of-the-blue shutdowns are just scary; what if it doesn’t come back? I understand my computer is getting older and it’s full of way more stuff than it really needs. Perhaps it’s time for some cleaning out of old files and freeing up some memory.
Computers are really wonderful things, you just have to come to an understanding with them, I think.
And I am understanding a little more each day, especially since my iPhone is, as many people tell me, a ‘handheld computer’ and I am still learning how to use it. Even that is a little tricky; although now that I have been informed about locking the screen, I haven’t accidentally FaceTime’d anyone in a while. And one of the first things I had my daughter do was shut off Siri; I just didn’t want her listening to me all the time. Sometimes my little handheld computer still wants me to check the stock market or opens up a music app for me but, other than that, the phone pretty much minds its own business. Which is just fine with me.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.