Miss Bee’s Bolivar Buzz

Shannon WilliamsBy Shannon Williams
Well, I think I need to order a Big Chief Tablet and some crayons as I need to break up with my computer!! (just a side note, I said that to my 30-year-old son and he did not know what a Big Chief Tablet was!) I have had a rough couple of weeks with computers, but computers and I go back to my college days, so I guess they are here to stay, LOL!

I first got the chance to work on “a computer” in under grad school back in 1981. I had done a research project as part of my course work in sociology and they wanted me to enter the survey I had done into a computer and let the computer give me what the data said. So, for about two weeks, I carried my little stack of computer cards, (I think they were called punch cards?) you know those ones that looked like the old fashion time clock cards that you would enter into the computer and hand enter the data and it would spit out some information back to you. My mother had made me, and I mean she made me, take a typing class in high school. I told her that I was not going to be a secretary and thus did not need to know how to type. Thank God, I lost that argument and learned how to type! I found nothing fun about entering all that data into some big machine. I lived in fear that my cards would be bent or get out of order. I am not a numbers person and it was just all very stressful to me.

When I started my first job as a social worker, we had to type our social history using 5 pieces of carbon paper as the social history was used for many other purposes, and back then it was costly to just copy stuff (ok, I am feeling really old right now). For the next 3 years or so, I never gave computers another thought. But, soon it was time for us to learn how to use a computer to type our assessments and notes.

They taught us how to use computers by having us play solitaire on the computer for a few hours a day, I think some people stayed at that training level for a long time and spent a great deal of time learning mouse skills by playing solitaire. It just moved on from there. We went from narrative social histories to computer-based assessment that you just check boxes. It was difficult to go from writing long histories of a person’s illness to just checking boxes that often did not give you a lot of choice of what to put. Soon after that, we moved the whole system to a computer based medical record. I remember the biggest problem was that the staff would set up all of the appointments in the new computer program and then still had to hand write reminder appointment cards by hand, as the system did not think people needed a card to remind them of when they had an appointment; that was 20 years ago and many people did not have computers at their homes.

Well I left that computer world and moved to the HUD world, and took a giant step backwards, I had come from a system with T lines. We had just started video doctor appointments as the shortage of mental health professional made it impossible to cover all the small towns we provided service to. The HUD world was still using a dial up line; it was awful and I would come into work in the middle of the night just to get my data uploaded as I never could get on the line. I increased my skills and was able to change our software reporting system a few times and survived it. As with anything, what is new is old just about the time you learn it. That is why I hate updating my phone every time it asks, it always managers to take away some feature that I know how to use and I have to hunt to find how to do something I knew how to use already, it is a never-ending stressor!

About a month ago, my computer just decided it did not like the software program WORD that I use all of the time to write so many things. It would not save anything, so the great IT department that I have in California worked and worked and nothing would fix it. So, they sent me a new loaner computer and I sent them mine to repair. That was done as we are having trouble getting computers these days, with the microchip shortage and all. I need a computer that has certain abilities and there was not one to be had. So, I got a loner and tried to get all of my stuff set up to work. Got it going enough to work and my computer was back at home! But it was a new computer, so none of my shortcuts, passwords or programs were there. UGH, so for the last week or so, I have my desktop and three screens as I run a camera program all of the time, my laptop to use some programs that I have not had time to get back on the desktop and then my iPad I use for my stuff that I have not put back on the new old computer!!! I need a week to reset this computer up and it is just not happening! During all of this, I had to reset my work email and went a few days without having it on my phone and that was delightful!!!

I want everyone to stop changing and updating things and let me finish my career without learning any more new stuff on the computer. I guess that is like going to the beach and not wanting to have to deal with the sand afterword! I hope that by the end of the month, I can have everything like I want it and to get that done without throwing the computer out the window!!


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