Local lifestyle columnists

How my eyes hamper technology

By From page B5 | July 19, 2014

bass column sig

Today, we address the conflict of technology and poor eyesight – starting with Skype.

For those of you who may not know, Skype is a wonderful program that lets you use the Internet to communicate by using a camera and microphone. You call and the result is to be able to talk with folks as if they were sitting across the table from you. It’s very personal – I Skype twice a week with my son and daughter-in-law down in Texas and it’s just great.

Well, the Skype people have been bugging me to upgrade their program for at least a month. Several times a day, a window appears, telling me to “upgrade now.” I am always reluctant to upgrade anything on the Internet, because frequently you wind up able to do more complicated things, but not being able to do the ordinary.

If I have something that works for me, I am happy with it and don’t want to change. I just want to be left alone.

After having the Skype upgrade thing show up on my monitor screen a zillion times, I decided to go ahead with the upgrade,  just to stop the nagging.

Big mistake.

It turned out they wanted a lot more personal information. That might have been OK , but the print on the application and instructions was so small that I couldn’t make it out. I tried anyway. The result was I eliminated my Skype account altogether and missed a call.

So I called my good friend Bob Jarvis for help. He came over and in 15 minutes he had my Skype account back up and running. Skype is still bugging me to upgrade, but I am not going to touch the upgrade with a 10-foot pole. Unless, that is, I can get someone with sight to do it for me.

This part doesn’t apply to the Skype people: There are a lot of bandits out there. People who tell you that you have problems when you really don’t. Or who create a problem and offer to fix it for a fee They have names that make them sound official, as if they are a department of Windows or Microsoft or one of the security outfits.

I don’t trust anyone anymore. If I can’t read it, I delete it or say no. Some guy called the other day, saying, “we are your computer company. Do you remember talking with us?”

The answer to the remember question was, “no!” It’s pretty slick to have a company named, “Your computer security company.” It was really their name.

I will admit that I cause many of my problems. A lot of it is because I am reluctant to try new things. Frequently I make assumptions that aren’t valid.

Texting for example. I had assumed that texting was only for cell phones, but when David Isom told me he could be reached any time by texting, I discovered that I could send and receive text messages on my desktop. It’s easier than email.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. I don’t know what it is. I am open to most ideas, but when it comes to technology, I have to be pushed in.

Anybody else feel that way?

Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or [email protected]

Murray Bass


Discussion | 2 comments

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  • P.J.July 19, 2014 - 4:49 pm

    Oh Murray! the reason I enjoy your column is that you're as old as me! You are a step ahead of me though and that's because you have Skype! I don't! A couple months ago I decided I needed a new computer because this one can't be upgraded. Microsoft told me they would no longer upgrade my Windows XP, nor my Microsoft Office. Well, guess what! Now that they no longer even try to offer "upgrades" my computer works better. I just 'facebook' and 'e-mail and Google to my heart's content! I have all I need....of course, except..."Skype"!

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  • JimboJuly 19, 2014 - 10:02 pm

    My main problem with technology is my eyesight has gotten too poor to bother trying to type anything on a screen the size of a large postage stamp.

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