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I go around singing “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”, which has become my theme song ever since I got this you know what computer.
Nobody that is except the wonderful young man who handles my stuff at the paper, my daughter, my son, my granddaughters, several people who work for my daughter, a couple of computer experts in India, and two wonderfully sympathetic and helpful young fellows in Canada who troubleshoot for my provider company. I’m sure I’ve left out somebody. I feel as if I were accepting an academy award reading a thank you list.
I am convinced no one has ever had had as much trouble as I learning how to use one of these things. There may be a few somewhere, locked up in rubber rooms, muttering to themselves, and writing incoherently on paper using ball point pens. Which is where and how I may end up if I don’t get a grip.
All I really remember from the years of using one in the office, is how to turn it, (it is how I’ll refer to the machine from this point on), off and on, how to get it to print and how to do a few editing jobs like correcting typos and misspelling. Which, incidentally, I’ve just had to do twice. Everything I did was creative writing which I found was not difficult to do on it.
My problems at the office all had to do with my inadvertently hitting the wrong key, usually with the drastic result of losing everything I had written and having to do it all over again. When I learned how to use the save key it made a big difference so long as somebody would take over and find and rescue anything that survived. Whenever I was in big trouble I yelled “Help” and someone would come running. If they ever cussed me out, and I’m sure they wanted to, they did it quietly so I wouldn’t hear it.
When my hated electronic home companion was first set up, I sat at my daughter’s right elbow as she showed me how to find the few operations I needed. As she demonstrated, her daughter wrote every move down in a notebook, being as explicit and simplistic as possible - as if she were writing for the benefit of a small child. When they were through I could find my way to the space I needed for the column. I also had instructions on how to send it to the office.
The first attempt never made it, nor did the second. I had made contact with my mentor at the office, one which has saved my sanity ever since, though probably has ruined his. He discovered that the method I had been taught was not the right one for my at task. Talking me through a different one was like someone in a control tower, talking a passenger through landing a plane after the pilot had a heart attack. It worked. Of course, there were several times after that when it didn’t because I had, once again, managed to hit the wrong key at the wrong time. Even though I became hysterical on occasion and even burst into tears once, my life saver never lost his cool. If I ever win the lottery I’m going to buy him two cars.
On innumerable occasions when unexpected problems pop up I’ve had to call family members, all of whom are very familiar with computers. They, too, have been amazingly patient, although I’m sure they winced every time they answered my phone calls.
Just last week something happened for which, bless the mark, I was not responsible. In the middle of writing an e-mail, (yes, I’ve learned how to do this function properly), a box popped up on the screen demanding that I log in, whatever that means. Logging in entailed providing the user’s name and password. These had been provided for me, by my daughter, months ago and not used since, but I remembered them and entered them, only to be told, both were wrong, to do them again. Here I must point out that if you make an error, it gets rather nasty. I tried four times to get logged to no avail, using every variation on the two words that I could muster. Finally, I called the provider and after going through about six menus, ended up talking to a technician with an unfathomable accent. We finally ended up with her taking over my computer and trying to get me logged. Lo, and behold she had the same set of problems and she knew what she was doing. She finally gave me a new variation on my name and a new password, assuring me everything was fixed.
Well, guess what? Yesterday, the same box popped up and, using the new name and password, I received the same rude order to do it again. This time I went straight to the provider and ended up working with two technicians, the second of whom knew more than the first. Again, I was assured that the glitch was not mine. After two hours they finally reached the point where they swore it was all fine. They, thank goodness, were working in Ontario, Canada and when I told them I knew that without being told because they both said aboot and oot instead of about and out. They insisted they did not.
We ended up having a pretty good time and my blood pressure dropped down to its healthy level. I also have a direct phone number to call. I can now list Lorenzo and Todd to my long list of CEP’s - Computer Emergency Providers.
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