Saturday, August 13, 2022

It's Not the Same When You're not Home


Perhaps it's no surprise to learn that a family history researcher would feel more comfortable with the old rather than the new, the tried-and-true instead of the latest development. So, reading on, don't expect to see me say anything surprising or unexpected.

You see, I have this old computer. A very o-l-d computer. It is my laptop which is chock full of my work from literally a decade of research. It has served me quite well in its years of service, but as with anything else, it has become, well, old. Outdated. So out of sync, in fact, that the only option staring me in the face was to switch to a new computer.

Well, I did that last year. Maybe even two years ago now. And I'm only now warming up to the thing. New partnerships take time to mesh, ya know?

About being "not home." Now that we're tentatively "past Covid" (will there ever be such a day?), our family (and thus our family's business) has returned to our typical annual convention attendance. This particular trip did not involve my branch of the business, but I came along for the ride because, hey, I just needed to get out of town.

That presented one problem: I still needed to get work done. Fine: I'll work remote. No problem, right?

Except that I have this love affair with old stuff—and this phobia about embracing new stuff without a proper introduction. And guess what: even though I know how to put this new machine through its paces, "not home" also means navigating other messy stuff like playing nice with the hotel's wifi system, the operating system's own contrary mannerisms (I moved from a right-oriented PC to a left-friendly Apple), and who knows what other invisible interfaces tucked in between the two obstacles.

Guess what? That meant glitches like someone (hotel wifi? Apple OS?) suddenly deciding I shouldn't be able to access the pop-up window uses to link a selected article with an ancestor's name in my tree.

Funny, that always worked just fine when I was not "not home."

But here's the thing: when it comes to replying to your comments to this blog, guess what I suddenly could not do? Yep. Provide a reply.

Get this: I love comments. It turns a lonely virtual pursuit into a bona fide conversation. And, in like manner, I want to talk back. Only now, I can't.

So, for those who were kind enough to leave a note for me during this traveling week, yes, I saw your shared stories and helpful hints—and appreciated them. Maybe before I get back home, I will stumble upon an undeserved stroke of genius and figure out how to outwit the hidden forces wrangling with this (otherwise serviceable) laptop and send you a reply. Maybe I'll discover how to put this new-to-me contraption through its paces more expertly. Maybe I'll outwit the gremlins hovering in the ether. Maybe...

Or not. I can always wait until the cows come home. After all, I have my old standby waiting patiently for my return to more familiar territory.


  1. Hahaha. I enjoyed that. You get along with computers better than I do, but that's not saying much. I hold my breath around them, afraid to upset their delicate sensibilities. I hope you enjoy your time out of town - and don't worry in the least about replies. You do more of that than any other writer I follow.

  2. My "not that old" computer is having keyboard issues. I tried a separate keyboard, but it didn't work as well as I hoped. Tis is why I am not commenting much.


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