Tread lightly around the tech gods
The fine motor skills of our opposable thumbs set human beings apart from the rest of the creatures on earth. These large digits on the sides of our hands allow us to create and use sophisticated tools. Primitive man invented the wheel and modern...
The fine motor skills of our opposable thumbs set human beings apart from the rest of the creatures on earth. These large digits on the sides of our hands allow us to create and use sophisticated tools. Primitive man invented the wheel and modern man invented the computer.
Some tools become such a part of everyday life that they almost become an appendage themselves. Since I began working at the PJ last June, it seems the mouse on my Macintosh has become a natural extension of my right hand. My work day begins and ends with its smooth, white shape clicking in the palm of my hand directing the e-mail, Adobe InCopy and Internet to open and close.
While technology is an integral part of my job, and modern life in general, I wouldn't describe it as my best friend.
Computers are wonderful tools for obtaining information and digital cameras make work a lot easier. There are times, however, when these sophisticated contraptions can make a person envy the days when the latest innovation was rubbing two sticks together to create fire.
Working on the Mac OS X at work goes smoothly most of the time. Until the occasional spinning color wheel pops up and stops my work or a revised document reverts to a rough draft for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, I am not likely to approach my work stoppage with an intelligent problem-solving attitude. Instead, my primitive nature cries "What Sara do anger computer gods!?" as I stare into the glowing box of inscrutability that is my computer screen.
My regression into a prehistoric, club-toting cave woman usually isn't necessary for long, however. Restarting the computer or soliciting the assistance of a more tech-savvy coworker usually does the trick.
Even though I feel momentarily helpless over an inoperative Mac, I don't feel too bad about my ignorance. There are very few people who actually understand the inner workings of computers. And thank goodness for these individuals. I get a headache listening to a tech support person discuss the complicated intricacies of our electronic friends. I think it is all of the numbers, abbreviations and tech lingo that are a bit of a turnoff. Terms such as 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 120 gb don't give off a very friendly, want-to-get-to-know-you vibe. I am glad somebody understands them.
I leave most of the techno-babble at the office, however. While I couldn't get through a week without the Internet and its limitless avenues of research at work, my home remains unconnected to the information superhighway. It all comes down to budgeting. It's a little frightening to start adding up the monthly bills for a cell phone, cable and Internet. I am sure, however, that I will eventually bite the bullet and get online.
But I suppose my first priority should be going to the bother and expense of purchasing my own computer. For now, I am using the computer of a friend who doesn't have room in her efficiency apartment for her Dell. That means deciding what features I want, which first means researching what features I need. Not fun.
My natural tendency is to remain in a comfort zone of obliviousness as far as techno-knowledge is concerned. But I am thankful that I'm forced to learn about new programs and tools and incorporate them into my life. Ignorance isn't bliss. Even if it means spending so much time with gadgets that they feel like they become a part of me.
In spite of a desire to be progressive, I think I'll still occasionally indulge in a more regressive approach to dealing with technology. There are volatile computer gods that need appeasing, after all. It doesn't hurt to take a little time to perform ritual techno dances around my desk and offer floppy disks as sacrifices. There are stories to research and write today, and I've discovered it's best to keep the gods of my electronics happy. It's really the only intelligent thing to do.