Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old people and desktops

A friend who was holidaying in Malaysia called. He had some ringit credit remaining on his phone card. He had just travelled on the recently reopened tourist train that travels up into the hills of Penang. 'I'll mail you the brochure', said he, knowing I would be interested. Of course I was, but I was already familiar with the train via the internet. Yes, the internet, that thing that our friend uses often and yet he thinks I need a brochure.

Actually, it was nice to get to brochure. It had a map showing all sorts of things I would have never seen or noticed on the internet website for the train, such as a Hindu temple atop the Penang hills? Ah, butterfly enclosure. Interesting.

It reminds me of times when Mother and my late step father and us used to meet up on a Sunday for a picnic or barbeque. Mother would tell me where the place was and then hand the phone over to Step Father to give me precise directions, in spite of me already telling Mother that I will look it up on a map, usually the street directory. Step Father would give precise directions, turn left, turn right, travel to the end of, when you see the locked gate....

The directions went in my right ear and out my left ear, not pausing at the brain at all. I looked the place up with the street directory and got us there.

On a promote the Victorian town of Walhalla website, I read that you should not trust your sat nav car device to get you there. They only really work well in the city. Right, satellites cover the world but not Walhalla? They are hardly fool proof in the city either.

Young people seem quite adept at surfing the information super highway, the net, very well by just moving their finger around and tapping on a pad. Older people, such as moi, need a mouse and it seems to boil down to a generational divide.

Oh, and apparently, if you are over fifty and use the internet, you are a Silver Surfer. Given that the dudes who invented the internet are now pretty well dead, I am not sure that I am happy to be classed as a silver surfer. Mother at the age of seventy something, has never used the net directly, but she has benefited from it and writes down web site addresses for one of us to look at and print out what might be of interest to her.


  1. I take offense at the idea of being a Silver Surfer. Please. I'm 64 and have been using the Internet before it was the Internet.

    As far as the computer maps go, they do work well in the cities, but out here in the middle of nowhere they cause more trouble than the old-fashioned paper maps.

  2. I am in that age bracket as well, but I know my limitations. So I ask the grandchildren for help :)They are very patient, when they explain technical stuff to me, but they do think that I am a bit slow!

    Re directions, nothing is more irritating than people sending a map of the state or giving detailed verbal instructions. Just give me the extact address in Melways or for the sat nav, and I can find it myself.

  3. Anyone who understands new-tech well - whether 5 or 50 - deserves a gold medal. I'll take silver as a compliment.
    GPS gizmos lose me.

  4. Anonymous12:22 am

    Funny you talking about Malaysia now. Just yesterday one of my students was telling me about her recent trip there. She found the butterfly enclosure but there weren't any butterflys. The Hindu temple was interesting and has a large resident monkey population. Naturally, that got my immediate attention! Might have to be my next OS trip...V.

  5. Don't trust GPS give me a good old fashion map or street directory anyday. I'm happy to be called a Silver Surfer it matches my hair colour right down to the last hair its better than being called a silly old fart or a silly old insert c word :-).

  6. I'm not much of a surfer, but I am quite silvery.

  7. Rubye, I pleased there is not a grey hair on your head. I like our modern devices but a proper map gives you a sense of perspective.

    They don't roll their eyes Hels? Exactly the point I was making about directions.

    V, it is a co-incidence. Someone left the door open in the butterfly house?

    Windsmoke, I've not had much experience with GPS in cars, but I hear many stories about how they go wrong.

    You don't surf the net much River?

  8. FruitCake, while I battle with new technology, I am not ready to be left behind yet.

  9. Call me a dinosaur, but nothing beats a good brochure!!! Silver Surfer sounds almost cool - what a shame I'm not one yet!!

  10. Or a paper map hey Red. My mother says she hasn't got grey hair. She has never stopped having it dyed, so she wouldn't know.