Monday, February 16, 2009

Ain’t technology grand?

Vicki here, pointing out that some of you might have noticed that our links section (don’t look to the right of your screen) has disappeared. I was attempting to remove one link and, like magic, the whole lot of them disappeared. Puff. Gone. Oh, dear. Now I have to remember what great web and blog sites I had linked to and recreate them. That will be about half a day’s work, if I'm lucky. Maybe I’ll just have another drink instead.

My publisher has developed a nifty new database on which we can enter our appearances and reviews. Hours of typing later, (I do have a jam packed schedule for this spring) I have absolutely no idea of what I’ve entered. He sent us the link to view the database, but it kept rejecting my ID. Thinking it was just me, I decided to ignore the problem. Reports are now trickling that no one’s ID works. I suspect my publisher will be having another drink.

My house is heated by a wood-burning stove (what someone in the newspaper recently called a wooden stove – take a moment to imagine that). I was feeding paper into its ravenous jaws today, marked up copies from my critique group, the flyers stuffed into my mail box that I almost need a forklift truck to get to the house, credit card offers (are they getting more desperate lately, or is it just me?) when I remembered that we were living in the paperless society.

Are you old enough to remember that? Back around the time that computers were first put on everyone’s desk (I was in tech support in those days, one of the people who snuck around at night putting a brand-spanking new computer on your desk that you were expected to know how to use as if by osmosis) it was predicted that from now on we would be living in the paperless society. Everything would be done electronically.


What happened instead was that rather than accepting the one copy of the monthly report he was given, the boss wanted it reformatted. And reprinted. The colour changed. And reprinted. Ooopps better go back to the original colour. And while you’re at it, make the heading bigger and print me a copy of that will you.
Rather than passing around the report at the meeting, everyone now must have their own copy. Better make extra in case more people show up. What the heck, that &*^%$ computer has gone haywire and the printer is spitting out hundreds of pages, each with one character of the report on it. Stop the printing, start again. Oh, no! I wanted it double-sided and this is only giving me one-sided, trash the lot and start again. One-sided is wasteful.

The modern office is drowning in a sea of paper.

All of which is apropos* to nothing at all, except perhaps started when I was thinking of Charles’s report of his illustrious ancestor’s research.** You simply do not know where technology is going to take you. Other than in the direction you least expected.

*Apropos, by the way, is not the short form of appropriate. That is a common error. Apropos means ‘with reference to’ or ‘regarding’. Print that out and hang it over your desk. Not in that colour! Print it again.

** My children are the descendents of a family of a real Irish saint (on their father’s side. On my side they’re descendents of sheep stealers and wreckers, and (I sincerely hope) ladies of ill repute.) Take that Ernst Wolfgang Dieter Joachim von Benoit !