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    Been There, Done That: Eight Decades And Counting By Alice Herb: Help Wanted: A 10-year-old Computer Guru

    Help Wanted: A 10-year-old Computer Guru By Alice Herb


    I don’t know about you but I know I’m not stupid. I have a law degree and a master’s in law. I’ve sold insurance, practiced law, was a TV news and current events producer, director, writer, and transitioned into bioethics. I was the family breadwinner for many years, have traveled all over the USA and a lot of the world, and am known to be a very good problem solver. But the digital age is going to defeat me. More and more I am pining for an inkwell and quill! Or a 10-year-old to help me navigate the digital age.


    You ask, what exactly is my problem. Well, it isn’t just one…let me explain. In my many years, I’ve bought many appliances, cars, TV sets, computers, and have more or less been able to figure out how to operate them. Well, now I’m overwhelmed with new equipment that I either haven’t the patience to figure out or simply can’t. Here is my litany:


    • I have an up to date Apple and iPhone. I have a cable carrier and have internet with all kinds of bells and whistles. I have been using computers and smartphones for years but whether I’m no longer sharp or the internet has morphed into an unintelligible universe is anyone’s guess. But I am drowning in passwords. Recently I spent several hours with both Apple and my cable carrier to straighten out passwords, IDs, etc. and was assured that all was now well. Of course, it wasn’t. My passwords were not accepted on several sites. I called again to complain and was patiently told –you guessed it- change your password. I’ll take odds on how long this one will work.


    • I needed a new cable box. I’ve connected and disconnected several cable boxes and so I took the dead one to the carrier’s office and was given a new one. Neither I nor my super was able to connect it. After a few minutes on the phone, I was given an appointment with a technician for the next day. It took him exactly 5 minutes to untangle the mess and told me that the sound cable had been connected to the picture cable. The cables were reversed.


    • I bought a new stove, nothing fancy. I don’t do that much cooking. When it arrived, I was confronted with lots of dials and buttons and brief instructions that basically sent me to their website for more information. A friend finally came over and explained a convection oven and how to use it. Almost a year later I finally tried it to make a special dinner. I had all kinds of anxiety attacks but somehow I aced it, but with a lot of angst.


    • My car- a Mini Cooper – has so many dials, knobs, and doodads that after 7 years I still don’t know most functions. To change the time from standard to daylight is an adventure, as is changing radio stations. Adjusting the seat is another quandary. But most annoying are the sensors, of which there seem to be dozens, and they’re not self-explanatory. The most egregious one was when I was leaving a college parking lot in the winter dark and a sensor came up with a dire warning but I knew not for what. It was too dark to check the manual. With great unease, I drove home to discover that it was an alert that it might snow! So much for peace of mind while driving.


    • I bought a new washer. Just looking at it intimidated me. Again, a friend came to the rescue.


    I can go on but by now you must be awfully bored. My current problem is that I am missing out on a lot of viewing sites. What with Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Apple, and a bunch of others, I’m flummoxed. I’m tired of researching who they are, what they offer, and how much they cost. And no sooner do I become comfortable with one technology, it’s either no longer being used, is obsolete, or now competing with endless other sites.


    With all that, I don’t want to mislead you either. I’m thrilled that I have the world’s libraries and knowledge right here on my lightweight MacBook Air, but I do have to check for accuracies and sources and I am never free because it’s a 24/7 resource.


    All of these issues take up a lot of time, time I could use on more fruitful or interesting pursuits. Yet in an effort not to concede defeat, I am willing to hire a 10-year-old to manage my digital world.  Do you know one? If not, I would be interested in hearing your woeful tales, so please e-mail me at [email protected] and make me and others feel less inadequate. And maybe we seniors can figure out a solution!


    Alice Herb is a retired attorney, journalist, and bioethics consultant. Having reached the age of 85+, she’s more than ready to share her experiences and opinions with agebuzz readers. Want to comment on something she’s said? She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]


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