Twenty years ago, my teenage children pooled their resources to buy a Commodore 64 computer and we became a high tech family. We attached the lead to the control, plugged it in and turned it on. They were totally hooked from the first moment: eyes glazed, hands glued to the joystick, screeching at the screen and each other as the games got more exciting. One short session playing ‘tennis’ with its irritating electronic ‘pock, pock’, and I was over it - I have never been much of a sportsperson.
It was five years later I was dragged kicking and screaming to buy my first computer after Nerys, as always at least ten steps ahead of me as far as new technology was concerned, convinced me that I couldn’t live without one.
The new machine was delivered and the man from the shop drove seventy kilometers to show us how to set it up and drive it. It was all part of the service. This first computer was my friend and helper for seven years. We knew and liked each other and I didn't mind having my early morning coffees at the internet café.
With plans to go travelling, I finally decided to upgrade to a wireless enabled laptop. It was pushy, always wanting more: a decent keyboard, a hand held mouse, a wireless modem for the house, extra memory, a carry bag and someone stronger than me to carry it. We were never friends, maybe it was because I bought it from overseas and it didn’t understand English. Within two years everyone close to me, fed up with my computer dramas, was urging me to get rid of it.
I spotted an advertisement for a ‘future-proofed’ computer with a memory that number one son gently informed me was not called a tetra bite but a terra byte. (We were probably out of milk at the time!) This computer had it all, the shop was within walking distance and the credit card to hand.
That was three weeks ago, since then I have had: an unbelievably unhelpful dialog with the shop; a near divorce; gallons of Rescue Remedy; a trip to the city with the computer; sessions with a patient friend and his bottle of Bombay Sapphire, and another with my genius son. I have purchased blank DVD’s for back up, power boards and updated programs after being bullied by Microsoft. Today I have the internet working, the home network upgraded, the security is on, my files have been transferred, the printer and the camera have been installed and for the last two days I have been avoiding the office and cleaning out the pantry instead.
Now, with fingers crossed, shelves cleaned, I am ready to blog again. This machine has cost me a similar amount in dollars as my first; the cost to my sanity has been much higher. While I can appreciate all that it will (eventually) do, I want to know whatever happened to the simple life and that lovely man from the computer shop?