Computers – A Gripe and an Offering

I hardly ever talk about computers here. What? Crazy, right? If you know me, I’m your go-to tech gal. So, why am I not talking about computer stuff here? That, I am aiming to change this year. The focus will be oils, connecting women, and technology.

Why the heck would I even do technology? Well, back to point one – which is, if you know me, I’m your go-to tech gal. Point two, it’s needed. Do you know what I did at the time of this writing? I spent 90 minutes with a fairly tech savvy gal helping her navigate an operating system and its ‘compatible’ notebook software. WEIRDNESS! NINETY MINUTES! It was time well spent. I do not bemoan the time. I simply want to acknowledge that it’s unnecessary. We should be smarter than this. We know, collectively, how to do so many clever things with computers. We advertise synchronicity, and then we don’t back it up. This is nonsense!

So, I talk and coach about computers. I prefer to talk to women as a woman. Why? Because it too is so needed. I’m sure you’ve read many articles about man-splaining or the challenges of women talking to men when vulnerability comes up. I take all that away. I’m not going to explain your problems away. I will validate you. I will coach you. I will show you that 1) you are not crazy, 2) you can figure this out, and 3) I will be there guiding you every step of the way.

We are in a strange technological space right now. We can do all the things, and sometimes it works really well. And sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work, that’s where I come in. I will help you figure it out.

How does this fit with my connecting women, oils, or balance, or any of the other things I do? I am naturally gifted at understanding how software works. I am not afraid to press buttons, and I explain things in a way most people can understand. I am your liaison between engineer talk and every day talk.

We rely on computers and phones for nearly every facet of life. We communicate to our relatives. We share our photos, our lives. We share our stories. And, we don’t want someone telling us we are stupid while we’re trying to figure it out. I’ve met so many people who have had amazing careers – teachers, executives, business owners – very clever people who figure all sorts of stuff out, very smartly, in the day to day. What I have found is that all the technology presented to us is too confusing – even for these very clever people, so I help you navigate that. I make it simple, so you can understand.

When I started using technology for work, the year was 1998. Windows ’98 had just come out, with the invention of the right click. I boasted about 7 software programs and 3 operating systems on my resume. Today? I have well over 30 software programs and about 5 or 6 operating systems – depending on how you want to count phones, laptops, and more. I am tech savvy. I am ahead of the curve when it comes to interest in learning new technologies. I am not the masses. Technology, it appears, is built for people like me more ahead of me (you know, the people who always get the latest greatest when it comes out), not for the masses. Because technology moves so fast, appealing to such a small group of people, there are people left behind. And, I am here to serve those people, primarily women. I am here to help you navigate the confusing map of technology and make sense of it, so you can do your day to day with ease.

When I set out to write this, I was going to detail the problems we witnessed in that 90 minute phone conversation. My intuition had other plans. Book your 30 minute consultation today – and I will show you how I can help you navigate your technology.

The Gadget Age

My preferred gadgets include my computer, my phone, my iPad, my journal, all the writing instruments, coffee, essential oils, and diffusers aplenty.

The year was 1995 or 1996, and I was taking a communications class in high school. We had the opportunity to use video editing equipment, we produced a morning news show, and we even had software that allowed us to make our own 3D graphics. We upgraded our gadgets from pencil and ink to computers.

Toy Story had come out just 6 or 7 years before. In 1994, Disney made waves with the ballroom, in the cartoon Beauty in the Beast, that was completely rendered with a computer. The “realistic” detail these 1s and 0s were able to employ were magical to watch. Some conversations questioned whether or not cartoonists would have jobs after this revolution came to its fruition. Schoolmates were wowing us by making a 3D ball rotate, getting the shadows rendered appropriately, and to uplevel their skills? They made a goblet, and they poured water out in a sharp-edged realm with no walls or floors. It felt like we were on the cusp of something amazing, and growing up with technology, our home computers, video games, computers controlling cars, it was all going to be amazing.

Today, I have the opportunity to coach people, primarily women, on their technology. I go into their homes, and I teach them how to use their computers, their phones, their tablets, and all the applications within, and show them how these things work together. Every single one of these women are smart, educated, and creative. They’ve led teams, taught students, they use technology to schedule and manage clients, and above all there is confusion. There is confusion, I believe, because none of these things really truly work together. We are making oodles of new gadgets every single day. Let’s stop calling them computer programs, web apps, or apps for our phones. Let’s stop calling these watches, computers, and phones even that – and let’s call them what they truly are: gadgets.

We have gadgeted the gadget, and we wonder why we are so confused with our technology. We have gadgets to check our spelling, to execute spelling, to put words to a form, to reshape those words, to take pictures, to edit the pictures, send the pictures, bookletize the pictures, we share all that, and in the sharing mediums there are similar gadgets to do all those things all over again. We hook them up wirelessly or with cords and we share things via airwaves or by email or messenger, and we never know which gadget is the right one at the time because we never have enough time to spend to get to know the now gadget when the next gadget comes out.

Technocrats idealize our technology, praising all these gadgets for making our lives easier. I am here to tell you, just like with the vacuum cleaner, our houses are no cleaner, our lives or no easier. In fact, I argue that we are even more confused. I have told people that in 1999 when I was working one of my first jobs, I listed 5 or so computer applications (ahem, I mean gadgets) on my resume. Now, I list well over 30.

Every job wants you to know their preferred database (ahem, I mean gadget) for use when there are hundreds to choose from. Every car goes through various upgrades of gadgets. Sometimes you even have to relearn how to start the car! Every computer software program goes through gadget upgrades that change where close buttons and print icons are. The older we get, the less well we handle that kind of small change, and the change only increases every year. Every year, we get more software engineers to design more software related gadgets, and the confusion only continues.

What do you think? Does this resonate with you? Are we at a stage where we’ve out-gadgeted ourselves? How do you cope with the alarming number of gadgets in your life? (I didn’t even mention kitchen gadgets or garage gadgets, which you could fairly add to this mix.)

Other Thinking on the Matter