Some you lose, some you have to keep trying


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Jun 29, 2010 GMT
Jon maddog Hall


This past weekend I visited my family who now lives in Pennsylvania. My mother and father are long retired and living in a retirement community. This weekend was their 68th wedding anniversary.


My brother retired from the telephone company a long time ago, having been an electronic technician and lives with his wife.


Once a year my brother and sister-in-law attend a big family reunion that mostly centers on her family, since my side of the family is very small (and destined to get a lot smaller). I participated in this reunion and mostly stayed with my aged parents while my brother and sister-in-law orchestrated the reunion that drew about 60 people from around the state.


Years ago I gave my parents a computer and Internet service, but their failing faculties do not allow them to use the computer any longer. They can not remember even the simplest procedures for logging on and sending email, so my communications to them is over the phone or in person.


My brother and sister-in-law, however, have a laptop computer that they purchased after a long period of refusing to have anything to do with computers at all. My brother also refuses to give out his email address to anyone.


Now before anyone accuses my brother of being a “Luddite”, he is an amateur radio operator, and will talk for hours over the airwaves about all sorts of electronic things. And he uses his computer and the Internet to locate greyhound racing dogs in danger of being “put down” to help to find them new homes. It is just that he does not like computers, and uses them as little as possible.


Most of the people at the event were older than 30, and most of them were not “computer users”. They do not see the need for using computers in their world other than when they absolutely have to for their work.


Even my nephew (who is about 35) admits that he does not know “anything about computers”, but will have to learn about them as he retrains for a new job. Perhaps I can get him to use Linux for his needs.


His wife, a K-12 teacher, does use the computer every day to do distance education with her students. She has three LCD panels in front of her, does video conferencing with her students. The students can see and hear her, she reads their chats back as answers to her questions. I tried to get her to use Linux, but her company makes her use proprietary software that works only on Windows. And yes, I did talk to the owners of the company. Some I win, some I lose. I keep trying.


One other person showed up, however, who not only used computers, but was an avid Linux fan. I had given him a copy of Linux a couple of years ago along with a “plush Tux” and he was now using Linux other than “for one or two programs to do editing on his videos.” I told him about some of the multi-media programs that are available for Linux and he now thinks he can be completely “Microsoft free”. He also has his wife and family using Linux. I must admit that his presence made my day a little brighter.


Carpe Diem!

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