The Newsletter of Big Blue and Cousins: The Greater Victoria PC Users' Association—Web Edition
Volume: 22 Number: 8, October 2005

Big Blue and Cousins

From the Computer of the Un-Geek

by Grace Mousseau

I

have at long last joined a computer club. I am very impressed by how many of my friends have become computer geeks. I am convinced this is the wave of the future, but can I survive it?

Along the road to geek-hood I have made some observations that may be familiar to other geeks-in-training. I must admit it does create some misgivings. I have observed that the age of technology has spawned computers that act like people and people who act like computers.

My experience so far, is that computers are programmed to react to stimuli in a specific way. I find that people are increasingly acting the same way.

My experience so far, is that computers are programmed to react to stimuli in a specific way. I find that people are increasingly acting the same way. For instance, when you go into a bank, often, instead of dealing with you personally, the clerk either talks to a central banking machine or escorts you to a telephone to converse with a disembodied voice yourself. Or have you ever tried to call your local bank and found yourself talking to someone in Winnipeg or Calcutta? When you do get a human being they may not even know where your bank is. Then you make your request, and the light doesn't go on until you use the right key word like stop debiting my account. Stop taking money out of my account at the top of my voice doesn't seem to penetrate.

Technology is amazing. When you call Telus or almost any company it’s impossible to tell if the voice that answers you is computer generated or the real thing. There is a way to tell. Ask a question that is not anticipated by all the intelligentsia behind the voice. That will throw them into a complete melt-down. Here is a true experience that perfectly illustrates my point.

My sister, after a dirt of communication from me, suggested that I call her collect every Sunday. The first Sunday I called about eight o'clock in the evening. I was greeted by the friendly Telus automated operator. The Telus automated voice asked me cheerily. “Can I help you.?” I said “yes I would like to call my sister collect in Mission.” The gracious sounding voice of Telus asked “Would you give me your name please?” I said “Grace”. There began the debacle. She rang my sister’s number. After the obligatory two rings My sisters phone went to fax mode.

The sweet sounding voice of Telus said: “There is a collect call from ‘Grace’ do you accept the call?” The fax machine said, “EEEtSTGEEZT.” The little bit annoyed voice of Telus said: “ It is not clear whether you accept the call: would you please tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Do you accept the call from’Grace’? the fax machine said: “TZTXTZKEEKTZTZTS.” The now thoroughly annoyed voice of Telus said: “If you do not answer correctly we will have to disconnect this call.” The fax machine said: “TXTZTZGEETZTZEEEK.” By this time I was lol lolfdlol. I think that means falling down laughing in computerese doesn't it? I hung up the phone still laughing, but so relieved. Computers aren't taking over the world. We are still necessary. Maybe I can become a computer geek and not lose my soul :-)

OCTOBER 2005
  • Vicky Dillaun-Calhoun.
  • It's All Greek To Me
  • Survivor Picnic, BB&C Style
  • Members' News
  • What's all this Linux Stuff?
  • Help, for Madmen and Beginners
  • New Service
  • Cora Shaw Gets Techie Help
  • From the Computer of the Un-Geek
  • Cover Story
  • BB&C newsletter articles by Grace Mousseau