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The Computer Whisperer’s Back in Town

     I was going to write this an hour ago, but a kindred soul – that would be another human addicted to technology in the form of little flat boxes with keyboards – walked up behind me while I was revving up my Dell Mini at Starbucks. She stared over my shoulder. Okay. People do that. But she didn’t move. Then she began to share. Asked how long I’d had my Mini. Said she bought her Mini at Wal-Mart several months ago, but probably should have waited. I assured her mine was no better and thus the horror stories began.

     “I never could get mine connected to the printer. I gave up after three weeks.” “Me neither. I called in a tech guy when my list of stuff that didn’t work went over two pages.” It was a great union of souls. We swapped stories until we were both worn out.

     Somewhere out there, there’s gotta be a Computer Whisperer like the Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel, Cesar Millan. Or maybe Cesar’s dog tactics would work on computers. Could you get a computer into a calm, submissive state?

     Used to be you only had to train your computer and a printer and you could usually manage to get them connected enough so that when you gave the “Print” command the printer printed. Not always, but…

     It’s a whole different world now. You’ve got your wireless router that connects you to the rest of the world. You’ve got your wireless printer that connects to the router that connects to your computer so it can connect to the printer. Then you have that little mini computer so handy for taking on trips. It connects to the router and the printer and hopefully to your big computer where all the files are, and probably to your camera, too. And to your work e-mail, your home e-mail, the handy Google e-mail – and they’re all connected to your BlackBerry®, if you’re lucky. Or not…

     We’ve made great advances since the early days. No more simple computers with printers attached. Now we have a pack of computers and various other electronic wonders that communicate with them. Or not. Cesar says you have to be Pack Leader or else the pack will run you over.

     Here’s the deal: when I bought the Mini, the salesman tried to sell me a mouse, but I said no. I’ve been using touchpads on laptop computers so long I’ve forgotten how to maneuver a mouse. I’ll stay with the touchpad, thank you. Good idea, but…

     The touchpad went completely out of control from the first day. I wasn’t even touching it and the cursor ran and jumped all over the page. While I was typing away, the cursor jumped from the line I was on to the top of the page and put my letters smack in the middle of the title. When I went to fetch it, it jumped down to the last paragraph and blocked a section for deletion.

     To shorten a long story, it turned out that when the Geek Squad set up my Mini they installed drivers for the mouse I didn’t buy. No drivers for the touchpad. ’Course I didn’t know this until after I tried all sorts of things and finally got smart and read the manual, which advised me to go to the Control Panel and adjust the touchpad driver. It wasn’t there. Only a driver for the mouse. Lot of good that is!

     I went to the Dell website to download and install the touchpad driver but of course it didn’t install. I thought maybe the mice got in the way so I evicted them and downloaded again and… It worked! Dang it! It worked!

     If anyone asks, just tell them the Computer Whisperer’s back in town. Think Cesar would mind?

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