64 CommentsComputers and Internet, Friendship, Memoir, Writing/Blogging

Summer Re-run Series at The Doglady's Den

Originally published Jan. 14, 2013. Revised Feb. 12, 2015

“The computer is a wonderful invention!”

love my computer!

If anybody said that to me seven years ago, they would have received a derisive sneer,
along with my standard diatribe:

“Who needs computers?

“I’ve gotten along fine without one until now.”

“Waste of time.”

“Unjustified expense.”

my reaction to computer talk at the time

My father. a serious “computerholic” since the 90s, was constantly nagging me to get one. Much to his frustration, I resisted all of his entreaties and went happily about my business. While visiting my parents in November 2008, (we lived 2000 miles apart), he blithely announced that he was giving me a computer for Christmas. I threw every argument at him that came to mind, including that it was too big to travel home with. Ha! The joke was on me, because he ordered a laptop and a printer on the internet, to be delivered straight to my front door, the day after I returned home. I had to admit, that was pretty cool! Of course he added a little dig; told me it was time I came into the 21st century. This from an 81 year old man! Made me feel somewhat sheepish.

Okay then; where to begin? For the first few days, it stayed in the box. I just kept looking at it and walking away, over and over again. Frankly, it scared me! Came the time when I had a couple of days off. No more excuses!

Well, guess what? It took me about 4 hours, but, I got it up and running all on my own, just by reading the instructions. Very impressed with myself, I was!

notebook computer and printer
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Then came the internet hookup, which also went without a hitch.

All systems go!

The next couple of months were fascinating, just trying to learn everything. Trial and error was my main method, still is, plus advice found on the net. Kind of a fearless approach and there were some panicked moments when the computer refused to do what it was supposed to. All in all, I took to it like the proverbial “duck to water”.

My online habits changed completely after discovering a question and answer site, (MSN QnA), where people seemed to know each other and care about one another. Just like real world friendships! Interesting concept… I ended up making some friends myself and visiting the site daily. How great is that, when you can meet people all over the world, without leaving your chair? Since then, I have met two of them in person and the friendships flourished even more! I was also thrilled to reconnect with my best friend from high school, who lives in Italy now.

i love my computer!

One coincidental meeting really illustrates how computers have shrunk the world. I met a woman from Germany, (where I was born), who, as a child, had been a patient of my grandfather’s, (a dentist). She still lives in that area and sent me some photos of the old neighbourhood. Both of us were completely amazed by this turn of events and arranged to meet in Germany, during our Sept. 2013 trip to Europe. We had a lovely time and it was also thrilling to see my grandparents’ home again, after all those years – 41 to be exact!

Next, came the insidious, but entertaining Facebook habit, where I made a few many more friends. This, after flatly stating I would never go there. Ha! (Bet I’m not the only one.)

Now, of course, I’m submerged in the “Blogosphere” and meeting even more new people. Along with this, comes Twitter, Google+, etc. etc. For me, the greatest thing about blogging is that it reawakened my long-dormant muse. Writing has become a pleasure once more and hopefully, those books I’ve wanted to write since childhood will become reality. (Still working on that!)

Oh yes, the computer is a wonderful invention!


How has the computer changed your life?



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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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  1. You reminded me of myself, ha ha haaa!!!

    Computers are really here to stay as part of what are called the Internet of Things or IoT that, whether we like it or not, now runs the world. The Internet of Everything (IoE) for that matter…*been writing about IoT for work, so sorry*

  2. I’m one of those millennials, so computers have always been a part of my life. I remember practicing vocabulary with computer games when I was in elementary school, taking typing lessons in middle school, and using the computer for research in high school. And then there are my amazing online friends – people who have challenged me and encouraged me. Truly, I can’t imagine my life without a computer. Even if I find myself using a slow and outdated machine. I have no idea how you made it to 2008 without owning one!

    With Love,

  3. Debbie,

    How funny, your dad got you hooked on modern-day technology! Actually, that’s really wonderful to know because elderly people often are mistaken as the “left behind generation” where these sorts of things go. Of course, DH and I marvel at how a lot of kids today really aren’t as savvy as the world thinks them to be with computers and smartphones. Our children who were raised around computers aren’t nearly as vested in technology as we are and which makes us do eye rolls all the time. I’m glad your dad pulled you into the 21st century despite your protests. We bought our first notebook (no internet) in the early 90s. It wasn’t until the late 90s that we got a desktop with dial-up internet (talk about slow) and from there we kept progressing. It’s really hard to think about doing without these fun, cool conveniences. I’m totally sold on computers and smartphones! 😀 BTW, I really like the idea of this series. I will have to try remember doing something like this next year. Have a good week, my friend!

