Today I am thinking about being a Computer Technician, formatting hard drives. In real life, I am a Certified Computer Technician, having worked in the field for 11 years. These days I mostly work only on my own computer equipment, and that of friends and relatives. It's been quite a while since my hard drives were formatted so...I am thinking it's time.
My nephew, Eric - Kate's son - shares my passion for computers and technology. And I am beginning to think that my granddaughter, Rylan, might too.
Rylan is a true child of this technological age. One day last year, my son called to tell me that Rylan had taken photo's with his cell phone, stored them in the phone's memory and was at that moment in the kitchen showing her Mom how it was done. Once, he told me, when trying to get her ready for bed, she had informed him that she couldn't go yet because she was "busy checking her Me-mail" on her laptop and then had to check her cell phone for "messages". Still another time she took his credit card from his wallet and swiped it through the computer keyboard, like you would at a store checkout.
Being a technician as I am, I always try and encourage people to embrace computer, cell phone and other forms of technology. Many do, but some, like a life-long friend of mine, adamantly refuse.
Lea doesn't have a computer, doesn't e-mail, will NOT have a cell phone. Doesn't understand the need for them. There are computers at the school where she works, so she has access if she needs one. She is intensely private, is horrified by Social Networking such as Facebook and the idea that people could access her personal information, and resents the heck out of people with their cell phones interrupting her everywhere she goes. And boy will she be annoyed that I posted her name here! "Why would I want a cell phone? I DON'T WANT people calling me when I am out shopping! Why would I want to e-mail? I have a telephone to talk to people. That's all I need." She talks about her concern that children are spending too much time on computers and not enough time out of doors. I understand her point of view - but still...I tell her she is a Luddite. She laughs and agrees.
Wikipedia defines Luddites as a social movement of British textile artisans in the early 1800's who protested – often by destroying mechanized looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt threatened their livelihood.
Since then, the term Luddite has been used to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change. Well, she wouldn't destroy a computer to make her point, but she does eschew it. Amazingly, we've been friends for 47 years.
At the other end of the spectrum, is my friend Bente. She embraces technology like she embraces life - with vigor and excitement. She, like me, has 3 computers and while not a computer technician, is not afraid to take her computer apart to see what makes it tick. Sure I taught her some of what she knows, but most she found out on her own. Her computer experience goes all the way back to the early days of the Commodore 64 in the early 80's, while my first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000 from the mid 80's.
Which brings me back to Rylan. Her laptop and cell phone are toys. She is computer smart, cell phone savvy, can you imagine her with an I-phone? Oh, and did I mention she just turned 3 years old? No Luddite she, but a computer technologist in the making. Maybe she wants to format a hard drive.
Hmmmm, better not mention it to her. She probably would.