My mother said there would be days like this

By Bruce Stambaugh

My mother said there would be days like this. And that was when we used carbon paper in typewriters. 

Technology has come a long way since then. It is a wonderful thing as long as it works. If it doesn’t, I don’t mess with it.

Friends and family know that I could never pass for a techie. But believe me, unless you just want your flashlight batteries changed, I’m not the person to call.

My son knows this. My son-in-law knows this. My friends know this, especially the ones with technological smarts. I’ve called them all enough, sometimes with the lamest problems that seem totally unsolvable to me.

They come over, hit one or two keys or make some slight adjustments, and bingo, I’m back in business. I thank them profusely, try to pay them, usually without success. They go on their way, likely hoping I won’t call again. But they know I will.

I guess that’s really my point. I have to call my friends and family because online computer and equipment companies usually don’t list their phone numbers. Retailers do. Utility companies do. But if you enter the inner sanctum of a technology company’s website, just try and find a phone number.

Sure they’ll be glad to take your call to sell you something. I think that’s how I got in this particular fix to start with. I must have ordered the wrong item.

On the advice of my son-in-law, who has marvelous technology skills, more than a year ago I purchased an external hard drive for my laptop computer. It looked just like what I was instructed to order.

I hooked the sucker up. It beeped, lit up, whined, whirled and hummed. Finally, I had achieved success by actually connecting one electronic gizmo to another. The box said it would store up to 320,000 pictures. That number is probably close to what I have taken since I started using a Brownie camera as a kid when my mother warned me there would be days like this.

For the record, I have, or maybe had, about 5,000 digital shots on my desktop computer. I said “had” because the thing crashed, and I have yet to hear the magic words from the repair shop to “come pick up your restored computer.”

Oh, well. At least the 6,000 pictures on my laptop are backed up on the external hard drive. Or I thought they were.

Feeling a little leery with the desktop down, I decided to open the external hard drive and actually verify that all those shots I have taken were saved in the external drive.

Unfortunately, they weren’t. At least I don’t think they were. All I could find when I clicked on the icon were folders with acronyms I had never seen before.

That’s what got me investigating. I went on the manufacturer’s website, and once I finally clicked on the right highlighted phrase, I discovered that I most likely had the wrong piece of equipment.

It only took me more than a year to realize the obvious. The nice lady who answered at the other end of the retailer’s toll free phone number was sympathetic, but said I should have called sooner. No doubt.

I’m still trying to crack the manufacturer’s website code. They have lots of answers on their FAQs pages. Problem is they don’t have the answer to my particular question. Will their product work on my computer?

My mother never had that problem with her manual typewriter.

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