Oh ! Computers!

There is such a lot in the news at present about AI.  When it takes over I fear I will be the first against the wall.

My father bought a word processor (possibly off the back of a van) because he wanted to be up to date.  This was undoubtedly an ambition in one who had not even touched an electric typewriter because he had had a secretary for that.  He then took great delight for the next few years in being unable to make the processor do anything he wanted and took greater delight in telling of friends his age who had defenestrated their computers in frustrated rage.  After he died I looked for the word processor, but it had vanished (and I did check outside under the windowsills).

I find myself now turning into that aged and frustrated person.  The tech is utterly beyond me.  I know I do a blog and have done so for nearly fifteen years.  But I can do this because the S&H who has a degree in computers, taught his idiot mother how to do a blog and, to help matters along I just do exactly what he told me.  If you are looking for anything fancy (though we did jointly do a moving cartoon, long, long ago) look elsewhere.  You’ll get words here and also, pictures. To qualify: nice ones, and, in focus.

The OH however thinks he knows what to do with computers.  To be fair it was he who started this family off on the computers, buying a keyboard and watching the BBC programmes on how to programme on a Saturday morning.  He plugged the keyboard into the TV and words appeared on the screen.  He saved his work Hello.  How are you?  on to a cassette in the tripe recorder so that he could begin again next Saturday.  I, meanwhile, was teaching exam crammer classes and the S&H was left with the OH while I did so.  Thus it was that the S&H learned to press escape or delete while the OH was thinking what to do next and then roll away laughing, because this was before he could even walk.

So in our house computers were boys’ toys and I thought they were just a fad, which will be proved wrong when the AI takes over any day now.

Joining in about twenty years later, I suddenly realised you could use computers to write books and to shop and to keep up with long distance friends.

So the latest novel, written with an ever more complex operating system has been messed about with by the OH trying to help, but actually getting annoyed and shouting.  Now my page numbers have disappeared, the text is in three boxes across the screen and it’s the same on the memory stick and I am so frustrated I keep thinking what a satisfying crash there will be as the laptop exits the full length upstairs window.

I am so grateful the S&H has his mother’s temperament.  Patient and a natural teacher is he.  It looks as if he has found an idiot mother app thingy to help with extracting extracts.  I knew how to do this but don’t since the latest update.  Why has nobody invented Windows Idiot yet?  Why all these all singing, all dancing updates?  What we need is a Seniors Operating System.  The SOS should have a calm voiced very nice lady who can be available on a phone without being played Vivaldi in a queue, know exactly what idiot thing you have done and how to put things back as they were.

The S&H did have his own firm for a while which did exactly that.  He anticipated businesses would be as rubbish as his mother but still need to be helped and would pay for the help.  He’s a clever lad who has given this up in favour of a wage, which is a good thing, because he also inherited his mother’s business brains which are minute and dusty.

If the novel ever gets sufficiently organised in the computer to be sent off again and then gets published, it will be a miracle.  The books will be printed on vellum and encased in little gold boxes, probably.  Do you recall the ancient gospel dragged out for the coronation, carefully carried round on a velvet cushion?  Like that, only more so.

I believe the tech got above itself.  The words are still what count.  However, the medium is the message, which is why, when you defenestrate your laptop, you are merely striking the happy medium, and shouldn’t be blamed, at all.


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