I am not a Luddite but . . .




Upfront,  I want this very clear, I AM NOT A LUDDITE.  If you are unfamiliar with the label, it comes from 19th century English textile workers who protested the mechanization of their craft.  More generally it’s used for those who are against new technology.  I have a new computer (Apple laptop), shoot digital pictures (although I fear the loss of film), listen to music on CDs (a bit backward and I hold tight to my collection of LPs), I constantly use a cell phone, have a Kindle and I-Pad (although I still prefer books), order online, stream movies, use GPS, and just bought a Toyota Highlander with all kinds of high tech features. But I must admit I can get frustrated with “new” technology.  I emphasize “new” because pencils and chalk boards are technology, before smart boards and devices (Holy Ghost Prep is a bring your own device school — I wonder if a pencil or ball point pen is acceptable).

Although not a Luddite, I must use admit I can get pretty frustrated with new technology.  When I taught, I was frequently dismayed when September brought any number of new, better programs, tech in service, and tech related policies.  I remember different times asking our IT (what a funny designation) person (well,  Mike Jacobs) why we had a new operating system or program.  The answer never satisfied.  “Everyone was using it. . . or . . .  it was newer”   What about the old  “if it’s not broken don’t fix it . . . the  old system worked fine.”  Remember I am not a Luddite, sometimes the old system did work, not only fine but better.  But as General Electric often boasted “Progress is our most important product.”

Recent technology frustrations include when when the Comcast technician, installed a new phone service.  We had bought the triple pack — phone, cable and Internet.  The only problem, he left and the only phone that worked was the one tied directly to the tower.  He said something to Diane about buying phones that worked wirelessly!  A second technician did realize that our current phone lines had to be connected to the tower.  Months later our Internet began to drop out.  Diane spent hours online doing whatever the Comcast voice told her. It didn’t change anything.  I called.  The male voice.  Comcast voice acknowledged that we had done standard trouble shooting, would we do it again.  I think I shouted, “NO, send a technican.”  A day later the guy arrived and his first comment was, “these Comcast towers are junk,  buy another . .  it should only cost about $40.”  Ran it by the HGP tech person (second opinions are always valuable).  He upped the purchase to a $100 Linksys (is it a modem).  Hooked it up but I am not sure it’s providing any better connection than the Comcast tower.  Now it seems we have two poor Internet connections.  Diane comments that our neighbors connections come up, “Join.”  The grass is always greener . . .

Remember that despite setbacks and frustrations, I am not a Luddite.  Before Christmas I bought a new Canon printer.  WiFi capable.  I needed to hook it up to my new Apple laptop and I-Pad.  Opened the box and looked at the fold out set up picture directions.  Pretty limited.  But within minutes, I had removed packaging and was installing printer cartridges.  But the process stalled.  There I sat with new Apple laptop, new Canon printer and new Linksys modem.  But none of them seemed to recognize or communicate with each other.  One key was the Canon (online — no print)  directions told me to push the WPS button.  I searched and searched.  Canon failed to tell me that the WPS button was on the tower or modem not the printer or computer.  I guess that’s core knowledge these days.  I finally realized the location of the WPS button but problem, Linksys doesn’t have one. Consult the Internet for an easy connection.  I put the printer in the spare bedroom and got a book to read.

For Christmas, Diane gave me a Bose CD-Radio.  We tend to buy gifts that we want and give them to each other.  (I gave her a Expresso coffee maker last year and somehow it got shelved, but that’s another story).  The Bose system was (you guessed it WiFi).  I am still not sure what that means.  I believe it’s the ability to connect to your phone and probably set up additional speakers.  Needless to say I wasn’t excited.  Now I have two WiFi projects.

A week ago, Diane broke the proverbially ice.  She replaced our kitchen CD Radio with the Bose.  “Doesn’t it sound so much better.”  To be honest I have a, is it a wooden ear.  I don’t hear the subtle differences.  LPs are still fine for me; never though CDs were better.  But OK — maybe we will listen to more music.  Diane wasn’t satisfield. One morning she got the directions.  She was going to connect the system to our poor WiFi.  And after about an hour she did.  I think the system is connected to her phone and I quess we can buy additional speakers.

The most important outcome was that she inspired me (isn’t that an important part of marriage).  Out came the Canon printer and the Apple laptop.  An hour later the printer was connected to the tower (Comcast had an WPS button, a curse on your house, Linksys).  But now, how to get the computer to talk to the printer.  Or maybe it will be easier to connect the I-Pad?  I downloaded a program that would connect the Pad.  Nothing worked.  Finally as I neared meltdown, a breakthrough.  The printer was connected. i don’t know how.   I printed a page.   It worked.  Later that night, a miracle, the I-Pad connected and I printed a page.

There are glitches.  I tried to print a  photograph and it came out very  slow and wet.  Actually it never dried.  And haven’t tried again.  Maybe tomorrow.  I  am sure the problem can be solved.  Just need time and willingness to endure some frustration.  But I am so happy.  Diane and I both successfully navigated new technology challenges. It was  a high tech day.  And remember, I am not a Luddite.