SPF/Professional version 5.0.4 word
WordStar Professional release 4.00
Legacy softwares circa 1984
In spite of
my computer legacy,
I'm not big on tech. Really. It's
costing us our humanity.
And we've barely begun realizing what it's doing to our children's
brains. But with that said, one of the great conveniences tech affords
me is I can put myself in inspiring settings, write, then upload my
work to the internet from wherever I am.
Sometimes I'll write
sitting at my writing table in front of the large window looking out
onto the cattle pasture. Sometimes I'll take my laptop with me when I
drive people to our local wineries. While they're inside tasting, I'll
be in bucolic environments writing. Sometimes I'll drive myself to nice
places with gorgeous hilltop views, and sip something cold while I
flesh out a new essay. Sometimes in the morning I'll take my laptop
with me to our local diner, and get myself set up at the cramped
counter, somehow making room for my laptop, my Denver
omelet, and various jams, jellies, and cuplets of
half-and-half while I try not to elbow the diners on
either side of me. Sometimes I'll treat myself to a gourmet restaurant,
choosing a table in a corner away from the distracting chatter, where I
write and eat. And sometimes I'll write and eat at McDonald's. It's
probably true to say that only a well-heeled few come to gourmet
I do have an occasional penchant for). But
comes to McDonald's. So it's actually an inspiring place in which to
OK, so I'm in McDonald's with a tasty chicken-something sandwich,
sitting at a table, laptop open next to paper towels galore to wipe the
dressing off my fingers before I type, and this guy, a McDonald's
employee, comes shuffling along, looking down, sweeping the floor,
collecting trash. He gets closer and closer to me. Soon he's right next
to me. And that's when he looks over at me typing, is quiet for a
moment, then pointing to my laptop screen, asks "What's that you're
I'm not your run-of-the-mill Windows user.
I started programming in
I've trained the
computer staff of hundreds of the Fortune 1,000
and others. These days my preferred computer is an IBM
(International Business Machines) / Lenovo laptop
because as a friend says "Buy the best and cry only once.". It
runs Windows because that's de rigueur. But my preferred
apps (especially my
processor, utilities, and spell checker) predate Windows by decades.
They're programs I installed about thirty five years ago which I've
never upgraded ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it."). Some of them are
legacy IBM mainframe computer softwares adapted to run in Windows.
Those in the know, call them "green screen" softwares because of the
characteristic green (or white) on black look of their fonting. I run
them as DOS (Disk Operating System)
apps on my laptop. They're indispensable, my most frequently used
tools. I explain it all to him as he stands there holding his broom.
"But they're so old!" he says, "how do you make them run
in Windows?". Now look: the guy may be a floor sweeper in McDonald's,
but that's a pretty damn intelligent question for anyone
to ask. I'm now interested in him as an interested person. "There's a
freeware called 'DOSBox'" I tell him, "it's a window ie a
box in which DOS programs execute so you can run legacy
softwares in Windows.". Now that's more than enough
technobabble for anyone to absorb if they have no computer
background. He nods his head, mutters his thanks, and goes on his way,
sweeping, collecting trash.
About a month later I'm back in the same McDonald's with another same
tasty chicken-something sandwich and paper towels galore and my laptop.
I'm working on my latest essay, watching the other patrons and the
staff at work when suddenly I see him, the same guy doing the same
thing: sweeping the floor, collecting trash. I call out to him "Oh,
Hi!". He looks up from the floor, sees me, and then the light goes on
and he yells out, a joyful tone in his voice, "Hey,
DOSBox!" (he obviously remembered) and comes over to say
hello and shake my hand. I ask him how's he's been, and he proceeds to
mesmerize me by relaying what he's been up to. He says he's been taking
computer courses in the evening. He's been studying to be a network
engineer. He says after we spoke last time, he saw (quote unquote)
"something else is
for my life" other than sweeping McDonald's floors.
"Wait!" I said flabbergasted, "what did you just say?". "I said
I'm taking computer courses in the evening" he said. "No, after that.".
"I said I decided to take computer courses in the evening after we
spoke last time.". "No, after that.". "I said I saw something
for my life other than sweeping these floors.". "That's it! How did you
know 'something else is
for your life'?" I asked, incredulous. "Oh, I got that when I
was talking with you last time" he said, almost dismissively.
I was reeling. I remember our last conversation. I remember it well.
wasn't uttered. Not once. Yet he got
I for one am loath to try to explain the miracle of
Even if I could explain it, it's unlikely my explanation by itself
would do anything to make real
isn't a doing - even if getting
may result in a new doing. Rather
possibilityfalls out of (ie is a concomitant of) transformation. It's
this way of being that communicates
more powerfully than explaining it ever could. Possibility isn't gotten
through explaining: it's gotten through osmosis.
When he registered to take evening computer courses and earn his
network engineer certification after our "DOSBox" conversation, he
confirmed something about the
it's generically human, not personal. And primarily it's a way of being
that communicates it. Explanations are of but secondary import.