I Might be a Digital Caveman

First frost

I recently was given a new iPad for work. I get to use it for non-work stuff, but my iPhone is my go-to mobile device. I have to buy my own phone. I use it for work stuff, just as much, perhaps more than I use the iPad for personal stuff, but these are the things that all come out in the wash.

Anyway, the week after getting the new iPad, I had to travel to New York City for three days. It was going to be a busy three days, so there didn’t seem to be the need to take my laptop.

Now, you should know that me traveling without a laptop is as if my grandmother had traveled without her knitting, or my dad had traveled without his golf clubs – i.e. things that just don’t happen.

I prepared for the journey. I reckoned that I would need to reply to a million emails, ‘cuz I think that’s in my job description. I would need to review / edit some documents that would be stored in online storage on a few different platforms, and I would want to post two blog entries.

My iPad had been restored from a recent backup of my old iPad, so in theory, everything I needed was already there. Except the stuff that wasn’t, and the stuff that wouldn’t work because the new iPad had the latest version of the operating system (iOS). I didn’t know about those two categories. I saw icons and folders and I assumed all was well. I had written the two blog posts, and I had uploaded the photos I planned to publish. Surely, I could do everything else from the WordPress app. That was my thought, until I launched the app.

WordPress Cannot continue – Please login again!

Every attempt to login again failed. The path forward was clear, the app had to be deleted and reinstalled. Something about WordPress didn’t like being restored from a backup. I know this procedure works, but deleting an app, even a non-functional app (that you need) is a leap of faith. It’s like putting your wallet in one of those cheesy hotel room safes. You set the combination. You test it, but once you put your wallet in there, if that combination doesn’t work…

I deleted the app and proceeded to the App Store. The App Store wouldn’t load. I got some cute error message: “drat” “fiddlesticks” “blast” or something like that. Those are not funny when the app-that-didn’t-load is the only way I can publish those blog posts. OK, yes I could always get to my blog admin through the browser, but I didn’t think of that in the heat of that particular moment. I needed the APP!

Note: this is why I didn’t go into law enforcement or medicine or some such field where lives are often in danger. I could see myself causing great harm in stressful situations like this. I’m good in a crisis, but it takes me a little while to get the reaction-induced-stupidity out of the way, so the eventual cool-logical-approach can surface.

On the second try, the App Store opened. I found the WordPress app, downloaded – opened – logged-in and all was well.

Do you remember when deleting an app(lication) and reinstalling it meant having to have the original diskettes and all the upgrade diskettes? I remember the remarkably inconvenient installation of Adobe PhotoShop when I had to insert the Disk-1 from the original purchase and Disk-1 from the three subsequent upgrades. I remember because I was installing PhotoShop on a machine that didn’t have a 5 1/4” diskette drive. I had to map a drive to a machine on our network that still had a 5 1/4” floppy drive and point Adobe to that drive. That machine was in a server room at the end of the hall, so to change the diskette, I had to walk there and back.

Children, by that I mean those of you under 30, I’m not making this up. This is how we had to work. You know the USB sticks, the CDs and the DVDs you think are signs of dinosaur-tech? I was working in this industry when those things were invented! Sliced-bread and bottled beer had nothing on the CD that replaced the 35 diskettes required to install Windows.

Suffice it to say, you weren’t doing that on a train to New York.

And, speaking of cavemen, after I wrote this, I noticed this Priorhouse blog entry, which I thought was pretty funny.


93 thoughts on “I Might be a Digital Caveman

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  1. Hartford photos are lovely, but, of course, Maddie wins first place. :-) I can remember the first computer class I took, there were stacks of cards we carried around. And, the first computer I used at work included sheets of paper with instructions to ‘hit’ this button, etc. with no reasons or explanation. Drove me nuts. Today what is driving me nuts is that my computer needs to be repaired, and I’m hoping I can make it until after this first holiday. Happy Monday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy, I hope your computer hangs in there (or Santa is good to you).

