Tech Support For Grammies
By Lois Hoffman
I am not tech-savvy. Period. I make no bones about it. But it is not my fault, my generation did not grow up with computers, tablets and smart phones. To us, tablets were sheets of paper all attached together that you actually wrote on with pencils. Smart phones were when we finally got a private line all to one household so no one else could hear your conversation. Kids today have grown up with all this technology, it’s how they do their homework and how they communicate. They know no other way.
I belong to what I call middle-of-the-roaders in my generation. By necessity we are forced to embrace some of the technology. We have computers but we only do the basics on them. We have cell phones but many of us still have the flip phones, foregoing the smart phones. After all, we have laptops, so why do we need our phones to be able to do everything too? We just don’t get it.
I was cruising along just fine in this middle-of-the-road space until a couple months ago when Wyatt decided I needed to be able to text. Why? I do not need to be connected to the world every minute of every day. If I do need to be, I will call them just like I have done all my life. Besides that, my flip phone and I had mutual respect for each other and we were getting along just fine. I did not want to learn something new … again!
I forgot how persistent a 14-year old can be. He won. I can now text on my smart phone. However, the saving grace is that it is on my terms. I did not want another monthly bill, another part of my generation’s frugality. So, I have a Trac Fone smart phone where you buy prepaid minutes and only spend money when you need to add airtime.
Here lies the problem. I do text, mind you it is all necessary communication. “Hi.” “How are you doing?” “What time do you want to meet tonight?” “Have a good day.” See, real important stuff. It was in no time at all that I was reminded, by my phone of course, that I was nearly out of minutes. How could that be, it had only been a couple of days. This is indeed Wyatt’s fault. He is the one who created the texting monster.
So, in the natural progression of events, he is telling me that I need a phone with a plan, just a small plan because it would actually save me money. Ugh … change … again.
In my own defense, I have to say that many of the texts have been to him and most of them go something like this, “Help, I pushed this button and it did this when I really wanted to do this. What do I do now?” If I knew the right button I would save this message on speed dial (or, is there such a thing as speed text??) because I seem to need it quite a bit. I miss my friend, my flip phone!
Even adding airtime has been an issue. On the day we got the smart phone the gentleman at Wal-Mart downloaded the app so we could add airtime. Now, they have updated to improve the app, so much so that we had to go back to Wal-Mart and completely set up the phone again just to be able to use the phone. Begin to see my point, better is not always better.
What happened to the old adage that, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I just get used to doing things one way, whether it be on the phone, computer or printer, and they change it. One thing I can count on for sure is that every time an update comes through, I have a problem.
The only good thing is that I have my tech support system in place. Wyatt gets calls for my phone and my friend Stephanie is my go-to for computer issues. I can almost bet that every time she gets a message from me that doesn’t begin with “Help!” she is pleasantly surprised.
Case in point; I needed a new printer a while ago. The salesman at Best Buy told me not to worry, that printers of today “were a piece of cake to hook up.” I snickered and told him, “Sir, you don’t know me.”
Three hours and 40 minutes later and after Stephanie made three phone calls to a tech support in the Phillipines, the printer was up and running. They got to know each other so well that, at one point, Steph was actually lying under my computer desk switching wires and talking to the tech about the weather over there. Scary, but true! Yep, I could have hooked that printer up in no time!
I really hope that this lack of tech know-how is representative of my generation and not just me. Yesterday was a stay-inside-get-little-things-done kind of day. I had been copying, scanning and printing all day. I have installed new print cartridges in the printer before (this is something I can handle, believe it or not!) but today when I replaced them the printer decided it had to align the printer heads. What? They were aligned just two seconds before. This is the real scary part, that these machines tend to have a mind of their own and “think for themselves”.
So, you may think I have gotten off the subject. What exactly does this whole computer-savvy issue have to do with these articles I write? Everything. In today’s world it is literally impossible to do nearly any task without the aid of technology. I still have my typewriter setting here. Give me credit, it is electric, not manual! It is my security blanket. I know I will never use it, technology has seen to that. In order to just do these articles I need to be able to e-mail, be able to do research on the computer and, of course, to message Steph and Wyatt for help.
It is not all bad, though. To help all of us in my situation be able to muddle through the ever-new technology, has created a need for a good tech support system. Wyatt is thinking of starting a new business, “Tech Support For Grammies.” What an entrepreneur, but he’ll do just fine. I am already his biggest and most frequent client.
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