This is the fourth in a series of episodes, chronicling the shocking disappearance of the blog, "Mark's Work," thought at first to be simply overcome by cannabis, and certain to be found at the nearest pizza parlor. How wrong we all were and there's nothing more that needs to be said, except for maybe a generic statement of a techie nature. No more than twenty volumes. Hopefully.
Tech for Tots or
Lost in [Cyber] Space-Episode 4
“I’ve flown around the world in a plane,
I’ve settled revolutions in Spain
And the North Pole I have charted,
Still I can’t get started with you…”
The lyrics pretty much sum up the sad state of affairs for me, when it came to making the transition from my “old gray mare” of a computer, Terra Jean, to my sleek new filly, known forever more as Suzy Puente. I mean, they both LOOK identical from the outside so it’s deceiving.
On the other hand, being the eternal optimist, I wanted so hard to believe that it was just about following a series of baby steps, kind of like the film, What about Bob? that I would have sold the town of Mendocino for a handful of brightly colored glass beads.
“Hey, I survived teaching 37 eighth graders in the same language arts class, and lived to brag about it. Well, there HAVE been a couple of lingering side effects from that experience, but I’m here to say that after ten years, I have reduced the number of days per week that I see my therapist from five to four, and she insists that I am making progress, despite what others may believe.
How hard can this be?” I asked myself, pragmatically.
“I don’t know,” the universe might have replied. “How hard is it to recalibrate the specs on the fuel injection system on the latest model Lamborghini? You have about the same level of ability with both of them…”
“Ah ha!” I might have countered, “but the clerk at the computer store assured me that I could handle this. He wouldn’t steer me wrong, would he?” I beamed brightly.
“No, he didn't steer you wrong-it was more like a nudge with a cattle prod…” Weird. The universe sounds surprisingly like Annie.
“Look, ask JT-she’ll tell you. All I have to do is let my fingers do the talking while they hook up the external hard drive that I got for a measly $70.00, push the button called Time Machine on Terra Jean and fire up the bong. Kind of boring, actually. Besides, I have a secret weapon.”
“Really?” inquired the universe sweetly. “You hired Steve Wozniak? How nice.”
Refusing to take the bait, I reached instead for the magic button that activated the Time Machine procedure, and then reached for the phone.
Joe Cool (not his real name) picked up after the second ring and I identified myself tentatively, reminding him about our conversation out on the terrace below Casey’s house. Instead of vehemently denying it, and slamming down the receiver (which is devilishly difficult on a cell phone), to my surprise he said right away that he DID remember, and what could he do for me?
I’m not surprised he remembered me, but I was a bit taken aback that he was willing to admit it.
The result of our telephone conversation found Joe pulling his [not-white] pickup into my compound the following Tuesday. We had agreed that he would rise at his normal time, take care of a few phone calls and head on up to the farm.
We had discussed a couple of logistical questions, such as Joe’s fee. “Seventy-five dollars an hour,” he had said.
Cheap at twice the price…if I can get my blog back.
I had dutifully copied all of the data from Terra Jean onto the external hard drive, using the Time Machine program, flushed with the thrill of victory at this first critical step.
It may have been just one button that I pushed but it was the RIGHT button.
I will admit to being a little disconcerted when high fives were not exchanged with Joe upon this crucial revelation, but I recovered quickly.
We had no more settled into place in front of the two computers, happily ensconced on the broad dining room table, when I casually asked a key question,”Will we be using the Thunderbolt, Time Capsule or the Mountain Lion program?” Buddha, I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. “I mean I considered the Snow Leopard approach, but discarded it because of the OS factor. You know, 10.6 versus 10.7.”
I had no idea what these components were but I was certain Joe did. I had spent fifteen minutes practicing asking the question, and it sounded so techie! I got this!” I thought smugly.
Joe had listened carefully to my calculated question, obviously impressed that I was so much more sophisticated than he might have thought, and responded quickly.
“Par la présente Apple Inc declare que l’appareil MacBook Pro est conforme aux exigences essentielles et aux autres dispositions pertinentes de la directive 1999/5/Ce.”
I nodded in comprehension. I had assured Joe that I would be straightforward with him and let him know when I didn’t understand something.
But hey, so far, we seemed to be speaking the same language.
I continued on, saying matter-of-factly, “You know, that migration assistant copies all your files so you don’t have to do it manually, especially when you use that Time Capsular external drive.”
Joe nodded, obviously struck by the intelligence reflected in the comment. Recovering from the blow, he nonetheless was able to say, “I’m concerned about getting your blog back. This may be trickier than I thought.”
I stared at Joe uncomprehendingly. “Dude, this is no time to start getting technical on me. I didn’t understand a word of what you just said. It’s as if you are suddenly speaking French.”
Joe suddenly flashed that quick, confident smile and said, “No worries. I’ll translate.” He slowed down and made eye contact with me. “I can’t see why all we can get is the M. Damien blog, and not the Mark’s Work blog. Have you ever had a different email address?”
Hallelujah! Right language, right question, right time…
I leaped all over that stuff, “Yes, I had a hotmail account when I started the blog, and changed it to g-mail when I got hacked. It was kind of weird because my friends all started getting emails saying that I was being held hostage in Spain and would be released when $2000.00 had been delivered. ‘Course, all I could think about was that two grand wasn’t very much loot to demand for, well, never mind…”
Joe looked excited and quickly responded, “Pour des performances optimales, connected voter bisque au port USB 3.0 bleu.”
“This tech lingo is the pits,” I whined. “Can you put that in a different way, maybe simpler, and a little slower, so that I can understand it?”
Joe thought for a moment and said, “Let me try this. All I need is the email address itself, and the password to that account, of course, and I think we can get your blog back.”
“Email address? Password? To my first email account? The one I haven’t used in four years? Did you also want me to recite the lines I memorized in eighth grade, for the Christmas play? I have about the same chance of remembering them as I do the other.”
“I see,” he muttered, and it was painfully obvious that he did see. He tried to conceal it, but I began to see the writing on the wall, indelibly scrawled with a broad-tipped Sharpie.
But hey, it was time to eat lunch and Annie had cooked for the crew, so I drifted off to a venue where I knew I could succeed, and relaxed. Joe had brought a sandwich which he would eat in his own good time, so he busied himself over the keyboard, his fingers seemingly traveling at the same speed as the information being conveyed by the world-wide internet on the machine in front of him.
His goal, by the time he had left late in the afternoon, was to have at least gotten me into my face/book account, my email account, and to have gotten me access to my photos, all on Suzy Puente. He would go home and work on the blog thing “by sending out a couple of emails.”
“Great success!” I enthused, as Joe got ready to go.
He cautioned me. “So I can’t guarantee anything, you know. Keep thinking about the name of that email account and the password. That would help a lot.”
“No problem,” I lied.
Think about the password? I done backed up that truck so far already, it plum fell into the quarry.
“I’m prepared for the worst if it can’t be recovered. For the moment, it’s enough that I have social media and my pics. I can always start a new blog and link it to the old one.”
Sure, and Dozer hates it when I force him to eat pieces of my ribeye steak, taken off of my plate at dinner, while he lurks under the table, cleverly concealed by the antique white table cloth covering the dining room table.
Ok, so it was another whopper. On the outside I told Joe that I knew how these things worked, certainly the biggest whopper of them all, and that he shouldn’t spend any more time than that which had already been allocated.
And we left it at that, agreeing to meet one day the following week.