      I learned to program using a teletype terminal connected to the University of Pittsburgh computer center. Paper tape was the only storage media available.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, the “joys” of technology “upgrades.” I tend to hang on to technology for as long as I possibly can. I remember a few years ago when I had to switch computers for doing my taxes, because TurboTax was no longer compatible with the operating system on my Mac laptop and it was so old it couldn’t handle an upgrade to the OS. I still think fondly of my first computer, a luggable Kaypro machine that operated with the pre-DOS CP/M operating system with dual 5 1/4 inch floppy drives. It served me well for a number of years and I am embarrassed to admit that I still have it somewhere. I love your shots of Maddie and the squirrels (and laughed at the captions, with my favorite one being the reference to your “local” food drive).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, Dan, I remember well the 5 1/4 inch days. Pre-WWW days, menu-driven signs along the way. I, too, am a caveman.

    Still, as I read and re-read this post, I kept scanning back to Maddie’s photos. Such a precious and beautiful creature, free to sniff the autumn air, free from the mechanical manifestations we humans use to communicate across many miles.

    Just let me walk, watch, and sniff Mattie’s world in order to understand life’s essential truths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anthony. She is a sweetheart (most of the time). It’s hard to remember that she’s just exploring her world, when it’s in the 20s, with a stiff wind and she is supposed to be…well, you know. Maybe we would all be better off if we paid more attention to the world around us.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband is an old computer tech. When he first started, he worked on computers as big as refrigerators–several, all lined up in a room. He continues to be amazed at how far things have come. Sammy, Maddie and MiMi always make me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan, I so enjoy your blogs. Witty, informative, thought-provoking. I especially look forward to the photos, particularly of Maddie, Sally, Sammy and MiMi. One of my daughters has two cats, black/white, brother/sister, MiMi and MuMu!!

    But the real advantage to reading your blogs is that at the same time I’m learning how to speak Greek. Who knew?! Gigabytes, megabytes, 640 kb of RAM, 5-1/4″ floppies… It’s all Greek to me!! LOL. 😂😂😂

    People my age should never be given their s-in-l’s old iPad. We’re dangerous when told “Go ahead. Have fun. You can’t hurt anything.” This old dinosaur showed them what trouble I could get into. Haha!!

    But I am having fun! 😜😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. Thanks for a comment that’s making me smile. I’m glad you enjoy this stuff. I have fun writing it but I feel good when people find it entertaining. So thanks again. Next week, we’ll cover Tera and peta 😏

      Like

  6. I looked up Colt Dome. Neat. We have one of those here, too. Marines run it, but it’s called the Heslar Naval Armory. (We had a naval base in Kokomo, Indiana, too — in landlocked area. How weird is that?)
    Great photos. All animals with the cuteness. You do tend to favor Maddie for photos.
    Saw my first patch of ice today. It’s at the end of my street. Walked a few blocks early, then drove all around my community later, no other ice. My entire street often freezes solid through winter so I’m not surprised my first ice is here. Go figure.
    I used to travel with my laptop, but the last several times I did, I never opened it, so I haven’t taken it in a long time now. I use the app to check in when I’m traveling though. It’s the only time I use it. Cause I DESPISE it. Wouldn’t dream of creating a post on it.
    I mostly remember how many cords we had. Gosh that was a lot of cords. Adapter doojis. I wish we’d get to universal USB ricky-tick-quick. *throws shade at Apple*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot about all the cords. Oh my, you’re right. It’s not that I favor Maddie, it’s that she scares the cats into hiding.

      The Colt complex is inches away from being a National Park. They are finishing up dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s. Maybe by next year I’ll be able to tour some of the insides.

      Posting from the app is a challenge. Fortunately, I had written the drafts before I left.

      Thanks, as always for taking the time to visit here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I go back even further than those huge floppy disks. I remember Mag Tape! And the C: prompt! I remember that you had to be really careful how commands were entered – never, ever type “delete all” (I nearly wiped out the entire computer system of a large government agency before a coworker explained I better pay attention to what I was asking the computer to delete).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I was in public school, I remember the computers had a built-in black roller ball and that was your mouse. And when I was in high school, I took a traditional photography class in Grade 10. But Grade 11, I was in Imaging Arts, and we were using those clunky digital cameras that took the 3 1/2″ floppy discs!

