Idioms aren't my friend, neither is technology


I miss the days of typewriters.
Not really. A few key strokes and a Word document is in someone else’s hands or pasted into a page design software and you’re off and running.
But sometimes technology is the curse of my being. And I have a lot of curses.
This week we got tripped up by a new version of software we use to create your Pen City Current e-edition every morning. We didn’t just get tripped up for one day, but for two.
We had to go back to an older version through uninstalls and installs and about three hours of help with the software company’s tech gurus. Lee has to do that stuff, I don’t have the patience, which is another of the curses.
It's really short sighted to be frustrated with technology because that’s specifically what allows me to do what I do professionally from where ever I am.
The downside of it is that you are basically at the whim of the technical divide...that digital chasm we get sucked into with the energy of a black hole.
You can imagine me clinging to the side of cliff, screaming with my fingernails digging in to not get sucked in because I hate giving up control of something that works.
And what happened to “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
That idiom is just about a thing of the past. We are constantly fixing stuff that isn’t broken. On Tuesday my stuff worked. On Wednesday it didn’t. And we find out that it had something to do with an upgrade. We have Mac-based systems so that kind of thing is supposed to be “few and far between”. But “few and far between” is another idiom that the gig-economy has stripped us away from. Nothing is few and everything is more and more being pulled together.
So that leaves me with the frustration of just having to go “go with the flow”.  I hate just going with the flow when I can’t control the energy behind the flow.
Our world of digital creation in a tech functional society is at the same time a blessing and a curse. I love the endless opportunities it provides, We saw an upgrade this week that allows us to drop backgrounds on photos in about three key strokes. But then at any time, there can be a “handshake” between platforms that gets clogged for whatever reason and you’re screwed.
Typewriters required ribbon and maintenance and white out and way more action than just fingertapping. You had to swipe the carriage back by hitting the carriage return lever unless you got on of those new fangled automatic typewriters. You had the platen knob that rolled the paper through the carriage unless you used the handle and pumped it back and forth.
Ok. I don’t miss the typewriter. And I don’t miss the fax machine. I like email and I like “copy and paste” and I like photo correction and InDesign and Acrobat and Photoshop.
But just leave my crap alone. I like the way it works right now. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot you can do to speed things up for me.
I did see a few apps that convert the spoken word into text, but there’s a few issues with that. It doesn’t (yet) identify the person speaking so you have to make notes about that. It also doesn’t hit every word right so there’s that and that’s a big issue when you’re quoting people. I don’t think they’ve made one yet that works for me. I’ve messed around with Otter and it’s nice for conversions outside the journalism field but it’s not hopped enough yet for that industry.
So I’m not that old-school guy that just wants to use a pencil and notebook for my work. I like utilizing technology, but when it punches a hole in my workday, it makes me long for the days when someone else had to do the page design, press operations, sorting, and delivering.
Suffice it to say (yes, that’s an English idiom, too), we press on with our tech reliance, and we suffer through the late night hours to bring you some news every weekday. And you have my word, as I watch Da Bears take Iowa’s Tory Taylor as the first punter in the 2024 draft, that we’ll “press on” and “weather the storm” to do our best to bring you news and sports, and breaking information – whether the “cloud” likes it or not.
And as I guy who’s weathered the storm as a Vikings fan for the past 46 years without a SuperBowl appearance, not just no championships, but no championship appearance, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year’s NFL draft. And no, there was NOT 275,000 people at the draft. That may have been a technical glitch, but that’s Beside the Point.
Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of the Pen City Current and can be reached at

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