Monday, December 2, 2013

A Technological Dinosaur

I started with a Commodore 64 and I used to type in games and other programs out of magazines. This was a great way to learn some Basic Programming as I would always make some typos, and while trying to find the problem, I often learned what various commands did.  I was able then to create a little program of my own, that enabled my hubby to shave hours off a monthly task he did at home as part of his job.  I was quite proud that I had learned enough to be able to help him in that way.

As time went on, I was able to help various friends do the things they wanted to be able to do on their computers, and even became a Newbie Helper on the 50Plus chat room. I was pretty good at that as I was able to get 80 year olds, who had never had a computer before, to understand and implement what I was telling them.  And all that was done online, though the chat window, or sometimes by private message.

Times have changed however, and the technology has been developing so quickly I have had trouble keeping up with it. I'm still working on an old Windows XP machine (which I will cling to as long as I possibly can). I also now have a second hand laptop, but I seldom use it as I find it awkward to type on, and often revert to the two fingered method (and I really don't want to do that).  My young grandsons both have  iPads, and I'd love one, but I'm not sure it would suit my needs. I want something with a USB port, so I can load geocaching way points on it if we find ourselves with some spare time while away from home.  Today there are so many different tablets, and I hear they don't all do the same things, so I'm leery about choosing the wrong one.

Recently my house phone got short circuited by a snow storm and I had to resort to using my cell phone.  I was on a pay as you go plan, which accumulated so much credit that Telus finally decided to let me use that credit if I switched over to a monthly plan instead. Now I don't have to top up every month. But when I turned the cell phone on the other day, I got an automated message from Telus saying I had to top up or I'd lose my balance. I started to reply to them, asking why I  needed to top up when I had already had a message from them recently that told me I didn't need to do that because I had over $......oh wait a minute, how do you type a number into a text message anyway?  I don't have a fancy phone with a built in keypad. I don't have a smart phone, or anything fancy at all.  My phone is the most basic model because, as I said, I don't use it for anything. My hubby uses it as a way to track me down when we get separated in a mall. He calls to ask me where I am.

While I fooled around trying to figure out how to text numbers, (and I still don't know) I got an incoming call from my hubby (he is the only one who has my number). He would have been calling to tell me when to expect the Bell Telephone guy who was supposed to come and string a new line from the pole to the house so I answered the call and immediately lost the text message I was labouring over.

When I finally got land line phone service restored, I immediately went online went online to the Telus site. I'd been without the internet for 3 days by that point, suffering, as one of my Facebook friends implied, from a severe case of withdrawal by that time.  I'm usually good at finding things online, but I discovered Telus are very good at hiding their contact information.  I finally found a chat box, and had a lovely chat with someone who assured me that the message I had received was just an automatic thing and that it would be the last one I got like that. I wasn't going to lose my balance after all. (Darn, what was that person's name in case the money disappears tomorrow and I have to get back to them?) 

I asked, since I had contact with a live person, if my new monthly plan (which gives me 50 messages or texts for the same $10 I've always paid) still included voice mail.  I was asking because I had spotted something on one of their web pages that said "Add Voice Mail" when I was hunting for some contact information.  I had earlier tried to retrieve some voice mail and couldn't get in. The phone was not recognizing the password I'm sure I've always used.  The nice person at the other end quickly decided to reset my password for me, and told me how to access it, and what to do when I did. I disconnected, thinking all was well.  I tried to get into my voice then, as I now had two messages to retrieve, but the password she had given me did not work either. Obviously she must have typed it in wrongly at her end, and I'm going to have to connect with Telus again to straighten that out.

This weekend I was at a party, and even though there where ten of us gathered at one table, several of those were busy socializing on their phones instead of with each other.  I have even seen people actually texting while jumping around on the dance floor, and for the life of me, I don't know how they managed that!  I have a hard enough time getting away from my computer as it is, so I'm pretty sure I'm better off not having such a gadget that kept me connected all the time. Not that I'd ever learn how to use it properly anyway.    

How I went from being so far ahead of others technologically, to being so far behind, is beyond me.  I doubt I'll ever get caught up now.   I've turned into a technological dinosaur. 

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