Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”—Albert Einstein

“But she has so much potential!” was the rallying cry my teachers used with my parents. “We just don’t understand why she’s not living up to it.”

And so began my first year in junior high, back in the olden days before middle school was even a concept. 7th and 8th grades. The good old days of assigning classes based on gender rather than a student’s interests. To this day I maintain that at some point before graduation, students should be required to take classes in what we used to call home economics and basic automotive mechanics.

I don’t understand turning students out into the world when they don’t know how to sew a button onto a shirt, or how to change a flat tire.

But that’s the way it was in the early 1960s. Girls took Home Ec and boys took Shop.

Oh, I knew I had potential; I didn’t need to be told that by someone who wasn’t as smart as I was. Because I was left alone in a guidance counselor’s office just long enough to look through the folder containing ME and seeing what my IQ was, I had written proof that I was smarter than most of my fellow students and probably most of my teachers as well.

I still couldn’t change a flat tire, or tell you the difference between 0 and 0000 grit sandpaper, but I could boil the hell out of a quart of water!

Potential don’t mean fuck-all when you’re bored by all of your classes.
High school was even worse. With the exception of two years of Spanish and a semester of Texas History, I didn’t learn anything I hadn’t already known in junior high. So yeah, I was bored to tears.

I was a student with a measured IQ above 160 and I was expected to do well in classes that were geared more towards the future farmers, ranchers, and homemakers than they were towards students who were planning on going on to universities or colleges.

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school/It’s a wonderful I can think at all.”
Paul Simon could just as easily written those lines about me as he did for himself.

But then, suddenly, COLLEGE!

And the complete opposite of high school. It was taken for granted that you knew certain things, had taken specific classes to prepare you for “the real world.” After four years of bluffing my way through classes, I was expected to actually do stuff!

I was finally in a world where I was expected to perform. To achieve results. And here I was, a person with no study habits. I hadn’t needed to develop any, because I had always been able to ace all of my classes without so much as opening a text book.

I felt as if I was a fish trying to climb a tree. Stupid.

Needless to say, my budding college career ended at the end of my freshman year. My parents weren’t about to keep shelling out money for a D student.

I still only have an Associates degree. No matter how many times I’ve tried, I still don’t fit the college mold.

If only I had been able to take Wood Shop in high school. But I was smarter than that.

I had potential.

Consider this an experiment. I’m creating this document in Scrivener, then I’m going to copy/paste it into Medium and see if it retains my formatting.

The Problem

Do I rely on technology too much? Right, I know this is a strange forum for discussing technology, when one considers that without technology this forum wouldn’t even exist.

But here’s my problem:

I access Medium—at varying times of thee day and depending on my location and mood—either by my laptop, my iPhone, or my IPad. I find my laptop gives me better control over formatting—not to mention a greater source of images—than the other two options. But I don’t usually use the laptop until I’ve been up and functioning for a few hours. Instead, my default device is my iPhone. Yes, it’s easier to type on the iPad’s larger keyboard, my my iPad is a few generations old, and is rather slow. And I get impatient as I wait for my tea water to boil so I can brew my first cup of soothing, calming tea.

So the iPhone it is. It’s much newer than the iPad—it’s a 6S Plus that’s a little over a year old, so it still is fast enough—and it handles the latest updates to iOS without blinking. But I’m really unhappy with the lack of formatting options on the iPhone through the Medium app. And I’m not above admitting that it may very well be the ID Ten T at the keyboard. (Write it down and you’ll see it becomes ID10T.)

Enter Scrivener

I’ve been using Scrivener for well over a year now, and I’ve never bothered to truly delve into all of its secrets and wonders. Rather than using it to compose my writing—mostly blog posts—I create and edit everything in Open Live Writer, then copying them to Scrivener, which serves as an archive. But I’ve recently decided to get my money’s worth out of Scrivener and use it as it was mean to be used: to create, edit, and save one’s writings.

So this is the first test. As I said, I’m doing everything in Scrivener, then I’ll see how well it it transfers into Medium.

Well, THAT sucked. A simple copy/paste lost all of my formatting. And no, a Google search didn’t yield a Medium-specific editor.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

I’ll keep you posted.

Why I Compose Blog Entries Off-Line… And Why You Should, Too!

This morning, as I was enjoying my first cup of the day—a nice Kalami Assam—I did something I’ve never done before: I had an idea for a new post, and so I opened my WordPress editor and started writing. I am a firm believer that absolutely nothing should interrupt the first cup of the day, but it was a pretty messed up morning.

