Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Adventures in technology leave confusion in their wake

It’s not that computers and I are not on speaking terms. There’s no hostility there.

It’s just that we do not talk the same language, which you will have to admit can be something of a problem for a typist on a mission — that being the preparation of an essay while staring at a self-imposed deadline.

There are some computer things I can do very well, such as creating new passwords. I can create a new password every day, if I feel like it.

But just the other day I could not sign onto a computer because of a mess with the password. I reported the problem to Chuck Hogye, the newspaper’s computer guru.

I discovered my own error, but not before he had made up a new password and assigned it to me. My mistake? I had misspelled my own name when signing in. Silly me.

I told Chuck I had solved the problem, but it was too late. He had already given me a new password — one which I did not necessarily care for, because I enjoy making up my own passwords, using family names of long-ago relatives, obscure dates in history and pi to 20 places.

I am very good at opening emails – if they don’t have attachments. I got one the other day from my good buddy Roger Sustar. “I hope you can open the attachment,” he said. “It’s great.”

I tried. No luck.

I found out later what the picture was. It was a coffee cup inscribed with the words, “But I digress.”

How nice, I thought. But I did not make up that expression. I picked it up from Max Shulman, a writer all my friends were reading in high school. He digressed often.

Everyone I ran around with in those days was reading “Barefoot Boy with Cheek,” “The Zebra Derby” and “The Feather Merchants.”

(I still have them, along with such classics as “Sleep Till Noon” and “Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys.” But I digress).

One of my prized possessions is an engraved brass plate I received from a great friend, the late John Roberts, who owned a company in Mentor called “E.”

I once asked him why he named the company “E,” and he said because it is the most prevalent letter in the English alphabet. John was like that.

John was president of the Painesville Gyro Club the year after I was, which was some time ago. We used to have a well-orchestrated gift exchange around Christmas. John and I were gift-swapping partners one year.

I gave him a couple of high-powered flashlights, and he gave me the afore-mentioned brass plate, which sits on my desk to this day.

It says, “Sed digredi,” which, as any Latin scholar could tell you, means “But I digress.” I love that brass plate.

Here’s another thing about the mystery of computers. There’s a ubiquitous photographer in Mentor by the name of Skip Trombetti. He has a company called Van’s Photo. I see him everywhere I go. He is at every Mentor Chamber of Commerce meeting, at every Gyro Club picnic, he has been at Rotary meetings, and wherever people congregate.

His camera is always with him. He gets people together and shoots them, as they say in the trade.

He has no film in his camera, as I have in mine. No, he has a screen that shows the picture instantaneously.

He will look at the image and say, “That looks pretty good.” But I have to take his word for it, because I never see the pictures.

He seems obsessed with taking pictures of the lady of the house because she is so pretty. But I haven’t seen the results of his work.

I told him the other day, “Skip, you have taken our picture 10,000 times, and I have never seen one of them.”

So he sent me a CD-R with “8 edited images” on it. I think you have to look at it in a computer. He asked me at the last picnic, at the Deep Springs Trout Club, if I had looked a the pictures.

I held my hand behind my back, crossed my fingers and said, “Yes.” What I meant was, yes, I had tried to look at the pictures. I put them in the little sliding drawer on the side of the computer. What I got from the computer was very little in the way of encouragement.

But I tried very hard. My next step will be to try to play them in the TV set. I have been told that will also work.

I guarantee you that the next time I see Skip, I will have seen the pictures.

Fortunately, Skip creates a picture-book after each picnic, and the pictures from Lantern Court and the Vanas home and the Robertson home and the Flanagan home and every other picnic this year are beautiful.

Here’s the thing about pictures – if you makes prints of  them and put them in a booklet, you don’t need a computer to look at them.

Which fits in nicely with my level of photographic sophistication.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home