Tuesday 14 July 2015

Missing the Wonks

Hugely relieved though I am to be shot of office life, I must admit it had some advantages - notably that much-maligned entity known as 'technical support'. For all their shortcomings (in the matter of speaking comprehensibly, for example), the little army of asocial wonks with dubious dress sense certainly had their uses. Whenever there was a breakdown in the technology on which my work - like most people's - was totally dependent, these useful chaps (and they were nearly all chaps) could usually be relied upon to turn up, work their incomprehensible magic and quickly fix whatever it was that had gone wrong.
 Now that I'm retired, it's down to me to take care of these things - and  as someone who is to tech-savviness what Stephen Hawking is to ballroom dancing, this is not a happy prospect. I work on Apple Mac rather than PC - which limits the potential for catastrophe - but still things need to be done from time to time, and I am the last man on Earth to do them. For the past few days, I have been attempting a couple of what you might think were pretty straightforward jobs: installing Microsoft Word (for Mac) so that I have some word processing ability, and setting up the printer I bought some while ago so as to have a printer at my disposal that will, er, print things.
 My first attempt to acquire Word fell at an early hurdle - attempting to install something called Yosemite, which I was told I'd need in order to run Word. Yosemite took an unconscionable long time a-loading, before crashing somewhere along the way, losing me my internet connection and leaving me with what seems to be a half-loaded Yosemite - and, of course, no Word. The printer project began promisingly, inasmuch as I assembled, loaded and fired up the printer without any problems, inserted the disc, followed the instructions all the way up to 'ready to print' - and then found myself unable to print as the printer 'could not be found'. Somewhere along the way, I must have missed something - something rather crucial...
 All this is of course immensely frustrating - not least because I haven't a clue how this apparently magical box of tricks called a computer works. I am reliant on the priesthood of techies - and of course the young, who seem to take this stuff in with mother's milk (maybe it's time to let my three-year-old grandson have a go?). Meanwhile, however, a breakthrough: this morning I managed to install Word after all, by the simple expedient of going for the earlier version (ignoring the discouraging onscreen messages). It loaded up a treat, much to my surprise and delight. I guess there's a lesson in this... Yes of course - go retro, back to the future!


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  2. Glad to see that you are learning, Nige. New invariably means lots of pricey bells and whistles getting in the way of something simple that had the minor advantage of doing what you asked it to do.

  3. Courage, mon brave. Go with the flow, ignore the instructions and experiment (or trial and error as the experts would say) bound to have a result eventually. Failing that, ask google.

  4. The good news is that computer stuff is actually getting simpler in the post-PC world. For all old fogies and technophobes who just want t'internet and a bit of typing, I recommend the Chromebook. £165 and you don't even need antivirus