    My dad still has his old computer hooked up beside his newer one — it’s from 1998, runs Windows 95 (because let’s be honest, they just never worked all the bugs out of 98!), has a 3 1/2″ floppy drive AND a slot for the 5 1/4” diskettes you mentioned in the post. He still uses it sometimes because for all the advancements in technology, there ARE times the dinosaurs out-perform the new kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My heart was thumping as you were deleting the app. Clearly, I do not haves nerves of steel nor a sophisticated understanding of technology. If something merely has an on / off button, that’s for me. I did have to delete my WordPress app once. All went fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really like the two “Hartford from Great River Park” pics, Dan. It’s not easy to get a good nighttime shot, but you managed, and even included those great reflections. Well done! Glad everything worked out with the WP app.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh No! Don’t want to remember old technology days! Yep, years ago at work I used diskettes, floppy discs, etc! Time consuming! Now, the App Store’s another thing! There are too many choices & variations of what you’re looking for. Sort of like supermarket aisles of cereal or bread or any other staple. Choices, choices! 🤔 Not that I’d want to go backwards. I love my IPhone, iPad, & super duper Mac computer! 😉 Have a great week, Dan! 🌷 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for stirring the old memories Christine. I wouldn’t want to go back, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep up.

      It’s funny you mention bread and cereal. I have a draft of that post from when I had to do grocery shopping.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. When hubs produced his thesis, he ran a topographical map on the ONE computer on our university campus – it took up the entire basement of the administration building. His map was programmed in FORTRAN! I started my first class of “computer literate” students on Commodore 64s using DOS! I’ve thrown out more 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 inch disks, along with all of those manuals, than I care to remember. How did we ever survive???? ~ Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I laughed at your post for a few reasons, Dan. I am a cave woman. My girlfriend, her daughter and I were watching “Hidden Figures” for the second time (excellent movie) and how life was in the early 60’s. Hand calculations; IBM Selectric typewriter (I had one) and a very large IBM computer with the little cards that ran through it. (The 26 year old asked how we corrected errors with the typewriter, which led to a discussion about auto correct and correct tape, and she just looked at us like we were from another planet). So, I do remember all of the install disks for various programs. I used to have a nice assortment of those shiny disks at work. They went by way of the MS Office manuals that used to tell us how to use Word, Excel, etc.

    I’ve had to reload WordPress from the app store at least three or four times now. With the latest app reload, the ability to like the comment you post in response to my comment is nonexistent. There is nothing to let me express that I like your comment. I will have to reply with a :-) or two thumbs up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Next, you can explain carbon paper and correcting mistakes on multiple copies.

      I remember fixing errors on computer cards. Duplicate up to the mistake, type a few characters and duplicate the rest.

      WordPress is getting harder to “like” I had the problem with not being able to like blogs in the browser but I found that I could go back and like them in the email.

      The IBM Selectric was a wonderful machine.

      Like

  14. oh I can see how this connects to the comics, Dan! Thanks for the mention and linkage!
    Now I do not remember all the floppy disc stuff, but I do recall needed those discs to install.
    And your post was succinct yet thorough in describing this warp through time and a generational cohort thing – lol
    and loved the extras – like the first frost oic…
    oh and laughed pretty good with this:

    “I could see myself causing great harm in stressful situations like this…”

    ahhh
    tis a gift to know who we are – eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a gift.

      It was so funny because I had just finished this before starting to catch up on reading. I saw that cartoon and I had to laugh.

      This has felt a bit like a time warp. Especially since I still have some of the old stuff 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well I heard someone (don;t know them) a man – and he has all these old cell phones in a display case. Thick ones – long ones – antenna ones, etc. so maybe should really save yours and have a collection

        Like

  15. I had the WP app and deleted it and never reinstalled it. It was too small, and having to send my images to the phone first, then writing any text and sending that to my email to copy into the WP text box…it just seemed like so much more work.

    I loved that leaf on the window, and the night images of the city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I had such trouble with that leaf. The light was better if I opened the door, but then Maddie wanted to go. The night images will be a staple for a few months. My morning commute is getting dark again.

