I consider myself a relatively competent user of technology. Oh, I know I’m not anywhere near as savvy as say, my twenty-something daughter and her friends, but I get by. I’m doing just fine, for a fifty-something. I use a computer for writing tonnes both at work and at home, I research bags of topics on a regular basis, I use email a lot, I can download and view TV programs, I regularly download music from various online sources, I use each of my several iPods quite handily, I am a regular purchaser of stuff online, I have a mobile phone and I know how to text (though I don’t like to, as my phone plan charges me 20¢ per text sent – gotta get that changed!), I can use my GPS quite well, I set up my digital box for my TV all by myself …
I could go on, but I’m running out of examples.
My point is that I generally know what I’m doing with a lot of technology. Even DD says so, much as it must have pained her to say it that one time. I do know, however, that there are a lot of facets to this techie stuff that are well beyond me, lots of things that I have no idea how to even access, much less use properly.
I don’t actually use one, as I prefer the trackpad on my laptop at home. At work, my big old eMac has an attached mouse, which works pretty well for me, since I got into the system preferences and changed the mouse settings to my satisfaction. This simple operation is apparently far too complex for most of my work colleagues, who would rather whine and complain that their – er, mouses? mice? what the hell IS the accepted plural term for a computer mouse?
Anyway, PG does have a wireless computer mouse, with which I gifted him last year. I set it up for him as well (as complicated a procedure as THAT is), since he’s not exactly a computer whiz.
PG called me on Friday afternoon with a question. “My mouse isn’t working. How do I get the computer to make the trackpad work?”
“You have to go into system prefs -”
He interrrupted me. “But I can’t move the mouse to get there.”
I pondered that. “Good point. Try shutting down your computer completely, then booting it back up. Sometimes that helps.”
“Okay. I’ll try that. Stupid mouse. It was working just fine last night and now it doesn’t even show that blue light at the bottom any more.”
“What? No light? So it’s really not working at all?”
It was right about then that DD strolled into the room and overheard my part of the conversation. She looked at me questioningly. I got the idea to ask her since she is my resident computer expert. She is also quite inexpensive in that she works for food. And lodging. She makes me tea sometimes, too.
“Let me ask DD – hang on. Hey, DD, why might PG’s mouse not be working? He says the light isn’t even on. What can he do about it?”
DD gazed at me for a long time. I started to think that I had said something stupid again. She just kept looking at me. Then she spoke, slowly and carefully, as if talking to a dangerous and rabid dog that might suddenly lash out and bite one’s leg off.
“If the light isn’t on, it’s probably because the batteries are dead. He should open up the mouse – there’s a little indent on the bottom to do that – and replace them.”
I was stunned. A wireless mouse has batteries?! It needs batteries to work?!
Like I said, I may know a techie thing or two, but I still have a lot to learn.
And DD is still looking at me in a kind, pitying sort of way. And she’s still making me cups of tea.