Computers. Huh. What are they good for?
by Carla Schroder
I live way out in TAEON (the tail end of nowhere.) Out where the majority of citizens still make their living from the land: cattle and sheep ranching, horses, alpacas and llamas, timber, mining, and farming. Most folks don't make a lot of money. Quite a few have never owned a personal computer, and never will. Believe it or not, a sizable number don't even bother with a telephone answering machine. What's the point? When they're home, they'll answer the phone. When they're gone, you can't talk to them anyway.
Folks out here have a way of cutting through the baloney like a guided laser. When I'm discussing computerizing a business, for example, I better be able to answer "how will doing this make me more money, and make running my business easier?" Sometimes the answer is "it won't." Kids still get sent to the public library to do research. You know, where the books are, and the distractions aren't. Sometimes research means talking to old people who lived the history they are studying.
What's the point of this ramble, you may ask? Beats me. Except maybe that computers are not everything, and there's a whole big world out there with lots of fun things to do that have nothing to do with computers. Which might sound odd coming from a certified geek and Linux zealot, but there you are.
Yesterday, I was at the local town fair which is called the Apple Festival, and it dawned on me how great it was to be off the grid for just a little while. Instead of ringtones and wallpapers, I was listening to the local high school marching band, and looking at the sticky faces of my kids as they sloppily devoured caramel apples and funnel cakes.