2017-09-20 / Loose Ends

Crash course

Computerese, if you please
Susan Nienow

Can’t live with them and can’t live without them. Computers. My mind does not work anything like a computer. My logic is squiggly. When my computer is acting out, I do the only thing I know how to – call my other half. Usually he can “fix” it.

The problems are rarely complicated and usually respond to rebooting. That is the step I can never remember. Since I am not terribly computer compatible, I don’t do the logical thing; I just panic and yell for help.

Yesterday when I was preparing to write this column on a different topic, my computer crashed. The reason I know that is the message on the screen said it did. And it failed to respond to any of the keys on the keyboard. I have no idea what I did to cause this, so I can’t be careful to not do it again.

I prefer to think there are computer gremlins – closely related to the ones that inhabit anything else I don’t understand, like my car, my phone and anything programmable. They must be generally benevolent, with one or two errant ones running amok.

In this case my computer reloaded the operating system by itself. Or so it said. (Pardon my computerese. I only know a few words of that language.) How did it know it was supposed to do that? Did the crash send an alert? All my files were saved, too. I am grateful to that gremlin.

Then there is my phone. I know what kind it is and that my case is purple. I can make and receive phone calls as long as there isn’t anything complicated like it connecting to my car computer. It does that automatically but I don’t know how to stay connected to that person when I get home and want to go in the house. So far I have disconnected the phone when I turn the car off. It doesn’t transfer back to my phone.

I don’t really need to know that, because I will either forget it before I use it the next time or will end up with a new phone that doesn’t work the same way. The last time I needed to put someone’s phone number in my contact list, I got frustrated trying to do it in public, so I just handed it to a young person standing nearby and asked her to do it for me.

She was very gracious and just said, “Sure, no problem. I get confused sometimes, too.” I doubted that but was thankful for the help. I am getting better at some of the regular functions on the phone. I try to practice sometimes in the evenings.

That is something no true computer person would have to do. It would just come naturally. Nothing about using a computer comes naturally to me except typing. I love that feature. But when it comes to syncing things or creating new folders or playlists, I am clueless. I think computers should come with teenagers already installed.

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