Geezers, Learning Curves & Technology

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Technology, for anyone born after 1980, is part of your language. But the rest of us? It’s like learning to speak in tongues. And learning curves do not always move smoothly upward.

Suppose you grew up thinking a drop down window simply had a broken sash cord – if you’re born after 1980 you probably don’t know what sash cords are anyway – and right click was something you did with castanets? And your brain is wired to hit the return lever at the end of every line, but you’re suddenly supposed to know where the tool bar with the back button is, and you thought a back button was something that fastened to a loop at the top of your blouse? You get the picture.

Well, no, you don’t get the picture, that’s the problem.

Getting the picture onto the blog post takes us right back to the language issue: we know those free-use illustrations are out there, but where and how to find them and — more to the point — how to get them from Point A (wherever they are) to Point B (above) is hidden in the mystery language of WordPress and the internet. Friends, some born after 1980, try to help. They install PhotoBucket, they study Windows Live Photo Gallery, they try to explain Flickr or Paint or Pinterest. The learning curve flatlines.

Enter my techie friend Ryan. He may have been born before 1980 but not much before if so. Ryan speaks WordPress.

All you have to know, he explains, is to Google the topic, click on Images, make the magic Usage Rights appear by clicking on the Search Tools, save to your Desktop (which used to be a flat pine surface.) Then on your WordPress dashboard (which used to be in the car) click Edit on the screen below Title, click once on the photo, which brings up the magic pencil, which will lead you to the boxes, and more pencils and a few more choices. Simple. Of course.

Here’s the bottom line: I hope you like those THREE illustrations.

 

Immortality in the ethernet

Is it possible ever to die in cyberspace?

I was recently urged by Facebook to do something obtuse because my friend Josephine (pseudonymed for very good reason here) is doing it and knows I will love it. Hmm. There’s just one small problem here: Josephine has been dead for well over a year. You’d think Facebook might have noticed.

Yet, there she is, smiling her gentle smile, alive and welcoming to the Facebook friends who surely wish it were so. What to do? Ask her daughters to wipe their mom off the pages of the Facebook planet? Bookmark the page for the cheer it brings? Or try to ignore it lest it become spooky like those answering machine voices out of the past? I’m still pondering.

On the other hand, I more or less died to the cyberworld myself about six weeks ago. This was not an intentional — or even dignified — death. As a matter of fact, I had contracted not that long ago with my very alive, cyber-efficient friend Ryan to help me close my Blogspot page, fancy up this one, figure out all these widgety details and generally add interest and gravitas to my presence in cyberspace. For a while, progress was made toward all that. But life, and a manuscript, intervened.

Having promised the manuscript of my one-day book Perilous Times: An inside look at abortion before — and after Roe v Wade to the nice folks at YBK Publshing by September 1, I suddenly, seriously needed to finish the thing.  And the only way I could figure out how to accomplish such a feat — we’re talking 1,500 words a day with a few last-minute interviews tossed in — was just to drop out of cyberspace and into computerland until it was done. So my long-dormant Blogspot blog, some day destined to die, and the fits & starts of this WordPress incarnation of Boomers & Beyond have been hanging out, forlorn and ignored, lo these many weeks.

This sorry state of affairs is at least not quite as bad as the state of  my late lamented paid gig with True/Slant.com. My True/Slant page has been hanging, frozen, in space ever since Forbes bought the site & I declined to write for Forbes (full disclosure: they weren’t begging me anyway) more than two years ago. It’s confounding at best to try to do anything (“Follow me” indeed) or go anywhere else on True/Slant; that page is dying an undignified death indeed. Not to mention the fact that anyone stumbling across it could reasonably think, “Poor dear, she hasn’t had a new thought in 782 days”…. since the only thing moving on the page is the tabulator that says how many days it’s been since this post.

The manuscript is done. The book will happen. Life has resumed. And this page will now get back to the business of offering thoughts about life, health and the pursuit of justice of interest to boomers, post-boomers and perhaps miscellaneous others. Thanks for dropping by.

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