Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What Would Our Ancestors Have Done?




Lately, I’ve been having my share of technical problems with my computer and peripherals. I now have two computers in my home office, along with three printers. One would think that I have all the bases covered. One would be wrong.

I won’t bore you with the details of my problems but basically it is that I now cannot scan photos in my HP Photosmart All-in-One Printer. I suspect it has something to do with the printer drivers changing when I tried to print a photo. Hewlett-Packard is so hot to get their users plugged into their continual stream of updates and ads; it is now almost impossible just to use the printer.

So now my problems are:

1) My new computer doesn’t have AOL software on it
2) My wireless printer is hooked up TWICE on my new computer
3) Multiple screen repeats on some Google searches
4) I need to disable the wireless keyboard and mouse on the new computer
5) Where is the refresh key?
6) How do I change icons on the new computer? Ain’t Vista great?
7) How do I use the flash drive on both computers?


A few nights ago I was reading about my ancestors in the book “History of the Toe River Valley.” My paternal ancestors lived in the hills of western North Carolina from the early 1700’s to the 1920’s (when my father’s family moved out to Pennsylvania.) Some might call them hillbillies but the correct term is “Appalachian pioneers.” Their occupation was farming. They grew and raised their own food. The woman, who I believed worked much harder than the men, “kept house.” This involved washing the clothes at the nearest stream, using a stick to beat the dirt out of the clothes. A chicken dinner meant going out in the back yard to grab the unfortunate chicken and chop its head off, dip the chicken in boiling water to pluck the feathers (I’ve done this), and gut it. Vegetables came from the garden, or in the winter time, from the vegetables that were canned from the summer’s produce.

Somehow they managed without to live a full life without electricity, indoor plumbing, and PC’s! Yes, they managed without PC’s. This knowledge has put my technical problems in perspective, to say the least. I sit in a warm and comfortable house, my refrigerator is stocked full, and I wash and dry my clothes (as I did this morning) while I’m on my computer updating my genealogy files. What I really appreciate is when I have to use the bathroom, it is warm and comfortable. I’ve used an outhouse. Not a pleasant experience, especially for someone as fussy as I am.

Now I wonder a hundred years from now will one of my ancestors wonder about me and my generation? Will they marvel at the hardships we have had to endure? No doubt they will. Our ancestors probably didn’t realize that they were enduring hardships. Oh, maybe the washing the clothes down at the stream. What we take for granted now will probably amaze our descendents that we even endured such “hardships.” I predict one “hardship” that will never disappear, PC problems. As Benjamin Franklin said: “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. “Add to his quotation “PC glitches.” I wonder what my ancestors would have thought of my “problem.” Even more interesting, I wonder what my descendents will think.

1 comment:

  1. Ron,

    For Pete's Sake, you and I got along with PCs for more than half our own lives. At least in the home. I got my first home computer about 1981, an Atari 401. Then I got an Apple IIc. What a ways we have come since those two pieces of equipment. But I did most of forty years before than with an old Underwood typewriter and various stages of calclators. In fact, didn't even have such things as TV remotes then. Actually had to get up and walk across the room to change a channel.

    Man, life sure was tough!

    Lar

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