A Cowboy’s Faith: That shifting computer age

buchmanhead“The world is changing so fast we can’t keep up.”

It’s been said often. Yet, we’ve adjusted to modern sophistication. Many times by not doing all the “stuff” the “young-sprouts” do.

Admittedly, some, perhaps majority, of the automated technology in nearly five decades’ professional employment has been advantageous, making life easier and faster.

Although, that’s not all good either, likely negatively attributing some of today’s, let’s call them, “situations.”

Days of manual typewriters, linotype, letterpress printing are long gone, and today’s media have no clue their meaning.

First recollection of “the change” came in the ’60s, when a local girl attended “vo-tech” to become a “keypunch operator.” She evidently “typed” on one of the first publicly-used “computers,” the size of 250-gallon barrels, as we recall.

Before that, people made fun of comic strip detective Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio. Kids today smirk at them, again, as incapable of what’s now done with pinhead-size devices.

“Get on board, or be left behind” came to us three decades ago in a phone call from our best customer, farm store entrepreneur, who insisted we “must have” a facsimile machine, known as fax.

Management thought such extravagance unnecessary, as “the telephone and mail service work fine.” But, bosses soon agreed, rather than lose patronage. Now, faxes seem outdated to most.

So, the world runs on “hyperspace,” science fiction description referred by some.

Encouragement is to “go green,” no paper, just a button and a screen. Still, we insist on “hard copy.” Or, at least try, despite discouragement, especially from those who must “save a tree.”

There’s a jillion hedge trees intruding our Flint Hills cow pastures; they’d surely make enough paper reams for many printers.

Too, a “paper trail” is backup for poor memory, and “proof” when there’s letdown, or hang-up, in task progression.

Complications arise when we punch the keyboard expecting a response. If one’s not immediate, or nearly so, we re-push the buttons, continuing. Before long, “the system’s clogged”; work stops completely.

Now, the “new age” pace seems to have picked up, something different nearly daily. There’s more highfalutin gadgets and schemes being developed, and we’re forced to learn the rigmarole, or get kicked out the door.

Reminds us, fortunately, of Daniel 2:21: “It is He who changes the times. He gives wisdom, and knowledge for understanding.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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