Saturday, 31 August 2013
INTERESTING STUFF – 31 August 2013
TECH SUPPORT STORY
There are a number of websites where tech support and customer service representatives vent their frustration with the stupidity of end-users like you and me.
Sometimes their most vile rants are reserved for old people and that's what I thought this one from the Not Always Right site would be. It's longer than what I usually quote here, but I think it's worth it instead of excerpting.
You must stick with it to the end. (Hat tip to Ian Bertram of Panchromatica)
Tech Support | Montreal, QC, Canada | Technology, Top
I work for a company that produces a word processing software, which I am supporting.
Me: Thank you for calling technical support. Can I have your case number?
The customer provides the information. Just by the voice, I know the customer is an older lady. Usually, this means a 45+ minutes call, just because of the technology challenges.
Me: Could you right-click on the start button?
Customer: Okay, I have programs, documents, settings—
Me: That’s left-clicking. Could you please right-click on the start button?
Customer: Okay, but I still get programs, documents, settings.
Me: Could you describe to me, visually and step by step, what you are doing?
Customer: I’m putting the mouse cursor over the right part of the word ‘start’, and I click.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry; I was not clear. Is it possible for you to click using the right mouse button?
Customer: “What do you mean?
Me: “Okay, please pick up your mouse by the wire, and hold it up in the air.”
Customer: “I feel stupid.
Me: “No, ma’am, you’re not. We’re all starting from different points. I’m a geek, so it’s normal if I’m a bit ahead of the curve, as far as this stuff goes. I just need to make sure that we’re on a level field, here.
Customer: “Okay, it’s in the air.
Me: Great! Between your wire and your palm-resting are—”
Customer: What do you mean?
Me: Okay, put it flat again, and put your hand on your mouse, as if to use it.
Customer: Oh, I get it, the place where my palm is resting.
Me: Exactly. Pick it up again. Between the wire and the palm-resting area, there is an area that is divided vertically. How many sections are there?
Me: Great! Ma’am, I would like to formally introduce you to your left mouse button and your right mouse button. So when I ask you to right-click—
Customer: You want me to use the right mouse button!
Me: You’re a smart one!
It turns out that the older lady is 96 years old. She was doing her shuffleboard association’s newsletter, and her software had become thoroughly corrupted and needed to be reinstalled.
We spent over an hour and a half. This lady had seen the advent of movies, TV, color TV, had seen the Model T, saw the first planes, radio and all. When I will be 96 years old, I just hope I am as technologically savvy as she is!
MODERN SOCIAL INTERACTION
As long as we're talking technology, here's a parody that is all too real these days sent by Irene Morris of New York City.
GOOD GIGGLE FROM BRITAIN
The skit is titled, Do you speak English? From 2008 by Simon Pegg and the Big Train comedy sketch team. It's about an English-speaking tourist in France.
Certainly you have been reading about honey bees dying off and the dire consequences that may have for the world's food supply. Scares me. A lot.
But today, this is a different kind of bee story. A honey story. An ancient honey story from Smithsonian magazine.
”Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved.
“Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey.”
I didn't know that. Did you? You can read more here.
KEVIN SPACEY AS BRANDO, GIELGUD, HEPBURN...
And Pacino, Walken and more. Impressionists delight me. I never get enough them and I didn't know Kevin Spacey was so good at it or that his repertoire is so wide.
This is an old clip from four years ago that I just discovered.
LIVE SNAIL FOUND IN BOY'S KNEE
Right up front, a warning that some may find this story icky. I think it's amazing and cute. Take a look at the “news” report and ignore the idiotic side trips into unrelated TV shows.
You can read more here.
ALL PARIS REVIEW INTERVIEWS ONLINE
Every single one of them. For free. Some of the most brilliant and important artists, writers and critics of the contemporary world from 1953 forward.
Just a few names currently residing on the home page: Ray Bradbury, R. Crumb, Louise Erdrich, Tony Kushner, John McPhee, Janet Malcom, Terry Southern.
It is a precious treasure trove of some the the best thinking of the past 60 years. Bookmark it and go back often.
QUADRUPLE TAKE MASTER CLASS
Just total silliness. Stupid even. But wonderful because it's actor Patrick Stewart.
Furthering a recent post of mine about old age being better than I ever expected, elderblogger extraordinaire, Marian Van Eyk McCain, takes on the media's and advertisers' obsession only with poor health in elders:
"As William Thomas says in his brilliant book What Are Old People For? [writes Marian], getting old does often necessitate a search for work-arounds that enable us to keep functioning optimally — in fact he sees elders as walking advertisements for the wonderful human capacity for endless adaptability.
"This ongoing process of adaptation to each change in the ever-changing body doesn't begin at 44 with the first pair of reading glasses however.
"It begins in toddlerhood, with shoes to protect our tender feet, bibs to catch the drool, high chairs to keep us from falling on to the floor and pull-up pants for toilet training. It continues through orthodontic appliances, tampons and nursing bras, dental crowns and hiking poles and all the way through to Zimmer frames.
"Humans are clever animals and we have become really good at finding ways to augment our bodies' functions and deal with their impairments and inconveniences. But these logistics of our lives are not what defines them.
"It is meaning that defines them. It is meaning that gets us up in the morning and meaning that makes our hearts sing."
Go read Marian's entire post at her blog. You'll be glad you did.
PUPPIES AND KITTENS AND MIRRORS
I've been remiss lately about including cute or baby animal videos in this weekly post so here is a compilation from TGB reader Jim Hood.
THIS JUST IN
What the hell - let's go for more cute: According to a story in the New York Daily News, two stray kittens shut down the subway for about two hours on Thursday.
"Sandra Polel, 52, was heading home when her train suddenly screeched to a halt. 'The announcer said it had to stop to rescue some cats,' Polel said. 'I didn’t mind. I wanted to get home, but I also wanted the kittens to be safe.'
"[After eluding transit workers for a couple of hours], the 4-week-old kittens were placed in carrying crates at about 6 p.m. and shipped off to the Brooklyn Animal Care Shelter on Linden Blvd, where a spokesman said they will get medical evaluations.
"For now, the two are safe. Rescuers even gave the pair names, Arthur and August."
You can read details of the rescue here. (Hat tip to Bev Carney)
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog if you have one.