Friday, November 5, 2010

Is it just me?

I run two businesses that keep me on a computer most of the year. I have been blogging (including videos, pictures and font changes) for 3 years. I write for our company blog and comment on others. And yet, I know almost NOTHING about computers.

How old am I? When I was in high school my computer class was about programming. "If something equaled or was less than something else then add three. (I can't use symbols or it will mess up the blog) anyway, it was high tech addition. We had calculators, but programming was more tedious and our teacher loved it. He also let us bring donuts to class.

When I was in college, and I went to THE University OF Arkansas, I got a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. I love lay out and really wanted to pursue this. When I had Graphics class...we drew the letters from a font book. My senior year we got computers in the journalism department, the head of the department taught my last class and we "tested" the newest journalism programs and taught each other how to use the program. Get it? My degree is laughable...I learned things (thanks Mom and Dad) but I'm pretty sure EVERYTHING is done on computers now.

Richard and I got our first PC after we married. My first project was to put my mother's mailing list (for her business) into a database. I remember it took me about 3 days to figure out how to use the program, including the tab keys. I learned to sort it alphabetically for the printed list, by zip code for the labels and then eventually how to print labels for her list. I've been doing this for 17 years. I can't remember a time when it has gone smoothly. We have changed computers twice since I started. One time I LOST about 1000 names! I remember using the drive in the girls' room to edit and fix the list and save it so I could use it.

This should be an easy job. The editing should be easy, the mail merge should be easy. HOWEVER, now we've moved the list to another program, and so help me, I hate not understanding the language! I can't even put the right words in the HELP box to get answers. My husband (bless his heart) had to leave this morning. I need to print my list and labels and get them on the UPS truck by 4:30. He left me with these words, "There's no lack of places on the computer to ask what you need to know to print those labels. Just ask it."

After he left I called my friend who I was meeting in NWA and had to cancel for today. Bummer.

I have this thing inside of me that just get's tense when I can't understand something. I think it's one reason I'm a good teacher. I explain things clearly. I don't make up words or have to issue a "language interface pack." Really.

FLASHBACK FROM MY JUNIOR YEAR IN HIGH SCHOOL: I sit behind Tim Dibble (a big guy) in Mr Ingram's algebra II class. Herbie Vogel is spouting out answers before I can work them in my head and Mr Ingram moves on. In algebra, you have to know how to do the first step, everything builds on it. I hide behind Tim and try not to tear up. Tim nods his head a lot, so sometimes I ask him questions. Then I get in trouble for talking.

I've taught my kids that if they get frustrated their brain will turn off. I learned that in algebra class. They know how to take deep breaths, ask good questions and not get flustered.
Why can't I do that?

Things that fluster me:
Word Press language (I'm a lay person, OK?)
Error messages
Using a lot of paper and printer ink on mistakes
Help Bars that can't understand/translate what I'm asking
Everyday Mathmatics (another example of introducing too many 'languages')
Pop Up Advertising that WON'T close
Dishes left in the sink, when the dishwasher is empty

OK, I need to get over this and figure my labels out. I got EXASPERATED searching for I took this little venting break.

FYI: My mother won't purchase a computer. Handwritten tickets, handwritten statements, manual check out, no internet at home or at work. My dad copies my blog entries off for her on his computer at work.

Mom, if you're reading this today, the labels will be in the mail this afternoon, no problem.

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