I am sitting here typing on a new computer. It wasn't by choice. Our old computer died this week. When it died, it took everything with it -and, to add insult to injury, it wouldn't even turn on so that I could retrieve anything. So, we went up to the city and bought a new Dell Inspiron All-in-One. Of course, we had to also get a warranty program and a new virus detector. After all, now we were driving a Porsche, not a Chevy.
My old computer had been my trusty companion for more than a dozen years. I know, I know - technology moves fast. The old machine should have been gracefully retired a few years ago - before it died the horrible fast death. But, we are optimists and kept thinking that it would last for a while longer. So much for that theory.
The new computer has a lot of fancy gizmos - built-in speakers, a camera, a wireless mouse and printer (extra, of course), and big icons that are easy on the eyes. I am trying hard to get used to the new keyboard. The letters are in the same order, of course, but the keys themselves feel funny. They don't require much pushing to register. I have already had to go back and correct capitals I didn't want, spaces I didn't need, and run-on words that cropped up.
After I finish writing this column, I need to try and remember some email addresses. They're all gone, of course. So are my 'favorites' and quick connections. Re-establishing those will take time. Someone told us that we could get 'stuff' from the old hard drive and re-install it in the newbie. Of course, my first thought was "How in the heck can I do that?" And, I wouldn't want to infect the new machine with whatever caused the demise of my old friend.
None of this is the new computer's fault. We were too slow in replacing the ancient machine. I believe that the world moves too fast at times. Technology, especially, confounds me. When I went to college in 1958, I couldn't afford a calculator. They were big and expensive. Now, they give them away in Cracker Jack boxes and they are small but powerful.
The first computer I ever saw took up a whole room at Lehigh University. You had to make an appointment to use it, and everyone carried around punched cards that were fed into the monster. Now, you can carry a computer around in your cell phone and it fits in your pocket.
The most compelling evidence of technology gone mad is the music industry. When I was a little girl, I listened to one-sided, breakable records. Then we got 33 and 45 rpm vinyl. Those were followed by 8-track tapes and then cassettes. Afterwards, CD's made an appearance. That's when I stopped the parade. We have a shelf full of cassettes and CD's, but I refuse to buy an I-pod or any other music delivery system. Enough already!
Sitting around me, on the floor of our den, are the pieces of the old computer. We have decided to offer them to the local computer club. There's a gentleman who uses old computers to harvest parts for repair jobs. It reminds me of organ donation. That's a good thing.
Now, if I can just remember my editor's email address, this column will be on its way to you!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM  OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.