Just a Fool for Tools
As you probably know by now, I’m being dragged into 21st century computer technology kicking, screaming, and googling. That google is a verb makes me giggle.
In my previous life I understood tools. They were things Bonnie used. Ball Peen hammer, for instance. I learned its name in a college stagecraft class and never uttered the word again. So tools are those rusty things in the shed or shiny new things plugged into every available outlet in my house. Got it.
Recently, however, I learned you can actually be a tool. The Urban Dictionary defines a tool as person who is too dumb to understand they are being manipulated. Am I a tool for being made to use computer tools? After all, computer tools are supposed to make computer life easier. The jury’s still out.
Take my Google calendar. Please. I finally relegated my beautiful Lana Warfield, Realtor calendar (pictures by Geri Debiase) to wall art and started using a calendar on my phone. When I was instructed to push “sync,” merging it with the Letters deadline calendar, the thing blew up. It was shocking to learn I was so busy. And my calendar got seriously cluttered when I synched it with Bonnie’s, adding all her tee times. Hell, it looked like I’d have to schedule pee times.
So I must deal with tools, which is a sentence I never thought I’d write.
My next new tool is something called Dropbox, a thing I formerly understood. A drop box stood outside the library for book return or outside a garage for key drop late Tuesday so your mechanic could work on your car early Wednesday. The Goodwill drop box stood waiting for clothing purchased prior to a winter of carbo-loading at Purple Parrot.
An infamous drop box was a nook behind a tree near where I lived in the 1970s, so a Watergate burglar could pick up an envelope full of money.
But alas, there can be no wads of cash in my new Dropbox app. It’s a personal cloud storage service. Prior to this the only cloud I used was the late Cloud 9 bar. No, this one is for digital file sharing and collaboration. Dropbox is a tool we use to put together the magazine you are reading.
Which means, I put articles into the drop box and whoever is proofing or laying out the magazine retrieves them, works on them, and then puts them back. It’s a great system, except every time one of us adds or subtracts something an annoying chime sounds and a notice, much like the CNN news crawl, creeps across my computer screen alerting me to whose paws are monkeying around in the Dropbox. It’s hell on my concentration, and on busy days it sounds like I own a calliope. It’s enough to give me ADD-ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder—Annoyingly Due to Dropbox.
Besides, when Dropbox names names, I know exactly who’s at the computer and at what time. Murray, please take time for a nutritious lunch! It’s like spyware. Next thing you know, some of those TV police procedurals will keep tabs on criminals with Dropbox. The authorities can track me on E-ZPass and my employers can track me on Dropbox. Privacy? What’s that?
This whole digital tool kit business is creeping me out. I googled (there it is! A verb!) Dropbox, and I got a definition of it from Webopedia. What’s Webopedia? It’s a digital dictionary and encyclopedia, but without Jiminy Cricket (who else is old enough to get that reference?).
Which, along with Wikipedia and other online information tools, frees up a lot of shelf space in our homes that used to be taken up with the Webster’s Dictionary, the Britannica, or Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia. And tell the truth, did anybody else just read the word encyclopedia and spell it out in a sing-song voice like Jiminy Cricket? I thought so.
Another tool I am desperately trying to research is a password vault. I have finally become unglued trying to remember which Schnauzer name, book title, birthday, or shoe size I used with what digital account. The last password I came up with was Loonybin18, because, well, it’s obvious.
So now I am choosing between several password managers that will encrypt my passwords but remind me of them via fingerprint security. Will I use LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass or Roboform? I go to my digital calendar to slot a time to research this and discover it’s deadline day. Heck, I should have known because I’m hearing so many chimes it’s like a windy day on my patio. Besides, a series of screen blips just alerted me that either MSNBC has found Amelia Earhart or my colleagues are furiously Dropboxing.
Welcome to my life with tools. Honestly, my favorite is still one of the old-fashioned kind. The corkscrew. That comes immediately after a hard day slaving over the Dropbox. Cheers. ▼
Fay Jacobs is an author of five published memoirs. Her newest is Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked. As a humorist, she’s touring with her show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay. More Fay Jacobs.