Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Computer Bedlam

I've been having computer trouble today. Computers were supposed to make things so much easier, you know ... you remember? Take the grocery store, for example. Scan each item. Up pops the price. Etc. Except, of course, the cashiers are constantly having to call for price checks, or manipulate items so that their scanner can read the bar code. When I was a kid, Mr. Jones, our grocer (yes, that was really his name), had an old-fashioned (not then--now) manual cash register. We took items to the register; he hit a couple of keys; the prices popped up like pieces of toast. Off we went to sip our Grapette and down our donut. No price checks. No bar codes. Just ... efficiency and speed.

When computers work correctly, of course, they're hard to beat. (Think: John Henry and the steam drill.) We can keep track of our finances, find just about anything ... like the full lyrics to a song from the 1950s that, incomplete, is playing in our heads. Like get back in touch with people we haven't even thought about in decades. Like entertain the NSA officers "listening" in ...

But then there are those days ... like today ...

I'd become a fan of OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud wherein I store a lot of my writing. It's so convenient. I can access OneDrive from my iPhone or iPad or computer, enabling me to edit text just about anywhere (like when I'm supposed to be paying attention to what the person across the table is saying to me). A real time-saver. When I'm at Starbucks, say, I can enter changes in a review or some other text I'm working on, and when I get home, there those changes, now on OneDrive, are available to download and print at my convenience.

Except, of course, when I can't.  Like right now. Like for the past two hours.

Over at the coffee shop this morning I made some changes in a review I'll be filing on Sunday with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I thought of a better way to open the review, did some rearranging of paragraphs and sentences, saved it to OneDrive, walked home, where I ... can't do a Damn Thing because OneDrive won't open. This webpage is not available is the message I'm getting now--and have been getting for Eternity.

It's no real crisis--not yet. I have the typescript of the review, the penciled changes. I can re-do it here at home. Instead, I keep hitting "reload," hoping, hoping, hoping ...

And remembering those Dark Days in the mid-1970s when I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation. I wrote it all with a pencil, then typed it--revised and typed it three different times--on an IBM Selectric (pencil-editing after each 400-page draft emerged; I typed about ten pages/hour, so it took about forty hours to type each draft), then paid a friend to type the final draft (I was sick of it).

A computer would have changed all that, right? Unless I'd stored my most recent draft on OneDrive ...

IBM Selectric

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