      The app is a challenge to use on the phone. Sometimes I use it to add the link to someone’s post that I know is coming but isn’t up when I schedule mine. That is so hard to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I was cracking up thinking back to all of the discs we had to back stuff up or like you to update Photoshop (now I pay a monthly fee for the gift of using it). My poor wife always hears me bemoaning technology that isn’t working the way God intended it to….lol!! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Something change recently in the way WordPress interacts with my phone and tablet. I have no idea if it’s WP or the iOS operating system. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to google the problem, but so far haven’t had any luck. I’m not sure why things just can’t continue to work like they used to, but I’m sure someone, somewhere “updated” something to make things “better.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I also remember having to make payphone calls with a credit card to check-in with the office. I remember fax’s to the hotel with important information. I even remember the first Fedex delivery. Today’s kids ought to excel in business. It is all on that iPad or laptop whenever one need’s it. (unless the app goes south that is) Super post, Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember teaching our engineers how to get their email, via the AT&T Calling card, a whole bunch of commas, the security number and then the number to our email server’s modem. I used that string in a presentation once to illustrate “how it used to be.”

      When Faxes and FedEx were new – those were the days.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I remember the days of 8 character only file names. Actually, I’d already been working for some years before I saw my first computer and I didn’t even see the computer. It lived in a room at the end of the corridor and I raised purchase orders on a terminal in another room.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, 8-dot-3 filenames. We still have some database tables that have curious names, because they were converted from files like that.

      The scary thing is that everything we have today will be obsolete in much less time than it took for floppy disks to die off.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Whoever thinks USBs are dinosaur tech must have been born yesterday. They came just the other day. But things are changing too fast now. Too fast. I stored by first manuscript for a novel in a floppy disk as backup, but when I went to open it, the file had become corrupted. I don’t know about those sides, but here the floppies were always failing, always corrupted, always had a virus or something. I remember when a comp science friend of mine wrote a program and stored it in a floppy. It was a class assignment, but it killed the lecturer’s laptop. He told me he didn’t write anything fishy. But I have been thinking it was fishy. Students and their teachers aren’t always the best of friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our younger workers see no need for USB Sticks, Peter – they can store everything in the cloud. Actually, it’s better and safer. They end up with only one copy, they can lose it and others can get to it if they need to.

      Floppies were never really reliable, especially if they weren’t fresh out of the box. I always used to dread when someone would give me a file on a diskette.

      What we have today is still changing. It’s hard to keep up.

      Like

  21. I was an early adopter of an iPad, and as such the bloom is off the rose about those things. Your struggle with non-functioning apps sounds familiar. I just gave up on updating my iPad, figuring if the darned thing doesn’t want to utilize a previously functioning app, so be it. On the flip side, I’m on Level 961 on Candy Crush Saga– an app that never stops working. So it can be done, if a company wants to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! That’s so true. The important things survive. I have a bowling app that I first installed on an iPhone 4. I’ve had to change apps that no longer are being updated, and no longer run. I tend to keep my devices up-to-date, because my department requires that of our employees, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  22. LOVED those night shots, Dan. Since I’m no “child” I remember when yeah this techo stuff came out. Sorry about all you went through. Grrrrr …. technology is great when it works right. I have an iPad and was fascinated with it at first. That fascination has long worn off over the years however. I still rely on my laptop for WP posts and picture editing. I just cannot force myself to do everything from my phone. It just doesn’t feel right to me. I need my laptop! I watch some of these “kids” with their phones and my jaw drops. Glad to know you finally got everything to work. And FYI … your sense of humor rocks! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. If we can’t laugh, we’re in trouble. I am amazed at how much can be done from a phone. I my career, network support went from something I used to have to drive in to attend to to something my coworker can do from his phone. Lots of steps in that transition, and each one amazing in it’s own right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do not like to admit this … I don’t know what I would do without my phone. I’ve gone from saying I will never have a smart phone to today, using it for so many things. Yikes! And yes the transition has been amazing. We are fortunate that we have witnessed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Children, by that I mean those of you under 30, I’m not making this up. This is how we had to work.

    While going through the National History Museum in Washington DC with my children, I remember the humiliation of the technology displays.

