Friday, October 5, 2007

Old Ladies & Computers

Senior citizens should pick up computer skills? I say - please spare them. Take my mom for example - Microsoft should appoint her as their official bug-finder. I don't know how she does it, but she always managed to discover never-before-seen-or-heard bugs in her MS software. One time, it was her MS Word auto-changing the font type every other word she typed. The "bug" persisted despite my having formatted the document as a whole several times. Then, there were times when she copied photos into a folder only to find that they were not really there later, "mysterious" duplicates of files appeared out of nowhere, "mysterious" icons suddenly there on her desktop, her printer printing only alternate lines of her document... the list goes on. (Once, it was "I cannot log out of the website!" and upon further questioning, I discovered she didn't log in in the first place)

And the latest case - her Windows Media Player went berserk. I had previously shown her how to use that to copy songs from audio CDs into her HDD (she wrote down the steps; she writes down steps for doing everything on her computer - even accessing a website) and since then she'd copied tracks from a few CDs. Of course, she left them at the default location, with the default folder & file names. A couple of nights ago, she complained that something was wrong. She just copied songs from a CD and all her previous songs went missing! I was like "Har?" Some of the existing folders were empty, some still had half the tracks (the other half missing), one had duplicates of several tracks, and she claimed the tracks in that folder were from different albums. It was like her whole My Music directory were rearranged in a random way, with some of the tracks missing for good.

I was so sure it was something she did, and to prove otherwise, she placed a CD into the drive, waited for the autorun action window to appear, and selected "Copy Music from CD" from the list. Windows Media Player appeared, and the tracklist was shown - all checked for copying. She clicked on "Copy Music" and the ripping began. Then I saw it - Windows Media Player copied tracks 1-3, skipped to track 5 (at the same time listed track 4 as "Done"), copied tracks 6 & 7, skipped to track 9 etc. And what's more bizzare, her "My Music" folder contained 1 folder for each of the tracks ripped (1 track in each folder) and when I stopped the copying process, all the newly-created folders were emptied out!

"I really don't know what is wrong. Cannot help you."

And she sulked a bit and grumbled about how "highly educated" I was in the field of computers and yet I don't want to help her. Sigh. Senior citizens! But to be fair, I must say she is a lot better than her peers. A couple of years ago, a friend of hers (also a senior citizen) called her to ask about something computer-related. As fate would had it, she was not at home, and I answered the call. After the caller asked if I was my mom's daughter and after getting the affirmation, she decided to direct her question to me instead. The following was our conversation, roughly translated from mandarin:

the aunty: What is installer?
me : Har? What installer?
the aunty: Yes, installer. What is that?
me: Erm... if you want to install a program, you use the installer.
the aunty: So what is installer? My computer instructor say can buy from computer shop.
me: Yes. What program do you want to install?
the aunty: I don't know. The instructor said get installer then can already.
me: Errr... but what program do you want to install?
the aunty: Don't know. So I just go into the shop and ask for installer?
me: Yes, but you need to tell them what program the installer is for.
the aunty: Don't they know? I just ask for installer they should know right?
me: I think you need to ask your instructor again about which program he wants to you install.
the aunty: Right. Can installer be easily bought from any computer shop?
me: Well, yes.
the aunty: How does installer look like?
me: ??????
the aunty: I mean what shape is it?
me: Ah... errr... round? It usually comes in a CD.
the aunty: OK. Thank you!

When my mom got home after that, I complained to her about her aunty friend. My mom went like "So what is installer?" (I should had seen that coming...) Fortunately, when I explained to her, she understood with relative ease. Then, I told her I am never going to layan her aunty friends' phone calls concerning computers, ever again!


cher-ry said...

My mom can't even on the PC.

neil said...

My mom doesn't know about this blog (phewwww!)

polarbear78 said...

should I call your mom??? Naughty Naughty idea... it will be good.