Monday, September 19, 2011


The Beatles song When I’m 64 seemed touching and quaint to me when it came out over forty years ago when I was still a teenager. Now that I am actually turning sixty-four the lyrics sound terrifyingly like they were written by the Grim Reaper. I am not ready to cross the threshold where Sunday morning go for a ride is the highlight of my week.

You can’t do much about the aging process, unless you are Joan Rivers, however you can stay mentally au currant. One way to be ‘with it’ is to be up on modern technology. I, therefore, decided that before my sixty-fourth birthday I would have an iphone with at least sixty- four apps.

Thus far my old PC computer and an old cell phone (with my cell number taped to the back of the phone so I could remember it) was all I’d had. I should point out that however antiquated this technology was I managed to be quite productive and write several books, newspaper articles and even wrote a magazine column for years. All of my publishers and editors were invariably shocked when my books were in not only on time but consistently early.

Ignoring my salient past history, I decided that I needed an iphone, and a big honkin’ iMac computer and a small MacBook Air portable computer to take with me if I ever had a stray creative thought while on the road. I kissed the old PC good-bye. I was leaping into the future with ‘cool’ features like imovie, itunes, iphoto or photo booth. I was on the threshold of making a movie or a u-tube. I was planning a podcast that would hopefully excerpt my memoirs for NPR.

It has now been a month since I bought all of this drek that has tied me down to rechargers and failed sync systems. Since I have bought all of this new gear, I have not had one moment of peace. First of all the data could not be transferred from my PC to the Mac. I went through all the team at several Mac stores, the self-named ‘Genius bar’. (Twenty three year olds in headphones who rock to their own garage band apps.) This group of ‘geniuses’ gave up mighty quickly and said that I had to call the ‘help line’. No one in Canada could sort out my ‘issues’ so I called the U.S. They couldn’t get the data in any categories at all. As one honest apple employee in Georgia drawled, “Mam, This looks like a pile of bird doo-doo to me.” Finally I got the head engineer at the ‘Mobile-Me’ department in Austin, Texas. This engineer was the first man I talked to who was over thirty. He said he’d had a team working on my data all weekend and then said he wanted to ask me a few questions. He knew nothing about me other than the categories of my files or as he called it ‘my file tree’. He said in that stochastic blast used by Dr. Phil, “Cathy, may I call you Cathy? I would be willing to bet that you once did a Ph.D. over forty years ago and that you are between fifty-eight and sixty-five.”

“Bingo” I responded.

Then he said, “I have worked on a few cases like yours before. You did your thesis before computers existed and you used file cards, Am I right, or am I right?”

“Your right”, I confirmed.

“And you never have trouble finding any of your files in your life, right?” He knew my type. “Well I can tell that by the way you file your data you are ‘thinking’ with your files. People don’t store data like that anymore.”

Apparently most people do not have ten or fifteen subcategories in their file system. Most people have only three or maximum four. They use the search function or Google to find their data. The Mac can’t transfer that many levels of complexity.

Thus the bite in the apple!

Suddenly the lines ‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four, are sounding much more inviting to me since my Mac debacle. They have touched a file card deep within my subcategories.

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