Friday, December 9, 2011

Easy if you know what you're doing...

Since last September I have purchased several new things which generally belong to the category of technological devices; viz., an Amazon Kindle (for downloading and reading books electronically), an Apple iPhone 4S (a hand-held computer) and - as recently as today - an HP "All-in-One" desktop computer. The last of these devices is probably the least interesting of the three, except cosmetically, because it really does little more than the former monitor and tower did. The attraction of the All-in-One is that it eliminates the multitude of wires which plague the traditional computer. The new one has a wire from the keyboard to the screen/computer; a wire from the mouse to the screen/monitor; and the connection from the screen/monitor to the power bar. Now that the former machine is gone I can't for the life of me recall why there were so many other wires. The fact that the tower has disappeared does of course go a long way towards cleaning up my study, which has now a slightly more spacious air to it.

Initially I was entranced by the entertainment features of the other two devices. But gradually I am learning to apply them to substantive purposes. I do, for example, anticipate reading my e-books while listening to my favourite downloaded music on the iPhone. I was also able to create electronic Christmas cards on the iPhone and use it to make hurried notes to myself on the run. As for the All-in-One computer, I have just landed it today so it is rather early to say too much. Not unusually, I have been tweaking it since seven o'clock last evening, and it is now after 3:30 a.m. the following day. Whenever one change is made on these devices, it seems to ripple through everything else, causing annoying repercussions. In the process, however, I believe I have learned a few more tricks. I am cautious about this exclamation because I am never absolutely certain how much of what I appear to accomplish is merely luck rather than comprehension. Anyway, as I finally wind down my evening, things have at least the semblance of being coordinated. What has caused the fuss is the switching to Outlook instead of Bell for our email. In my attempt to access my blog, it appears that I changed the password for everything Google, which meant I contaminated my gmail account at the same time. In my subsequent effort to correct that password problem, I allowed myself to be taken in by a further level of bureaucracy involving a two-tier security system, which in turn contaminated my iPhone utility. But, as I say, it appears that I have wrestled that problem to the ground as well (though I am quick to add that it resurfaced on the laptop computer when I similarly attempted to access another Google site).

It is par for the course that every new technical device precipitates seemingly endless compromise and adjustment. Of course it is equally true that in the end it always works itself out, but it is invariably a painful process. The Kindle was the least difficult of the three devices, but by the same token it is the least complicated. I haven't any regrets about having taken the leap into these new worlds. Sometimes the advances are tiny steps only, but their cumulative effect is palpable. If ever I discourage about computers, I need only remind myself of the painful experience I endured when I bought my first computer many years ago. The slope of the learning curve in that instance was so steep that I was almost in tears, not just because of the huge amount I had to learn but more likely because of the huge amount I had to spend - something in excess of $3,500 for what is by today's standards a antique machine. The so-called economies of scale hadn't yet kicked in. I am almost certain that I was the first lawyer in town to acquire a computer. With it, like the other devices I have recently acquired, it took time to adapt to its capabilities and to learn to make it work for me.

I was motivated to wrestle this new computer to the ground this evening so that I can indulge myself in some relaxation from the stress of all the new things I have had to learn in the past three months. The Kindle and the iPhone will accompany me on our winter vacation. I am satisfied that while not a necessity, the hand-held computer is a useful tool. Having said that, I am also convinced that I will not do myself the disfavour of buying any more new technology for some time!

No comments:

Post a Comment