    “I worked on that computer and that one and that.”

    “How about that one?”

    “Yup.”

    “And that…”

    “Uh-huh.”

    Later at the railroad display…

    “Did you ever ride on that one?”

    “No, that is 1860’s vintage.”

    “Well?”

    “No.”

    “Or that one.”

    “Actually, I did.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha – I’m picturing the train President Lincoln rode on. I took my daughter to the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC (now the Paley Center). We watched an episode ot the Twilight Zone, complete with commercials. One commercial proclaimed the benefit and relative safety of Menthol cigarettes. My daughter turned to me and asked “how stupid were you people?”

      My oldest computer usage involved a teletype terminal in our Junior High school that was connected via phone/acoustic coupler to the University of Pittsburgh computer. Remember paper tape?

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I so understand. Hell when I watch War Games I giggle at the huge computer banks and DOS style programming. And I’M a dinosaur myself! Most younguns have no idea how rapidly this computer age has progressed.
    I love the photos. Just can’t get over those black squirrels. 👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The black squirrels are so cute. They are so much fun to watch. They’re a little more skittish and quick, but they will stop for a peanut or two.

      The funny thing is that even the children will be dinosaurs soon. This stuff is changing so very fast.

      Like

  25. Since the advent of self-correcting typewriters, all of technology and each improvement in it have been a vast, frightening mystery to me. So far, looking helplessly at either my husband or grandchildren has worked, but I’m beginning to sense impatience from them. I have no idea what I’ll do if they all go on strike.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I like the photos very much. Hartford’s City lights are beautiful! I forgot to mention Maddie on my last post, so will say she is so sweet and cute. I smile when I see her! Black squirrel is so handsome and silky looking.
    Thank you for making me feel a bit better, Dan! WordPress app doesn’t think I am “me,” ever?! If I am replying to someone I have to leave WP, head to the internet and literally start to type the blog name in, sometimes then it recognizes me. . . I cannot tell you how often, annoying, etc. this has become. Grr-rr! Sometimes I stay on WP and go through the login process every time I comment. Just so I can at least directly respond back to posts I have already read or written. Otherwise, I have to go back and reread posts. Hmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have had that exact problem with WP, on a few occasions this year. Right now, it seems to know me, but there are days when I visit blogs I go to all the time and it wants me to login again, even while it tells me I am logged in.

      In any case, thanks for visiting and, for any extra effort it took to post a comment. I really appreciate the comments. I hope you have a great week, Robin.

      Like

  27. After reading this post (yes, I know I’m behind) and the comments, it’s become clear that the problems I recently started to encounter with WP aren’t isolated to me. Apps? Never use them if I don’t have to – I default to the browser. Your post has convinced me that my strategy is a good one.

    … but oh God, did this post make me feel old. The stories we could write about the early days of computers! Even my sons are starting to feel old because they remember dial-up!!
    Forget computers, I remember getting my first handheld calculator. That was a big deal!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was a big deal, Joanne. I waited until my junior year in college before giving up my slide rule (now I feel old).

      I prefer WP in a browser. I use the app (using it now) but prefer the browser.

      Thanks so much for reaching back for this. I enjoyed this comment.

      Like

      1. You’re one up on me Dan. I never learned how to use a slide rule.
        I went to Mr Google to see if there was a quick and easy guide to learn how …. BWAHAHAHA!! There was a guide – just not quick and easy.

        However, as an interesting side not, I did just learn that the Apollo astronauts went to the moon carrying slide rules 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I thought maybe I could reverse engineer my way into understanding it, but no … and the instructions are very instructional.

            However, now I have another question. Are there different types of slide rules for different applications? One of the things I read seems to imply there are.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. There are lots of different types of slide rules. Some less expensive ones had fewer scales, so they couldn’t do some operations. The one I used had multiple scales for Trig functions and vector math.

              Other types of slide rules were developed for specific industries, where common calculations were per-programmed if you will. Things like how much a cubic yard of concrete will cover at various depths, or the lengths and angles of rafters and how many “squares” (100 sq ft) of shingles would be required. Of course today, we can do all of this on our phones.

              Like

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