HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

May 14, 2007
Harvard Square Observer

The Old Technology and the New

Ernest Cassara


Upstairs and downstairs in Ye Old Observer’s residence are to be found scratch pads on which ideas for these columns and for the Potpourri feature are scratched!

One day, I got what I thought was a brilliant idea of purchasing a laptop for the downstairs, so that I could type out my ideas on the spot, enter them on a disk, and then carry the disk to the floor above where the desk top that sends these brilliant commentaries into cyberspace is located.  Naturally, since the desk top is a Hewlett Packard Pavilion, it made perfect sense to purchase an HP laptop, so that the disks created downstairs would be compatible with the HP Pavilion upstairs.

So, off I drove to the Micro Center, looked at the various models and chose one that seemed to have the features I would need.

Then, the trouble began.  I discovered that the desk top would not “read” the disks made on the laptop.  How is that for compatibility?

I, then, got another brilliant idea.  I could send e-mail messages from downstairs laptop to upstairs desk top.  Well, I discovered I could not sign on to AOL with the laptop, since I was dependent on Wi-Fi (whatever the hell that stands for) to transmit the messages, and my AOL account was setup to be used with a telephone line with DSL.

But, then, I remembered that AOL was offering free e-mail service to anyone who wanted it.  So, I called up AOL.com on the web and there it was.  I could send e-mail messages from downstairs to upstairs.  Only one problem.  The free AOL service did not make it possible to “cut and paste.”  In other words, were I to copy a paragraph from, say, the Boston Globe (with proper attribution, of course), I could not “paste” it to the free AOL screen.

What a quandary!

The solution!  Our grandson, now in his first year of college, is benefitting from a fine Hewlett Packard laptop, and Ye Olde Observer has a new supply of upstairs and downstairs scratch pads.  Nothing beats the “old technology”!


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