A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Born in the Shadow of the Computer (Part One)

"Technology has exceeded our humanity"
"Technology has exceeded our humanity" (Photo credit: Toban B.)
         When I was sat down in front of the Wang computer,  my mind became befuddled.   What was presented as an opportunity was an intimidation that I backed away from.  Now I don't even recall why I was given this opportunity.  It was like the memory of a bad experience that had been erased from my mind.

           This was when I was in high school, about 1968, and it had something to do with Spanish class.  At least this is the class I relate this to.  A hand picked group of promising students was sent to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to learn this new computer technology.  Obviously I was the wrong choice.  I learned nothing and remember nothing.

           So goes the story of my life with computers. The technology loomed large on the horizon casting a shadow over some of us while shining brightly for others.  Though I liked the science fiction nature of it all, the reality merely left me confused.  I've never been too very good with technical or mechanical things.

           The computers continued to pervade every aspect of life as I sometimes felt more and more left behind.   The computer age had already begun by the time I was born in 1951 and yet from the standpoint of those machines I was an anachronistic holdover from another time.  I was not the only one.  There were many of us.  I would like to have been in mental sync with the technology, but my mind refused to cooperate.  Or perhaps I was too stubborn to learn.

         And so it went for the next twenty years, me out of sync with the encroaching new world of computing and computers everywhere, all around me.  I was using them and never thought about how pervasive computers were in every aspect of my life.   Oblivious to the reality, but knowing that the societal evolution was happening with or without me.   I was not part of the equation.

         Then at the end of the 80's, the era of MTV and techno music that signaled the take-over of modern culture by computers, I emerged into this silicon world like a new born baby.

(Due to current computer problems this will be continued...)

         Have you had difficulty adjusting to modern technology?   Are computers more of a bane or a blessing to you?    How have computers directly affected your life?

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  1. Hi Lee - it's been a fascinating journey .. I was lucky as I was a typist and therefore the machine and the keyboard didn't really hold any fears. But so many things are available and I feel way out of it often - then I bring myself back into line and say "I know more than most people" .. and work my way round things that I don't understand ... til I can find someone to help me, find a course, or just work it out (when my brain is more in tune) ...

    Cheers - your idea of the A-Z is one of the best ideas around!! Have a great weekend .. Hilary

  2. I was in high school in the late 70's. They offered a computer class that actually had no computers! LOL They explained how they worked and the old punch cards they used to have to have and how binary code is only 0's & 1's.

    My first job, part time in high school, they had a calculator with a cartridge and calculated withholding for payroll. That was the closest thing to a computer I had touched by 1980. I started bookeeping with the peg board system. Then I went to work in '81 at the local lumber mill. They had a computer room, that had huge machines like on I Dream of Jennie when they showed the shots of NASA. Had to keep it cold in there. Everyone who worked in those departments had to wear sweaters. Most of my work I simply coded and data entry put it in the computers. But I did have to do a few things at a terminal in cobalt. All I did was what they told me to do.

    Two years later I was at another company where once again they entered it in the computer, but I had to print checks in the computer room. The geek there told me there was nothing I could do to the computer they couldn't undo. That caused me to relax. I did take them a few places they had never been before. Ha!

    Then my other jobs had terminals or pc's. But I really got comfortable with it all after my hubby brought home our first second hand computer in '05. Getting it going, lining out issues, surviving virus attacks and working with a great AOL tech on the phone, I began to learn and understand a lot.

    So I'd say I have managed to grow and adapt and be at peace with most of technology.

  3. Hilary - I find it difficult to keep up with all the new innovations, but things are a darn sight easier than they were 25 years ago.

    Babara -- Your journey sounds similar to mine in some ways. I never had to deal too directly with computers in a work setting until about 1989. More on that in the next post.

    I was kind of familiar with the types of things you were working with but never actually had to work with any of it myself. But, yes, I remember those old punch cards and bubbles that had to be filled in with a #2 pencil. So primitive!


  4. I was born in 1946, and my experience was similar to yours. Now, I'm not sure I could function in today's world without a personal computer. It costs money to keep up with the technology and being on the internet, but it pays for itself in savings of time and money for paying bills and things like that. What attracted me to computers wasn't the internet, it was the word processing capability that won me over. The rest just followed.

  5. Good question, Lee. Mostly I welcome technology but i can be so easily frustrated and overwhelmed by it . Sometimes i think about completely disengaging from it. I like email ad have few problems with it. - Texting? I a can taake it or leave it - cell phones, ditto - i like being able to look up stuff on the internet
    Right now I mostly miss my right hand - i am floored by how limited i am without my dominant hand!

  6. Richard -- What one can do on a computer is invaluable and I wouldn't want to give any of it up now that I've experienced it. Word processing was what made me buy my first computer. I didn't even know much about the other capabilities. It's an amazing world of technology.

    Gracie-- I have yet to ever try texting. Don't know that I need it. Email is very useful and convenient, but it can become overwhelming when too many start coming.


  7. Early computers were a pain. A minor hit would wipe out anything you had just entered (kind of like Bloggers eats comments). But I learned on an ongoing basis and volunteered for any computer courses that came along.

    I also was part of a in-house team that edited and published intercompany instructions and material for a corporation.

    We started out with DOS, and were ecstatic when Windows came along. I think it's good to keep learning, even if we grumble at first.

  8. I finally was starting to get the hang of doing advertising promotions on the computer until the magazine I worked for was sold. Then in 1986, I went to a large publishing company, and shared a secretary who only typed on a typewriter. It's impressive that you were chosen for that special program, but I'm sure it would've been less frustrating if you had been given more time.


  9. I remember San Jose State University and my first DOS class - all I remember is how big the computer was...took up almost an entire building it seemed, and looking at it through those giant glass windows terrified me! I certainly was not equipped to learn about and understand operating systems or the language of computers at the time!

  10. DG -- I shouldn't have been so resistant, but I was even after Windows came along. I can be stubborn when it comes to technological change.

    Julie -- That special program was wasted on me since I didn't learn anything and don't even remember much of anything about what we did there.

    MJ -- Thank goodness we no longer have to deal with the complex languages, though still I'd like to know more about what's going on with some of them.


  11. HI Arlee!

    I was just young enough and lucky enough to grow up with computers that I didn't have to do much adjustment. I had a tech-savvy uncle who taught us to use computers in the days of Basic programming. Our first computer was a Texas Instruments IT 99/4a. And I was required to take typing class in high school -- was in one of the last classes that learned on typewriters.

    It's definitely changed my life. I think for the better, especially now that social media is well-developed and we can have things like blogs with simple-and-easy pingbacks.

    Thanks for joining in the #geekpastiche blog party and for visiting so many folks. I'm doing the visits now and collecting links to tweet later.


    - Gene'O
    Instigator-in-Chief at Sourcererblog

    1. Typing was definitely one of the most useful high school classes I ever took. My father got into computers in about 1987, but I couldn't grasp what was happening. Thank goodness Windows and all the other things that made computing easier came along for me.



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