Welcoming Millie

Welcome Millie McBook
I have a friend who gives names to her computers and her car. She gave me advice last week when my old lap top died. It seemed like a good idea to give my new computer a name. It had to be a girl’s name. As I bid goodbye to Mr Mac, I came up with Millie. Millie came home Friday and, except for a brief return visit to the computer store, is sitting on my lap, so far behaving herself.
The following was sent to me by my RI friends’s husband. Amazing. I thought my orientation to computers was old stuff, but this account is even older:
It was back in the 70’s when M had her first allergic reaction to computers at a teaching a lab school when the powers-that-be decided that computers were the wave of the future and that the school should get involved. At that time, computers were barely beyond the Univac stage and anybody who used one was a mystical demigod. So the school decided that teachers should become computer literate (a soon to be overused term). M went through the whole business of learning about punch cards, card sorters and card readers, where one mis-punched card, or a card out of order in the sequence could bring the whole process grinding to a halt without a clue as to what the problem was. The school hoped to be able to keep student records for comparative purposes and be able to match student progress against some yet to be defined standards. Unfortunately, record keeping and data entry for upper grades took twenty times as much time as the green grade books. But M was actually the one person who was ahead of the system because first grade records were so simple they didn’t need any artificial assistance. After a lot of huffing and puffing, the idea was abandoned and now M has had zero interest in computers ever since.
Computers were introduced into the school system where I worked by an offer to anyone interested, a class at Radio Shack. I love taking classes and the new technology sounded interesting to me. I signed up for the class. The introduction was for us to open the top and find out what wasn’t there. We were assured you could not break the thing unless you got mad and tossed it to the floor. Several weeks into the class I learned that all I needed to know for my grade level, which was first grade at the time,  was how to turn it on and how to insert the disc.
The computers were placed in the fifth grade class rooms at my school. So much for my class, but a very thoughtful fifth grade teacher offered my first graders a chance to enjoy them when his class was at PE or music. I took him up on it and my little team paraded down the hall and installed themselves in those big chairs by kneeling on them, and leaning on their elbows on those huge desks.
The PC went on, the disc was inserted and the whole class was enthralled. The second week, they were less interested and by the third week the only fun about parading down the hall was that they could pretend to be fifth graders. There were limited programs then and three sessions was enough.
My next encounter with computers came when I took a summer class to learn how to program a computer. I think it was called “logo”. By this time my youngest daughter was in college and was a computer science major. She came into the class the last day of  classes as I was trying to program something. She wanted to get going, didn’t want to wait while I tested my limited knowledge and skill. She turned to the instructor and asked about the use for the colon and the semi colon. She then sat at my computer, punched out something and said “lets’s go”. Fortunately I was not seeking a grade in this class. This daughter went on to work on computers for the Navy. I just watched the process and hoped someday I could manage a computer for myself.
We had one computer in my class room in the Florida school. I found out it was used pretty much across the classrooms, for review or for the kids who had completed their tasks and could “play” on the computer. Like many classrooms, the top and the bottom students got the fun or drill and the middle-of-the-road kids were left out. I was always trying to find ways to let the middle-of-the-road guys get some perks as well.
I volunteered in a 4th grade class on the Cape. I was there to teach the kids about making quilt blocks. There was one computer in that classroom. I gather that the favorite game was Oregon Trail. There was a Down’s syndrome child in the class. He was there with a full time aid who worked with him independantly but Andrew participated when possible in the class activities. The classmates knew that Andrew had one significant skill. When Oregon trail got to the shooting segment, Andrew was the best in the class on the computer. Hooray for Andrew.
The first thing I bought when I retired, was a computer…. a Mac. My husband thought I would be bored with it within a few months. I have been retired 18 years. I have proven him wrong. The main task was designing quilt blocks. Now, it seems to be emaiIs and reading blogs. I have upgraded several times but drool a bit when I see the I-pads.
This was written several weeks ago in anticipation of an uninspired week for slicing. Well, now it has been a whole week of computer information. Two Otterbees offered advice and one has a Mac guru for a husband. Now I just need to grab my credit card in my fist and go shopping. I anticipate a frustrating time while I learn how a new one works. I will be happy when mac and I are back to what might be called normal, and I can draw Mr Mac with a smile on his face… or her face.
So welcome to Millie. I am learning new things but I am enjoying it.
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7 Responses to Welcoming Millie

  1. elsie says:

    What a journey in computers you have lived! I am sure you will master Millie and work together for many years.

  2. Donna Smith says:

    Quite a journey. I have not named my Mac yet. But at school I gave the computers names. It was easier to say go work on Olive or Brutus than the second one on the left, and much friendlier than a number!
    So now a name…hmm. Mabel? Alice? Agatha! Agatha Mac! My fifth grade teacher was Agatha, and she was ahead of her time. Thanks!! My computer, I mean Agatha, thanks you, too!

  3. Tam says:

    You certainly have a history of computers. I’m glad I wasn’t interested in the beginning because all that would have discouraged me. My oldest took the interest, and he flew with it and is a guru today. I love the idea of giving your computer a name. I like to name things, too–it’s an idea for a post, also!!!! Thanks.

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Wow, isn’t it great how many memories we have from just computers? I had punch cards for my grade cards in high school. They thought they were just the greatest thing, & all the rest of us were skeptical at this flimsy piece of paper. Thanks for the good detail of all your history. I enjoyed it. Welcome Millie!

  5. The Fountain says:

    I loved that you personified your computer. Your computer journey makes me think of my own daughters (1&4) who will never know life without computers, cell phones, and TV you can pause. Oh how times have changed.

  6. Bonnie k says:

    so tell us more about Millie? why her? Enjoy

  7. Ruth Ferris says:

    When I was a senior in high school my science teachers were taking computer classes. We would plot information they would take it up and the cards would be punched. Out would come sheets with our work. How times have changed.

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