Dealing with technologyOne of my neighbors, an 80-year-old widower named Dick, has driven a battered 1968 Ford pickup since he moved in more than 15 years ago. A few months ago we noticed a 2005 Lincoln Aviator with Nevada plates parked in his yard next to the old Ford.
By: Bernie Kuntz, The Jamestown Sun
One of my neighbors, an 80-year-old widower named Dick, has driven a battered 1968 Ford pickup since he moved in more than 15 years ago. A few months ago we noticed a 2005 Lincoln Aviator with Nevada plates parked in his yard next to the old Ford.
When Dick paid us a visit, I got the story: “I bought it from an older lady from Nevada. Now all the neighborhood gossips think I have a live-in girlfriend,” he said with a smile.
“It’s a nice vehicle,” he continued, “But the thing’s got dozens of buttons and I don’t know what they are for. I leaned on the hood last week and the alarm went off. I had it for two months before I figured out how to make the windows go up and down. And when you set your seat forward you think you are going through the dashboard.
“I figured out how to open the rear cargo window, I couldn’t get the tailgate open — a secret button somewhere. I suppose I could take it to the dealership but don’t want to appear to be too dumb.”
I can totally sympathize with Dick’s predicament, because I suffer the same dilemma: I am continually confounded and puzzled by technology.
Take my recent column on travel as an example. When I saw the column on the Sun website, it was missing several of the last sentences. So when I brought it up on the screen from the storage file, I noticed something bizarre — miniature pages inserted into the last sentences. “What the hell happened?” I asked my accountant, who knows about such things.
“You tried to cut-and-paste,” he replied.
“Huh?” The only “cut-and-paste” I know how to do anymore is with a scissors and Scotch tape! Somehow, in sending the article, I bumped the wrong button and lost a few sentences, which left the column ending abruptly.
Then consider the TV, DVD and VHS player. Our 23-year-old dogsitter said he had “made things easier” for me. So now I am unable to view a DVD, VHS tape or rewind the latter! I either have to get him back here to “fix” things, or snag a 10-year-old off the street and have the kid figure it out for me.
Technology has left me behind. About 10 years ago my employer sent me to Helena for a two-day course in Power-Point. At the end of two days, I my head was spinning, and I probably had forgotten 90 percent of what was covered in the course. I struggled for days, putting together a Power Point for the boss. I left the agency a couple years later and that was the end of Power Point for me.
Last year I bought a 2000 model Lund Alaskan boat, and am looking forward to using it in Saskatchewan next month. Last summer my young friend Lee and I took the boat out onto Canyon Ferry Reservoir on the upper Missouri River. Now Lee, with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, can operate just about everything. That was good, because the boat has enough electronics on it to operate a German submarine — two depthfinders with dozens of buttons, menus, and an instruction manual that is 192 pages in length.
Also included is a GPS unit. Now, I remember a dozen or more years ago when I worked a check station with a guy who taught GPS to biologists. He insisted that I could learn it easily. However, I was lost about 45 seconds into his presentation.
So this summer if you see a Lund Alaskan adrift, an old geezer wearing a battered western hat hunched over a 192-page instruction manual, know that it is just me, trying to move into the 21st century.
Bernie Kuntz, a Jamestown native, has been an Outdoors columnist for the Sun since 1974