To begin with, I didn’t wake up until 10:30, as opposed to my usual 09:00. So I didn’t drink my first cup until 11:00 a.m. Which is fine, if you believe in the tradition of “elevensies” (or Second Breakfast, as our Hobbit friends call it).

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my first cup is a meditation, a short period of mindfulness when I concentrate on the act of drinking the tea. With practice, I’ve managed to block out most distractions for this short time of experiencing the tea. But as I said, this was a messed-up morning, and so I wasn’t at my best.

I normally write my blog entries on my laptop, in Open Live Writer. But I also keep the WordPress app and a couple of others on both my iPhone and my iPad, in case I get an idea when I’m away from the computer. I learned long ago that I’m lying to myself when I say, “I don’t need to write it down—I’ll remember it.”

And so it was this morning: I had such a brilliant idea for an entry that I opened the WordPress app on my iPhone and spent the next 20 minutes or so composing an absolutely brilliant article, between sips of my cooling tea, and saving it as a draft.

After a wonderful fry-up breakfast—eggs, sausage, hash browns, beans, and toast(1)—I sat down at my laptop and proceeded to edit the draft.

Only to find it didn’t seem to exist. Anywhere. Not on my phone, not on my laptop—nowhere.

I had violated my own Robyn’s First Rule of Computing, which states:

Be Paranoid And Compulsive!

It’s not a matter of if you’re going lose files, but when.

My new practice in light of all of the above is to make notes in several places, or rather in several applications on whatever device I happen to be using at the time.

Yes, it’s more work. Yes, it’s a pain in the you-know-where. But not nearly as painful as losing a good idea.

(1) At this time of the month, money is scarce, and so my fry-up was lacking the beans. And the sausage. And the hash browns. Okay, so I had 2 eggs on toast.

Pretty catchy title, eh? Sometimes just coming up with an idea for a title is harder than writing an article.

I don’t speak French. Oh, sure—I know a few words, but not enough to claim I understand the entire language. And sometimes I can even understand what I’m hearing based on context and tone of voice.

Which brings me back to Skype.

Apparently, rebooting Ed’s system fixed everything. At least, when he got back from walking the dog, everything seemed to be working.

This morning, we verified my theory that I had fixed Skype when a friend in France called Ed via the program, and they talked about 30 minutes. Now here’s the thing—and the whole point of this post—about language: From what I was able to understand in my limited knowledge of French, they were both railing against modern technology in general and Skype in particular.

Let me repeat: they were both railing against modern technology in general and Skype in particular—all the while sitting in front of computers, chatting between two countries thousands of mile apart, complete with live video feeds—and not seeing the irony.

And my frustrations? I drowned them in TWO large cups of whole-leaf Assam.

To paraphrase that great American philosopher, Homer Simpson, “Tea: is there anything it can’t do?” (Homer actually asked this not of tea but of jelly donuts, but hey, poetic license!)

Frustration is…

Posted: 21 January, 2018 in Frustration, Technology

…Trying to Provide Tech Support to Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Learn Anything

My landlord Ed is a pretty intelligent guy. My rent includes free Internet, so from time to time I have no issue helping him with his computer. But usually the first I’m aware that he’s having an issue is when I hear him downstairs, screaming at his computer.

The latest problem began when one of the agencies he contracts with for jobs told him the reason he was having problems logging into their billing system was that he needed to empty his cache and clear out all of his cookies. So he did, only to discover later when he tried to answer a call on Skype that deleting the cookies broke Skype. He could see and hear the caller, but the caller neither saw nor heard him.

Robyn to the Rescue!

Except Robyn has never used Skype, and so knows absolutely nothing about how it works (Coincidentally, my ex texted me a couple of days ago asking for help with Skype.)

Okay, okay. I can take a hint. I guess I’ll have to learn how to use Skype. But so far as Ed’s problems go, well, I’m running Windows 10 and he’s still on Windows 7. So I’m worried about possible compatibility issues between the two versions of Skype.

A Learning Disability?

Can the fact that someone refuses to learn anything new truly be considered a disability? Because this, more than anything, is Ed’s problem: he doesn’t want to learn anything new. He has his own ideas about how programs should run, and gets frustrated and angry when they don’t fit those preconceived notions.

I once considered recommending he get a computer where everything works the same way (Macintosh), but then I realized that would mean having to learn new things.

Peace and Quiet

Ed’s pretty quiet now. At least he’s not screaming at the computer any more. So I’m going to take the opportunity to sneak back upstairs and learn how to use Skype.

Because I don’t know if it’s truly quiet, or if this is the calm before the storm.