A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
It always amazes me how stupid some people (see: me) can be when it comes to technology (see: computers, TV sets, automotive engines, and anything else requiring even the smallest iota of brainpower).
Back on Wednesday, December 20, Michele, Mary’s granddaughter, sent her a photo of her son, Wesley, Mary’s great-grandson. He is one and a half and sitting on Santa’s knee. Mary thought the picture would make a good screensaver for the Christmas season. Being an absolute wizard when it comes to the computer sciences and the applications thereof, I attempted to do what should have been a fairly easy task for anyone with a few computer skills. It should have, and no doubt would have been, had someone with a smidgen of technical expertise attempted this simple task.
Such a person not being available, I took a crack at it and in slightly more than five hours and half a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 year old, we were staring at the finished product. It was perfect. Well, it would have been perfect had Wesley and the jolly old elf not been sitting sideways on the computer screen with the distinct possibility that the two of them would slide off the monitor and land on the floor.
Now in this situation a person with even a modicum of common sense would have called in the experts, but instead I decided to fix the problem myself. After all how hard can it be? I am not a complete idiot. I was surprised how easy it was and within seconds Wesley and old St. Nick were right-side-up and smiling.
But something seemed wrong. After staring at the screen for a few minutes I figured out what the problem was. Everything else was sideways. The task bar and those icon thingies that should have been across the top were running down the side which made using them a tad awkward. Have you ever tried to read a book sideways? For one thing it is hard on the neck and after an hour or two a visit to a chiropractor is a must. In the worst cases an orthopaedic surgeon should be alerted to give him or her time to book an operating theatre when one becomes available – hopefully sometime in the next two years, to fix the crook in your neck. In the meantime you have to hang your head over the armrest to use the computer and lie on the floor to talk to anyone, not only awkward but a bit suspect if you are talking to a lady wearing a skirt.
I worked on the problem for hours, I really did, even went so far as to look for help on the Internet, but of course I couldn’t understand any of its suggestions. If you don’t know computer language, you are screwed. I even went so far as to discuss the problem with my publisher, editor and the well-known computer expert, John Swartz over coffee. John immediately came up with the solution suggesting I right-click here and left-click there. (It is all quite technical and you would never understand it.) I thanked him profusely and hurried home. It didn’t work. I even got up in the middle of the night to try an idea I must have dreamed. I should have stayed in bed. I should have known that any ideas I get in bed will not work. They never have now that I think about it.
By a stroke of luck, Mary’s daughter and son-in-law, were coming to our house for Christmas Eve. Through my sobs and tears of frustration I explained the situation to Lyndon. It took him almost a minute to fix it. I had the screen on portrait instead on landscape.
It was so simple, the old portrait/landscape business of course! Do you know what I am talking about? I don’t either!
My biggest mistake was Thursday morning I should have walked across the road before the school bus got there, asked some kid in Grade Four to come over and fix my computer. Problem solved!