A Grin at the End: The third law…

December 2015 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

carl-sampsonBy Carl Sampson

It used to be said that nothing will make you a bigger liar you than your dog or your kid.

“Oh, my dog would never do something like that,” you’d say, just as your dog did that very thing — right on the neighbor’s front yard.

Similarly, you’d say, “My child has never done anything like that,” just before the police officer called you up to inform you that your precious son had been seen spinning doughnuts in his car in the supermarket parking lot.

It occurred to me that there’s a third corollary to those two laws. It goes something like this: Whenever you are trying to show someone something on a computer, it won’t work. The other day I was helping a friend get going on her brand new iPad. Boy howdy, that corollary was in full control. We managed to get it going by pushing the little deely-bobber on the top and then by tapping in her secret code on the whatcha-hoozer.

That was the extent of the computerized cooperation for the day. The first challenge was to get on the Internet.

“Oh, that’s easy,” I told her. “All you have to do is go to Settings and touch this and do that and voilà.”

Nothing. I tried it again. Still nothing. Then I really tried to pull a rabbit out of my hat.

“Not to worry,”  I said. “I can set up our own personal Wifi hotspot using my cell phone.”

I got out my phone, switched around some settings and — nothing. I started to feel as though we were in a Wifi black hole. I changed tactics and went back to the basics.

“This is the clock,” I said. “See , you can tell what time it is anywhere in the world.”

“Well, that’s kinda neat,” she said. “Can we add a city?”

“Sure,” I said. “Name any city and it’ll tell you what time it is.”

“OK, how about Fairbanks, Alaska?”

“No problem, you just type in F-A-I-R-B-A-N-K-S and there you ….”

No Fairbanks is listed.

“How about trying Anchorage?” I said. “They’re on the same time zone.”

“Yeah, but I don’t really care much for Anchorage. They don’t have Fairbanks?”

“Apparently not,” I said.

We spent an hour and a half with the iPad. We did get the email working, but then we got a message back: “Don’t use that email address. You’ll get some lady in Orlando.”

All I could think was, “Hey, we got someone. Who knows, the Orlando lady might be nicer than the one we’ve been trying to contact.”

We continued to work on things such as downloading podcasts and books.

“You know, a podcast is kind of like a radio show,” I said.

“Oh, that’s nice,” she said. “Kinda like turning on the radio.”

“And look, here’s how you can download a book,” I said. It didn’t work, because the blankety-blank Wifi wasn’t working.

“Oh, that’s OK, I can just go to the library,” she said. “They have lots of books there.”

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