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THAT’S SO TWENTIETH CENTURY – Part Two: Dealing with Technologically Challenged Folks

          I’m a moody person and I know it. I shouldn’t be, and it sometimes affects my relationships with others. But I have a theory; no one is on top of the world 100% of the time. Those that appear to always be in a great mood all of the time are probably hiding something. I have one friend who is always on top of the world and admonishes me when I’m down. I happen to know that particular friend is hiding sadness. When I’m in one of my dark moods, I do try to avoid being around people. My “always happy” friend tells me that I need to be around my friends and people that care about me when I’m down. I don’t agree with her. It just worsens my mood when I have to be around others when I’m in that state of mind. I’m better off being alone; take my word for it.

            Why am I telling you this? Nothing throws me into a rant or a bad mood, than having to deal with folks who are not computer literate. The technological revolution began in the mid to late 1980s and by the early 2000s, our everyday lives and the way we do things were changed completely.

            We’re talking over twenty-five years ago, when the tech revolution began. A few years back, I was talking to a woman with whom I used to be good friends, but as a result of life’s twists and turns, we just don’t see each other much anymore. She said that she hated computers. Even though she had a system in her home, she didn’t use it. Her daughter had set up the system, and then set up an email address and internet access for her. I asked her how she paid her bills every month. When she said that she wrote checks and put them in the mail, I screeched, “You’re still doing that?” I think I really hurt her feelings.

            Another friend had taken a picture of me at the beach with her digital camera. The picture was a good one and I wanted the .jpeg file. Well, she went to the drugstore and had prints made. I told her that I did not want a print that I wanted the .jpeg file and asked her would she email it to me. She didn’t know what a .jpeg file was. She didn’t even have the software package for the digital camera installed on her computer. I told her that all she had to do was install the software on her computer, hook up the USB cable that came with her camera to her PC and her camera. Then all she had to do was follow the instructions to transfer the pictures to her hard drive. Then send me an email attaching the file. When I was telling her this, she had a “deer in the headlights look” and said that she would have to have her daughter do this. Now, I shouldn’t have been that nasty to her, but why have a digital camera if you’re just going to take the camera to the drugstore and have prints made. You might as well stick with film, if they still have film. I don’t know.

            I also get mad when someone asks me how to do something on their smart phone and I tell them to read their manual or google it. Every smart phone is different and I don’t know how to do everything on every smart phone that’s out there. They promptly tell me that their phone didn’t come with a manual. I tell them that they probably need to download it from the vendor’s website and there should be a URL somewhere in the package of stuff that will take you to the place to download the manual. “Well, I don’t have time to do all of that.” “Well google it.” “Well, I’ll just have to have my children or my grandchildren do it for me.” Frankly, I don’t want some snot-nosed teenager or twenty-something messing with my stuff. No offense to the twenty-somethings that may be reading this post. They get your device and start punching buttons willy-nilly. There’s no telling what they’re messing up or what settings they’re changing. Unless someone’s phone is identical to mine, I’m not going to grab it and start pushing buttons. I don’t want to mess up their settings and besides, they need to learn how to do things for themselves. When I want to know how to do something that I can’t determine, the first thing I do is google it. They’re no better than I am. Again, I shouldn’t act like this, but I do.

            When I suggested to one friend that she take some classes, she promptly replied that she didn’t have the time to take classes. This friend is retired. In the late nineties, I was working fifty to sixty hours a week and still found time to take classes during the evenings and on Saturday. And yes, I was younger then. But I wanted to learn and knew that I had to learn because I wasn’t getting any help from my primitive company. And those classes sure paid off because when I found myself faced with a major career decision, I was able to choose to pursue a career in IT.

            When I left my primitive company in 1999, we had two transcriptionists who were using Word Perfect 5.1 on very old PCs. When the company closed, one of the ladies tried to get another job as a transcriptionist, but found that people were literally laughing at her when she said that she had extensive experience with Word Perfect 5.1 and didn’t know anything about Microsoft Word. She was also very surprised to find that transcriptionists were going out of style. Professionals and executives were typing their own letters and reports. The CEO of the company that I left in July 2013 doesn’t have a secretary. He answers his own phone and does his own typing.

            After retiring from the teaching profession, another friend of mine was appalled that you had to apply for jobs electronically and upload your resume to the prospective employer. At one time, looking for a job meant having a resume printed on high quality paper. Not anymore.

            A couple of days ago, I had a friend send me an email attaching a flyer and asking me to change something on it. I guess she did the flyer herself, but didn’t know how to make changes. It took me probably fifteen seconds to make the changes. She could have made that change if she would make an effort to get out of the eighties and into the second decade of the twenty-first century. Instead, she emailed me the flyer, I made the fifteen second change, and sent it back to her. The process took forty-eight hours and that was just ridiculous.

            To not be an embarrassment and a burden to friends, all one has to do is learn to navigate in a windows environment, learn to effectively surf the Internet, and learn how to use Microsoft Word. If you want to go a little further, you can learn how to use an Excel Spreadsheet. I don’t know what basic classes cost now, but I was able to get good deals in the nineties. If you go to a private establishment, classes will be more expensive, of course.

            I realize that this post is going to make some folks mad, but hopefully they will get over it and make an effort to get out of the eighties and perhaps into the early 2000s. Is that too much to ask? Here is a list of things that aggravate me the most.

  • Not knowing how to attach a file to an email.
  • Not checking your email regularly and depending on folks to call you to remind you about meetings and such.
  • Not knowing what you have on your computer. I recently sent a Word document to a friend. When she opened it, she saw gibberish. I asked her if she was running Word on her computer. If so, what version? “I don’t know.” I knew better than to suggest that she change the file to an .rtf format, so I changed the file on my end to a .rtf format and re-sent it to her. She could then open it.
  • Folks that won’t try to solve their problems through a user’s manual or google.
  • Folks that say they don’t have time to learn about their smart phones and tablets. I think you had better take some time.
  • Folks that are always saying that they’ll get their children to do whatever. Granted, I don’t have any children, but if I did and they were like me when I was young, I wouldn’t trust them.
  • Folks that keep their phone beside them when they’re out eating. My phone stays in my purse unless I’m expecting a phone call or a text. Then I apologize to the folks I’m with for having the phone out.
  • Folks that once said that they had absolutely no idea why anyone would need text messaging. But once they got it and started to text, can’t seem to put the phone down.

As a Baby Boomer, I have been through it all. When I was in my thirties, I said to myself and to others that when I got older, I would adhere to the following.

  • I would always make an effort to wear stylish clothes to the extent that I could.
  • I would keep up with new products and innovations.
  • I would always listen to popular/rock music

           I do make every effort to keep my wardrobe and hair up to date and avoid being a fashion faux paux at all costs. I haven’t had on a pair of pantyhose in years; much less wear them with open-toed shoes. Pantyhose? The thought makes me itch all over. I’m pretty much current with new products except for television. I don’t DVR, mainly because I barely have time to watch what I need to watch to keep up with my business. I quit listening to rock music several years ago, because I no longer identify with it. I’ve gravitated toward modern country with my favorites being Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, and Florida Georgia Line. Country’s really cool now days. Of course, I still love Jimmy Buffett and my favorite singer is Mac McAnally.

I guess this is the end of my rant. My intentions were not to make some folks mad, but to open the eyes of some folks to the fact that they’re still stuck in the eighties. We do things so much different now and will continue to do things differently. Try to learn a few things. Yes, your brain might not be what is was when you were thirty, but it’s not dead and pickled yet.

God Bless!

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