Tuesday
December 4, 2001

Things that change and things that don't...

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Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:

REALTOR.ca
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

I have used computers since mainframes and cards. I have not always understood them. I have always felt free to ask questions about what I did not understand.

The first course I took at university that used computers was Statistics. I remember the first class distinctly. We sat in a gently whirring computer lab, terminals for everyone. The "teacher" for this lesson was a computer laboratory technician, brought in to show us how the beasts worked. He knew little of statistics, nothing of teaching, and a great deal about the computers he tended.

Having no frame of reference at all about how computers worked or how one might interact with them, I began to ask questions. I wanted to create a logical structure around the meaningless details he rattled off like gunshots. He tolerated my first "stupid" question with an impatient look and a curt answer, resentful at having to interact with a human rather than his well-controlled machines. It would have been the third question I think that pushed him over the edge of his tolerance for human interaction.

Loudly, in a disgusted tone of voice, he asked me, "Are you retarded?"

Now you must understand that I paid the tuition for my university courses. No one expected me to be there, no one supported me, encouraged me, or financially assisted me. I really wanted to be there and I really, really wanted to learn. I am a little funny about services I pay for; I expect service. As far as I was concerned, we students listening to the abusive reaction to my question had paid this technician. He owed us service.

I remember feeling slightly uncomfortable at the titter of nervous laughter that arose from some of the other students. Most others, however, watched the transaction with interest. I believed at the time that they hoped I would rally and defend the rights of the student to ask questions. I still believe that most of the other students in the room felt that way.

Blushing furiously, as I frequently blush when someone is being mean spirited, I replied in a voice of matched loudness, "Certainly not, did you not understand my question or do you not know the answer?"

A deathly silence descended in the room.

He stood there, aware that all eyes were on him, aware that his response was crucial.

It was at this juncture that he surprised me. Taking on a solicitous tone of concern, he calmly responded, "Please rephrase the question."

I admired him at that moment. I rephrased the question. He answered the question. From that point onward, he carefully answered all my questions. No one else in the class ever ventured a question.

My opinions about computer technicians have not much changed since then. My understanding of computers has expanded and my questions have become more sophisticated. The same scene has been reenacted many times, in various forms and in various contexts. Where knowledge is power, it is reluctantly shared.

These reminisces are triggered by an event. The unthinkable has happened! For years I have been saying, "I do not do hardware." For the most part that has been true. Yes, I have installed PCI cards and plugged in and configured a hub, but nothing more complicated than that.

Economy and need have forced me to expand my skills. I now can remove and replace a hard drive. The new hard drive that I had installed in Alfred a little over a year ago just died. Since it is under warranty, I can send it back to the manufacturer and they will gladly replace it. The catch is the cost of labor. The drive needed to be removed and shipped and the new one installed.

The computer technician that installed the drive last year gave me a few tips over the telephone. He was helpful. He was pleasant. I will do business with him again.

I am looking at the drive right now, it sits on top of Alfred looking innocent and healthy. My hands are scraped and raw in spots, my index finger is still numb. The new drive is on its way. Alfred is reassembled for the moment and running well on the remaining hard drive.

I do hardware!



Top of Page
RECIPES :: Cast

Worldly Distractions


The hard drive comes out.



By the Easy Chair
Kate Rice Prospector
by Helen Duncan



Airwaves
Waking on a Wire
by Richard & Linda Thompson



Weather
19:58 EST
Temp: 12` C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Barometric:102.1 kPaSunrise 7:39 AM EST
Sunset 4:50 PM EST
 

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
Photography
Poetry
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging


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