Thursday, August 11, 2005

Computer Wonders

I'm lucky to work in a very specialized library where most of the users are very familiar with a computer. I spend very little time explaining the use of a mouse and other bits of computer lore. Occassionally, though, we get a faculty member who is One of The Last Ones to Hold Out. You know the type. The ones who have resisted, somehow, the lure of email, the ease of research, and the compulsiveness of blog-watching. One of those is in front of my desk right now, standing behind a row of computers. He's just casually walking around, looking at the computers - as if they are going to pop up with a sign that says "I will NOT hurt you so sit down and use me NOW!." He seems completely oblivious to the fact that they are all displaying blank blue screens with no more than 5 icons apiece. He has a look of slight interest on his face, as if he's trying to decide if this is, indeed, a bad habbit that he wants to pick up. I've seen some people resist this call-of-the-computer. Most people are sucked into the mating ritual, and lose their souls in minutes to Google and the vast amount of information at their finger tips. Sometimes you can read their minds: "I have a PhD for what? So that my students can do research 2000 times faster than I can?." Today, the genleman decides to take the plunge. He's been sitting in front of his screen for thirty minutes, now. Luckily, a student called me over to help at a computer by him. The student needed only a minute, and as I walked away, the gentleman called me over - "Miss, can you show me how to read the news online?" He wanted the Fox News website (damn it, I wish I were unethical enough to denounce Fox to him). I showed him how to find it, and he's been sitting there ever since. His computer is at just the right angle that if I pretend I'm reaching to the far edge of my desk, I can tell that he's STILL reading the news. Every once in a while, a look of confustion will cross his face, followed by a short look of triumph. I've seen that same look on my 9 year old nephew's face as he plays video games. It's amazing what computers can do these days.

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