Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Computers. Can't live with them, can't live without them anymore.

*Look for a new Posting every Tuesday and Friday*

Okay, maybe it wasn't this long ago.
When I was attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, one of the more interesting side-shows was going on down where the University's computer lived on Cumberland Avenue.  That would be "the" University computer in its very own building; one computer in one large ground floor room with hundreds of cabinets displaying huge reels turning in start and stop motion.  The workers inside all wore white overalls and dust masks to protect the data being stored.  Back then I guess they thought "viruses" came from people's bodies  not they minds.

More like this.
The "information" storage capacity of the entire building was less than that of a hand-held Apple iPhone today.  Is that mind-blowing or what?  Actually it is, only to those of us "Baby Boomers" who can still barely figure out where the "on" button is on our laptops.  Children of today can't even fathom what these two pictures above are.  Last summer, one of my grandchildren (she will go unnamed) pointed to something and asked,"What is THAT?!"  It was a rotary telephone

Catherine LeDuke gave birth to three of those Baby Boomers but that did not stop her from becoming fairly computer literate in the 1990's after she had retired from a career as one of Lake County's most revered High School teachers.  She had taken on the task of compiling and typing the stories being submitted to the Lake County Historical Society by the families for the book being published about WWII Veterans.  After spending hours on her computer she had to figure out how to put all these stories in some sort of order so that the book could be turned over to the publisher for printing. She became quite adept at emailing, word processing, and scanning photos.

I bring up the subject of computers because I just spent a good part of Monday trying to get my desk-top freed from the assorted "viruses" that were somehow running amok inside my fairly new computer.  I have no clue what I did to acquire the varmints that were causing me such headaches, but the problem had me locked out of my blog-site; and Monday night is when I usually put the finishing touches on the "Tuesday Posting."  All three of my readers would have been devastated if they had to go through an entire Tuesday without their fix.

They've come a long way...
To help me with this problem I called on a computer tech outfit that I have termed "the boys in the garage."  I call them that because the first time I needed real help to fix a problem they succeeded and talked me into a years contract to keep my CPU clean (that's "computer talk" for the tower-thingy that sits on the floor under my desk that I am told is more powerful that 100 of those computer buildings on my 1964 UT campus).

When I first had dealings with the "garage boys" about 6 months ago I had the impression that they were from North Carolina or Virginia.  They all sounded young and very helpful, but I couldn't get the image out of my mind that I was talking to some 14 year-old sitting in the corner of his dad's garage.  What did I care who these guys were as long as they made it possible for me to get my e-mail, access my blog to keep my fans happy, and get me re-connected to YouTube so I could watch "funny car accidents in Russia."

Yesterday, however, my "boys" seem to have moved their garage to India, totally lost their southern accents, and started talking to me like I actually knew what the "address box" was or where the "Control - Alt" key was located on my keyboard.  And of course worst of all, they DID NOT SPEAK UNDERSTANDABLE ENGLISH.

Someone please tell me why any company who needed to provide "Customer Service" would hire non-English speaking employees?  Obviously, none of the Upper Management people of big companies who farm out their customer service departments to foreign countries ever have a piece of their own personal equipment breakdown.  They must never have issues themselves that require them to communicate with a individual from New Delhi.

Now let me be clear here, I have nothing against India, I have nothing against Indians.  And, I truly feel sorry for anyone, whether from India or a garage in North Carolina, who has to attempt to communicate with me with the goal of "fixing" my computer.  All these folks get high marks for patience in keeping their cool as I repeated (politely, I might add) constantly: "I am afraid I do not understand what you are asking me to do", "I'm sorry, what was that you said?", "Now what key do you want me to hit?"

In frustration, after passing the phone around the entire room in Kanpur, all parties agreed that I should call Microsoft.  They gave me the phone number, we wished each other "Have a good day," and parted company.  I called the phone number I had been given and asked for Tech Support and a very nice man with a thick Pakistani accent asked me "How can I be of service to you?"  I hung up.


Amanda advising her dad concerning
the proper placement of "periods."
Amanda was having such a good day on Monday prior to receiving my phone call.  She works for the Center for Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville.  She has not learned any Asian languages yet so I felt comfortable calling her to seek accent-free advice concerning my computer dilemma.  It was early evening when I initiated my phone call to her and close to midnight when we finally said "Good Night."  She fixed me.

I won't bore my readers with the details of the "fix," primarily because I don't understand exactly what was done.  But I will brag on the tenacity of my youngest daughter.  Her patience was incredible.  Her knowledge of all things digital is impressive to me even given how easily I am impressed.

Grandson Henry and his blue ribbons
could have fixed it in no time!

And I will forgive her for suggesting that I should go get my 7 year-old grandson, Henry, so that she could have someone on the keyboard to execute the many maneuvers that she had me doing during the evening.

While I am singing Amanda's praises I should once again confess that the "postings" on this blog are truly a joint effort between Amanda and I.  I usually write a few hundred words on whatever subject pops into my head.  I find whatever pictures I have at my disposal and add them in the appropriate places.  And then the real work of making it all look readable, orderly, and grammatically correct is done by Amanda.  She is the one who knows how to add all those highlighted "links" and occasionally adds to the "copy" of the posts to make me sound much better than I really am. [Ed. -- She also makes 21st century corrections like changing "I-Phone" to "iPhone" and "U-Tube" to "YouTube."  For example.]

As co-author of this blog she has made several posts of her own and since Fathers Day is approaching this Sunday she is giving me Friday off so that she can do the posting.  She has shown me a draft and it appears that she is going to share a letter that she wrote a couple of years ago to my father James Neville LeDuke.  Since I am also a subject of this letter, it seems awfully self-serving to me, but then I have regularly said that this entire blogging experience is really about "me", so I look forward to her posting this Friday.

In the meantime I will cross my fingers that my computer stays healthy and virus free.  I really don't want to have to bother my boys in the garage again.


Jimmy LeDuke (I'd love to hear from you...feel free to comment below, or click HERE to send me an e-mail.)

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