4/09/2008

Computers for the Middle Age Adult

Until 1988, when the federal agency I had worked for about 20 years went exclusively to computers, I didn't even know how to turn on a computer. In fact, I was afraid of them like they were some kind of alien lifeform. Maybe fear is an understatement. I didn't even want to touch a computer. But, I had little choice but to learn how to operate them. We were getting in some new Packard-Bell 286 (that's another story I'd like to share someday) computers and everyone was going to have to go to special classes on how to operate them (this was pre-Windows 3.0...a disaster if there ever was one). Instead, we had a DOS interface whose name escapes me at the moment. We had to learn DOS commands (the old standbys, dir, dir/w, CD C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32, etc) that might as well have been written in Hieroglyphics. They had no meaning to me at all.

Still, I had to learn the basics of operating this alien lifeform that was threatening to take over the world. It was one of the more daunting tasks of my life. I had to overcome a threatening technology and my own biases about computers. It was a very slow process for me. I didn't have a clue what creating, moving or deleting files meant. For some reason, I had a really difficult time trying to master this task. However, as time went by in this 12 week course, I found myself actually enjoying my time in my computer classes. I was well on my way to becoming a geek!!! I surprised myself with how I was adapting to the complex world of computer technology. I was so proud of myself when I knew the difference between hardware and software and was able to explain it to someone. In fact, after our graduation from this 12 week course, my coworkers would frequently call on me to help them with their computer problems. This later proved beneficial to me career-wise as I was able to step up the ladder with this new knowledge of mine!

Twenty years later, there is little I can't do with a computer. In fact, I just recently built my very first computer. It's more than just a hobby with me now. It's also a way to make a little extra money in computer repair and maintenance. I never visualized myself at being at this point with something I had feared so much at one time in my life. It still amazes me how I was able to overcome this stumbling block at work. Just as amazing, I am the one explaining the difference to....20 somethings and 30 somethings...about computer hardware and software!! Amazing me just as much is my talking about it in a blog on the internet.

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