Tag Archives: high tech

Getting ‘conversant’ in computer speak

This next blog post is going to sound perhaps a bit boastful.

If so … that’s just too damn bad.

High Plains Blogger crashed inexplicably this morning. I couldn’t open it up. I couldn’t post anything new. I was struck. Frozen. High-centered. I called one of my sons, who’s in the business of trouble-shooting people’s computers. He pointed me to the outfit that “hosts” this blog.

I called GoDaddy. Three clicks on the cell phone and I was speaking to a human being, a living, breathing young man.

He asked me about the nature of my call. I told him.

Then, as I was explaining the situation with my blog, how it crashed and how frustrated I was becoming at being unable to restore it, it occurred to me — in real time — that I was communicating effectively with a young man who is fluent in another language altogether.

Computer speak is a language that I do not to this very moment understand fully. It contains a lot of jargon that only computer techs/geeks understand. It’s almost like lawyers, doctors, engineers — for that matter, journalists — only understand. They speak in coded language designed to facilitate problem-solving.

I’ve had previous discussions with computer techs in which I’ve had serious trouble making my case. I have unable to state with any clarity the issue at hand. I’ve apologized more times than I can remember to these 20- or 30-somethings about my ignorance. Without fail, they chuckle and tell me, “That’s all right, sir. I understand. Take … your … time.”

So, I do.

However, today I was able to blurt it out with relative ease — with “relative” being the key word.”

I will make zero pretense at being fluent in this kind of language. I will consider myself to be minimally conversant.

Both of my sons are much better at this language than I am. I get it. That’s the way it is. And I expect my 4-year-old granddaughter to pick up on this language in due course. Indeed, she well might be learning the basics already.

However, today marked something of a milestone for this old timer as I got through two relatively painless phone conversations with young computer techs.

I don’t speak their language entirely. At least, though, I can declare myself to no longer be a total and utter doofus as it regards this computer lingo.

Don’t ask me, though, what “widget” means. I’ll need more time.

But … all I wanted was a burger


Technology is driving me nuts.

Batty and bonkers, too.

Cell phones are doing more and more. Everyone is in touch 24/7 with everyone else on the planet. It all makes my head spin.

Then came a moment this morning when all I wanted was a fast-food hamburger at a well-known chain of burger joints. I busted out laughing.

I had finished a fascinating session this morning talking to high school juniors about whether they wanted to pursue a career in journalism. The event occurred at the Discovery Center in Amarillo and — just as in previous years — the kids were attentive, articulate and engaged in what my fellow panelists and I were telling them.

I was driving down Soncy Road to one of my part-time jobs. I peeled off the street and stopped at McDonald’s.

I needed a quick bite to eat before I went to work. I walked in. A nice lady greeted me with a “Good morning, sweetheart,” and then pointed me to this enormous electronic touch-screen board where I could order my meal.

Did I want to build my own burger? Did I want small or large fries? Did I want a drink to go with it? Was I going to pay with cash or with a credit card?

I touched the screen to answer all those questions.

My head was spinning. I just wanted to walk to the counter, order my lunch, pay the person and wolf it down before heading off to work.

The high-tech wizardry made me recall when I worked at McDonald’s back in the day. That would be in the mid-1960s, an era before minimum wage; I earned one whole dollar an hour.

Burgers cost 19 cents; cheeseburger cost 29 cents; milk shakes cost a quarter; a fish sandwich cost 29 cents, too;  big burger was the double-meat burger … and I forget how much it cost (might have been 49 cents). We had a short array of soft drinks — Coke, root beer, orange drink — and coffee. That was it.

These days you have to learn a whole new skill set … just to order a burger!

Hey, I like technology as much as the next guy — most of the time.

I just don’t expect to get headaches while ordering a hamburger.