April 22, 2015

Technology

This morning, I am feeling marginally clever, as I am moving things from our old computer's hard drive to my external hard drive. Really, I am just using something my brother in law gave me, with instructions of "Plug this into an outlet. Plug this one into a USB port. Transfer your stuff." So it isn't exactly rocket science. Still, it makes me feel intelligent.

We got a new computer in December, since the laptop we had been using for a year and a half wouldn't turn on. We got a desktop computer, with Windows 8. There were so many negative reviews about Windows 8, I contemplated spending several hundred more dollars on a computer with Windows 7. My cheapness won out. We don't do anything too exciting with our computer--internet, photos, a few games, and music is about as exciting as we get. That is worth a few hundred to do, but not a lot of hundreds.

Despite dire predictions, Windows 8 is fine. You get used to the differences pretty quickly. But then, I am not technologically minded. In Windows 8, when you open a program it generally goes full screen. And when you want to shut it, you go up to the right hand corner and suddenly an "x" pops out and you shut it. A month or so ago, the "x" function disappeared.  We had to use the windows button on the keyboard to navigate around. Then last night, the "x" started to appear again. To the technologically minded, this would be a mystery to ferret out and solve, probably resulting in more negative views of Windows 8 or this particular computer. I, on the other hand, am delighted, as though the computer just played a fun magic trick. I know there are solid, logical reasons for all the things computers do, but I can't help being amazed and consigning all parts of computer reasoning that I can't (or won't) wrap my brain around, to the realm of fairy tales. And really, they aren't far off. Awhile ago, we saw an Amazon promotion for something called the Echo. It is a speaker you plop somewhere in your house and it will do things for you. You call it Alexa and whenever you say Alexa, it will do what  you tell it after the word Alexa. "Alexa, add peanuts to the shopping list." "Alexa, play kids songs." "Alexa, what is the weather in Timbuctoo?" "Alexa, wash the floor." (Ha! If that thing did house work, it would be firmly installed in our house.) All that is pretty magical. But also slightly creepy. Since I think of it all as magical, I never trust any of it. The Echo is scanning everything  you say, all the time, to listen for the word Alexa. Some freaky little obedient speaker is listening to everything you say. Weird. People that understand how these things work, probably understand all the non-hacking things they included and it isn't weird. But as for me and my house, we will stick with a paper and pencil. Or a smartphone. (But not siri, who is sort of like the Echo. I can look up my own weather, random facts, and start my own music, thanks just the same.)

And then these smart watches. Ow! You can check your email, text, pay for things, get directions, monitor your activity, travel to the moon, and even tell time, all from your wrist.

I already feel myself becoming a fuddy dud. In ten years, my kids will be rolling their eyes at my amazement and incomprehension.


And since we are talking about computers, here is a picture of me staring vacantly at a computer screen, courtesy of one of my kids, that I discovered on my phone. Not the most flattering picture, but it seemed pertinent. And I had no other picture to put with this post. And what good is a post without a picture? 

And now I need to get off the computer, so this is not how my kids remember me. "Mom? Oh, you mean that lady who sat very still, with a slightly blue face?" 

3 comments:

Geri Douglas said...

I really on Philip for all my computer stuff, and he just ordered a new computer for me that I should be getting next week, in San Diego where we will be. This computer is getting old, at 3 years old, sometimes it refuses to start for me for days, annoying since it is the only way I keep from being totally bored in motels when Scott is out scouting, and then all my pictures I dread to think of them being zapped up in the computer space somewhere forever lost!! So I hope I can transfer them to my new computer. Scott insists I spend two days and start deleting some of them. ick. I like taking them but not going back two years to delete, sort of like cleaning dust in the rafters, not fun.

Jolene Crites said...

LOL! We are getting old, aren't we? My kids are sure that our computer is the oldest one still working. That Echo thing creeps me out, too. As well it should. If they can listen in on our phone conversations and read our emails, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't try to listen to our household! I'm currently {sort-of} listening to the audio book about Alan Turing, who "invented" the computer. There's a fiction version that wasn't available, so I got the non-fiction version. It includes a whole chapter of how he actually came up with the process a computer uses, which is a lot of alga rhythms and ones, spaces, lefts, rights, etc. I just let it blissfully float by me with no comprehension! But somewhere in there is a great story about how he solved the Enigma Code during WWII. It'll come. Or I'll give up and wait for the fiction version to be available. lol! I like your picture, and your description of how you fear your kids will remember you as having a slightly blue face. Ha!

Virginia said...

I don't mean to burst your bubble, but I'm prettttttty sure that if someone nefarious wanted to eavesdrop on your convo, they totally could sans-Echo... Hahaha! Anyways, yeah, technology kind of seems like a bother i.e. external hard drives and computers doing what they want. That said, I totally love the fact that I can, at any point in time, find out just about any info tidbit I want. Wikipedia is my homie. One of these days, I should donate during their drives. Also, I literally lol-ed at you thinking it was a fun magic trick.