I’m in the generation of journalists who started writing their stories on manual typewriters.
Granted, electric typewriters were plentiful in the 1970s, and I was a speed typist in my freshman semester of high school business typing.
But my hometown newspaper still used the manual typewriters, and my high school journalism class didn’t have the electric ones yet.
I became the person with the most “computer” knowledge from my experience in using video display terminals in my school newspaper work at the University of Illinois when I returned to my hometown for a reporting job...where we continued using manual typewriters for several more years.
We graduated to some type of IBM clone computer that had a weird random keystroke that often prompted me to accidentally kill everything I wrote.
I was thrilled when the publisher told us we were stepping up in the world and would get a newsroom full (that meant four people) of new Apple Macintosh computers.
What she didn’t tell me when we got those new computers is that we’d be working with very small screens and I’d be wearing coated reading glasses for the rest of my life.
Technology advanced, our screens grew, and I was excited to be able to take a laptop Mac to Japan in 1997 to file stories about Toyota coming to Indiana. Of course, my laptop probably weighed 10 pounds. It was about as portable as my first cell phone that came with a battery bag bigger than my purse. But it was a giant step from the days of dictating a story by phone to get it where it needed to go. (I’ve done that as well!)
Apple kept coming up with smaller, faster computers, and I decided I needed my own computer to make my work life easier. I’ve been through several desktop models and at least four laptops so far. My husband doesn’t get why you pay as much for a computer as you pay for a refrigerator that lasts much longer.
I don’t make my refrigerator work as hard as I make my Mac products work!
Once I bought into the Mac line of computers, it became apparent that I “needed” other products, such as the three or four iPods around my house that are no longer used since Apple moved music to the “Cloud.” I can store days and days of my favorite music and listen anywhere!
And then the iPad came along and changed my world. I read more books than anyone should simply because I can download them right to my iPad. A couple of years ago I bought a “Magic Keyboard” to pair with the iPad Pro for taking notes at meetings. The iPad Pro weighs a lot less than my laptop, so that’s convenient. But I still carry around reporter notebooks and a stash of about 20 pens, because you never know when technology will pull a fast one on you!
Some journalists use their trusty iPhone to record events and don’t take notes. I think I retain more when I write or type something than if I just rely on the recorder to do it for me. And there’s that need to make sure I have what I need even if the technology goes kaput, that is still hardwired in me, I suppose. Once, while covering a trial, I lost my notebook. I was able to write the story without the notebook, just because I remembered what I wrote down. Of course, the notebook turned up a couple hours after deadline!
I do use my iPhone a lot for photos. And why not? The technology in the camera phone is as good or even better than some of my Nikon gear I haul around in a rolling case. I use the Nikons for sports, low light and action photos. But the phone camera dangling off my wrist strap is a lot less stress for most simple shots.
...And then, of course, Apple introduced Apple TV, which allows me to keep track of what I’ve been watching on my smart TV and what’s coming up next...
But the AppleWatch is the crazy piece of technology with which I have a love-hate relationship.
AppleWatch thinks I’m swimming when I brush my hair, and records major accomplishments in fitness for my grooming routine. AppleWatch went crazy when I bumped my head on a shelf, asking if a 911 call was needed.
Still, I love my AppleWatch and upgraded to a new one about a year ago. I offered my old one to my son, who wanted no part of it. Then I offered it to my husband, who says he has some type of body chemistry that kills watches.
He took the hand-me-down and hasn’t killed it yet, but I think he has driven it crazy.
Walking in from the garden one morning earlier this week, he sat down and rocked back in his grandpa’s antique rocker and said as much.
“This thing’s crazy. It told me to have a good day. Then it timed me like I was running a race. Now it’s telling me to breath. I am breathing!”
I didn’t argue the point. My watch popped up an alert, telling me to go to bed.