by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.
Apparently, Albert Einstein did not have a computer. This thing drives me nuts! I love what I can do with it, but I scream at its absolute refusal to cooperate. It is entirely inflexible, dead set in its contradictory and mostly confusing ways.
For example, it often happens that the instructions come up on the screen and say something like, “Press the green icon to move on.” Well, there is no green icon! Now, what do I do? First I scream (I won’t tell you what), and then I call Simcha, my geek. Thank G-d for my computer geek. Without his help, I would not be able to send you these articles.
So Simcha comes, and everything is OK, right? Not quite. I love the guy, but he only speaks “geek.” He comes in, sits in front of the screen, and begins to explain to me what, and why, he is pressing this button instead of that button, and everything he says is total “geek” to me. I can’t stand it; it really drives me nuts! Not just that it makes me feel like an idiot, because I don’t care about that, but it’s like someone is sincerely trying to communicate something important to me in Chinese.
I try to stay calm, but I start climbing the wall, “Ok…OK…. Simcha…Simcha…” He won’t stop with the flow of technical terms. “Just fix the thing. I don’t understand a word that you are saying.”
Don’t get me wrong, he is a very nice guy. His name means “joy”! But it seems that he can’t fix the thing without telling me what he is doing. For instance, “I am cleaning out your old main drive disc that I replaced last week when the alternative channel had an overload from some suspicious file that you downloaded instead of deleting.”
“Okay Simcha, just fix it so I can use it, okay?”
“Remember, you have an old system here that we are working with.”
“Simcha, it’s less than three years old.”
“That’s right. So you may have to get a new one, real soon.... Alright, it should work now, and if that ever happens again I have left a green icon on your email folder file, so all you have to do is type in that code name and remember the password, then when it comes up double-click with the right side of your mouse on the upper part of the icon….”
“Simcha, is it alright if I just call you and have you come over again?”
“Sure, call whenever you need me.”
My Chassidic friends say that all this is coming back to me because of the many times that I yell at people. I know that I yell a lot, and maybe I should call my next book “Me and My Big Mouth,” but what’s that got to do with this extreme technical frustration?
My more modern friends say that I have so much trouble with the computer because I was born in the wrong generation. Not much I can do about that. Either way, I wish they would come up with a self-fixing computer that all you have to do is buy it and it works. Until then, I guess I’ll have to call Simcha.
Reb Akiva adds – I tell people good software has to pass the grandmother test…if your grandmother can use it, it’s designed for use by normal people. If it takes a techie to load it, configure it or maintain it, the problem is the designer’s, not yours.
Software is generally getting better this way, and perhaps the big success of the iPhone and iPad (and Apple in general) is exactly that, anyone can pick up their devices and programs and use them immediately and intuitively. While indeed it’s not a problem for my children, to whom even technical computer use is as natural as using a telephone is to me, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The amazing thing is that people like Reb Gutman and Reb Nati, non-techies with no background, are able to use computers, digital cameras and video gear and put out all the fantastic material they do. It could be a lot easier, but they put in a lot of effort to share Torah and positive thoughts to klal yisroel and the world.