Thursday, January 29, 2015


My son downloaded and installed Windows 10 on his machine. He did this after he heard that it was available on one of the corners of social medial which he hangs. The good news is that it worked very well, and it has done everything that has been asked of it. So far. Do I know if this will last? If it doesn't, will he come to me, looking for a solution? I'm not sure what to tell him if he does.
Updates are a vital and ever-present part of the circle of cyber life. I tend to ignore most calls from my task bar to check this or that program. I believe that, for the most part I should dance with the one what brung me. If that sounds a little backwards and country, that may explain a lot about my approach to technology. I am the guy who tells his students about the punch cards he had to make in order to use the one computer at his high school. The one that was only available after school, and if you got a card wrong or out of sequence, you missed your turn and you had to wait until there was another clear hour of computing time. I don't know why I tell kids this. Probably for the same reason I feel compelled to use the word "brung" in order to sound more colloquial. Nevertheless, I am expressly familiar with the history of computers, having played a tiny part in the inception of the age. I programmed in Basic, and learned DOS prompts in order to make the terminals function at the video store I ran back in college. The idea that there was something other than an operating system was foreign to me. That's about the time the Macs started showing up.
They were so very cute and likable. They talked to you in ways that didn't seem like robot overlords. I didn't own one, since the idea of a "personal computer" seemed too incredibly space age for me. I stuck with my electric typewriter for at least another five years after Commodore 64s and the like began to become pervasive. I did not own a PC until I moved to California. That seems very odd to say now: "I did not own PC until I moved to California." When I needed to use a computer, I went to my mother's house, where I found a big, strong DELL that she used for her accounting business. I typed my little stories in there, played a game of Captain Comic, and I was on my merry way. I didn't concern myself with the maintenance of her machine. Every so often I dropped by and moved something to or from floppy disc so that I could pretend to be computer literate, but I was faking. Big time.
By the time I started teaching technology to kids, I had been the proud owner of exactly one computer. I nursed it through hard drive evolutions that eventually put it through the change from Windows 3 to Windows 98. From XP to Windows 7, neatly bypassing the reviled and stinky Vista. It was right around this time that my son began to get his fingers in the porridge. He happily engaged in all the pointing and flipping required of a touchscreen tablet running Windows 8. I watched in wonder. Somewhere in the background you could hear my wife cursing under her breath of the latest jungle cat to be stuck with the name of a Mac OS: Ocelot. Caracal. At some point over the course of any given week, one member of our family is busily replacing and/or repairing the operating system of their computer. Not because it needs to be, but because we were told to. We wouldn't want to miss out on the newest feature. Or bug. Or the opportunity to reset the clock once again to prepare to make the next step in the unending series of making things ever easier to play Tetris.

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