Happy Anniversary to/from your favorite Luddite. Me!

4 May

Happy Anniversary! It’s now been just a bit more than a year since I started this blog.  Amazing, isn’t it?

By nature, I’m a cup-half-full kind of person, generally positive about things, but there are times I’m a real curmudgeon. Or maybe I’m a Luddite! Remember them? (No, I don’t suppose you do, really.) Well, they were the folks who, in 1812 (what was in the water that year, anyway?) who protested the mechanization of textile weaving.  To protest, they destroyed a lot of looms. Some few even went so far as to burn down the buildings that contained the looms.

Government called out the Army, but eventually, mechanization won out. That wasn’t the first time for such an event, nor was it the last. But the name stuck. These days, folks who oppose industrialization, automation, computers, or other new technologies such as e-books or smart phones are frequently referred to as Luddites. I guess I sometimes am one, and other times not.

I can’t say I’m very thrilled by e-books, but yet, I am intrigued by them. I still prefer the old-fashioned book-type book, the kind with paper pages. ‘Smart’ anythings leave me entirely cold. In fact, I wish HP or someone would create a ‘stupid’ printer. One that would do what the owner wants it to do, rather than to persist in doing what IT (the printer, that is) wants.  I get SO frustrated with these things!

Last September, I bought a new desk-top computer. It’s a dandy thing, mostly. It was NOT love at first sight. Not by a long shot. First off, the operating system was two or three generations newer than the one I’d been using for the past several years. This, of course, meant that probably half of my trusty software would no longer work. Grrrr.  But yet, for some strange reason, my ten-year-old rollerball (mouse) still works like a charm! (Shhh, whisper that, so it doesn’t hear and immediately go on the fritz.)

The biggest casualty was my beloved HUGE color laser copier/scanner/printer. How I loved that machine! I saved for two years to get it – it was that expensive! Oh, happy day, in October 2006, when I could finally order it and get it installed. Of course, I needed help – it weighed more than 70 pounds! It worked immediately, which is only appropriate, after all, when you count up all those dollars spent on it – more than $600. of them! I’ll have you know, I produced some truly gorgeous things on that machine. I really, really loved it. It never caused a moment’s difficulties, except when it ran out one of its four colors of toner.  What I loved most about it was being able to set the ‘default’ to B&W, even though it was a full-color machine. Also, there was a setting for ‘draft’ to be the default. Imagine that! The manufacturer actually had a built-in setting  to help save the consumer some dollars on replacement toner. They don’t seem to do that anymore. Shame on them!

But – the new OS didn’t want to hear about any of that. So, after several days of back-and-forthing between computer sales person and HP, the decision was rendered. I’d have to get a new printer, or else go back to the old computer. Unfortunately, the old computer didn’t want to do what I wanted (and needed) it to do, so, I gave up and started looking around for the new machine. In the meantime, I could still use the beloved printer by connecting it to the lap-top which was one year older than the new desk-top, and used the same old OS.  I became quite proficient at e-mailing things from one computer to the other, so as to print. As much as I loved that printer, this was truly not an ideal solution, and finally, unhappily, I gave up. A good friend now has custody of it, and promised it would have a long-term happy home with him.  (Happily, I have visitation privileges!)

Next I had to acquire a new printer. Two of them, actually. Now, my BIG multi-purpose printer is a wide-format inkjet copier/scanner/printer. It’s a SMART machine, and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve wanted to whack it a good one upside it’s head in the 2½ months since it was hooked up. It took two weeks just to convince it that wireless (which it is) was not only a word in its vocabulary, but also a viable option.  Trying to input the info into the machine (not via the computer, which would have been ever so much easier) took the genius and quick fingers of a classical pianist friend, who’s 50 years younger than I am.

Then, I discovered it thinks it’s smarter than I am. Not so. Let me tell you, I’ll be here long after that printer has given up the ghost or gone to that great refuge for unruly printers, whereever it’s currently located. Example: I need to make a photocopy of my driver’s license. That should be easy enough, right? Wrong! The thing keeps spitting out sheets of paper, because none of them are the same size as what I want to copy. Excuse me?  It just so happens that I don’t care about any of that nonsense. I just want a copy of the license in one corner of the page, so I can put other stuff on the page with it.

I think I have discovered that it can be fooled, however! I put the license face down on the glass, cover it with a sheet of white paper, push the button and – voilà! Copy!  Bingo. Stupid machine is not smarter than I am. No way. At least for now. Of course, next week, it’ll come up with yet another new trick that will take me a week or so to be able to out-trick it! And after all, I do have the ultimate solution. It’s called the off switch.

Smart phone?  Umm, not this week, thank you very much!

P. S.  Some months ago, I wrote about book reviewing, which I really (mostly) love to do. Some books are much more fun than others, but still – I truly enjoy it. Last week, the publisher sent out an op-ed piece she’d written and asked us to please forward it to anyone who might be interested. In the hope that might be YOU – here’s the link. http://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/viewpoints-weekly-columns/if-we-do-not-hang-together-we-shall-surely-hang-separately-thomas-paine/

There are some excellent points in here, and we all need to be reminded occasionally to BUY LOCAL. It filters down and does everyone good, in the long run!

Cheers until next week!

Are you a writer nearing the end of the writing portion of a book, and wondering how to find an editor/proof-reader? If so, please send me an e-mail, and I’ll be happy to tell you about my editing services.  Also, I need to remind you that the SPAM filter for WordPress is VERY aggressive, and deletes almost every comment without even giving me a chance to see it first. It’s not adjustable, in any way. If you’ve written a comment that doesn’t appear anywhere, please write directly to my e-mail:  bookmechanic@gmail.com which is also the place for other questions. Thanks!


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