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Running to Catch up with My Computer

     While everyone’s Instant Messaging and text-messaging and buying the latest accessories for their iPods and Blackberries, I’m running to keep up with my little old laptop computer.

     The darn computer keeps changing - overnight while I’m sleeping; during the day while I’m working; always when I turn it on and even when I’m working on it. Totally ignoring me, it checks for viruses, compacts my trash, updates all my programs and they’re never the same again.

     At least it tells me it’s doing it, so I know what to blame when something doesn’t do what it used to do, or doesn’t do it the same way.

     But I’m catching up. I decided to work on my laptop outside today – a beautiful, sunny day in Southern Cal. Too sunny. I couldn’t see the screen.

     But I remembered. On the keyboard there are controls that adjust the brightness of the screen. They ought to be easy to find. Keyboard isn’t that big.

     Look! These keys have sunshiny-looking pictures on them with up and down arrows. Must be the ones.

     I press “sunshiny up.” Can’t see any difference. I press “sunshiny down.” No difference.

     But I remembered. There’s an Owner’s Manual on the desktop. Never used it, but it’s there. Open the Owner’s Manual and voila! Instructions for brightening the screen. Says to press the sunshiny key and the “Fn” key together. Okay… so I was missing a key item.

     Where’s the “Fn” key? Can’t find it anywhere. Whole bunch of “F” keys in the top row, but they all have numbers – no “n’s.” Must’ve read it wrong.

     Back to the manual. Nope. I read it right. Back to the keyboard. This time I find it on the bottom row and I “Fn” and “sunshiny” up as far as I can go until the screen blinds me and I run into the house to get my darkest sunglasses…

     I wish. What really happened was I could barely see the screen when I went back outside with the laptop.

     At least I know how to brighten it. Didn’t have so much luck with the files I sent home the other day.

     Ambitious worker that I am, I e-mailed some files from my office computer to my home computer. That evening I opened them and worked through the night, updating, putting in formulas, editing, heading toward perfection. Ha! Okay. You win. But I did work pretty hard, and late that night I saved the file and went to bed.

     Next day I went to my computer to e-mail the files back to the office. I opened the first one and, what’s this? None of my work is there! What happened? I know I saved those files before I shut off the computer. So where were the files I saved, with all my work in them?

     If you’ve ever searched for a missing file on your computer, you know that little pup that wags his tail back and forth and says, “No files found.” And winks. I swear he did.

     But then he found them. Somehow – don’t ask me how, I had saved those files as “temporary Internet files.” So all I have to do is go to the “temporary Internet files” place and open them, right?

     Three nights later I found the temporary Internet files place on my computer. I ran over there and found hundreds and hundreds of temporary Internet files! How come so many? Well, doesn’t matter… at the bottom of the list were the files I was looking for.

     They wouldn’t open. Not from my computer. You have to go to their Internet address and open them from there. I trudged out to the Internet in search of my files. Could not find them.

     In the end, I had to redo all my work on the original files. When it comes to computers, for sure - my screen’s a lot brighter than I am.

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