    1. Haha! That was then, this is now, right, Stephen? 😀 Mind you, I’ve been spending more time offline, lately. Thanks for dropping in. See you soon for BOTB.

  4. I recall this well… great article, and for the time being, timeless… Did I ever tell you, I was on the last of the eight-party telephone lines, in Tennessee?

    1. Sorry; that’s the drawback to re-issuing old stuff. The regulars have seen it before. There was such a thing as an eight-party line? That’s a lot of people to share phone time with! 😮 I can remember two or three, way back in the early ’60s. Thanks for dropping in, Myke. Hope you’re having a good summer!

  5. It changed my life, although I’m one of those people who can go for days w/o popping up on social media and not suffer any guilt about it. It has at times, made research easier for me, but overall, I’m not joined at the hip. I was first seriously exposed to the ‘net back in ’96, with the wonderful world of ListServs (precursor to social media) and Netscape (precursor to better search engines like Bing, Chrome, etc.) to slightly brighten my day. But, like I said, I can survive quite nicely without the ‘net for extended periods of time w/o having a complete meltdown.

    1. Thanks for dropping in, GB. You’ve been online for a long time. Sounds like you have a good balance and aren’t hooked on the ‘net like most of us. I get burned out and need to retreat periodically. Just getting back into it now, but I’m definitely cutting back. There’s too much going on in the physical world!

    1. Yes and most especially when you’re right in the middle of something! Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often over here. Hope yours is good, too Clowie. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  6. What a cool Dad you have, Debbie! Mine took to the computer at 81 and now 8 years later, it’s hard to get him off it! My Mom who’s technophobic is always complaining about me getting him hooked to the computer! Totally opposite stories, eh? 🙂

    1. That’s funny, Corinne. 🙂 There is a similarity though. My mother is also technophobic and was constantly complaining about my father “wasting” time on the computer! Thanks for visiting.

  7. That’s quite a story, Debbie. Indeed, computers are things of wondrous beauty and functionality, and I cannot imagine life without one. I took my first computer lessons in 5th grade, but long before that we had Atari and Texas Instruments game consoles (they weren’t called that back then). Seems like, one way or another, computers have always been a part of my life. Still, I was a bit of a latecomer to the internet (by my generation’s standards); I didn’t get an email account until 1999, and I didn’t join FB until 2008. I’ve been lucky to have computer geek friends around to introduce me to the coolest functions of the cyberworld, and thanks to them I’ve even dabbled a bit in code and programming. Very cool 😉 I did, however, learn to type on an old, completely mechanical machine that gave my pinkies and ring fingers a good workout 😀

    1. You’re a real expert then, Guilie! Since getting my own website, I’ve been delving more and more into CSS and I also taught myself HTML, but there’s always something new to learn. Yes, we used mechanical typewriters at school also. I remember my first office job and being so impressed with the electric ones. Who knew how far this would go? 🙂 Thanks for visiting and have a good week.

    1. I can’t imagine life without it either, Rachna, even though it’s not necessary for my business. Making friends worldwide and exploring different places as an armchair traveller certainly add to the allure. 🙂

  8. I absolutely agree Debbie! The computer is a fabulous invention! I have made so many friends all over the world, it’s simply amazing!

    1. It is amazing, Bren! 😀 In the beginning, I had no clue that you can forge friendships online. What a revelation! Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  9. We have stories in tandem. Before he died in 1990, my father was really into computers. He took classes and learned the languages (this was before windows simplified things). For years I eschewed the need for a computer but then after the turn of the present century I succumbed and quickly became hooked.

    Though sometimes a bane, I agree that computers are pretty wonderful.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host

    1. My father did the same thing, Lee. 🙂 Didn’t take me long to get hooked either. Stumbling into that forum and making friends is what did it, I think. Yes, the computer can be a bane at times and I also get internet fatigue once in awhile. The occasional hiatus helps me refocus. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  10. Absolutely, computer is a wonderful invention. The old friends we find through the social media, the new friends we make through the world of networking , its all good. 🙂 internet, laptop, tab, smartphone all these has become an inevitable part of our daily life.

    1. I’m still not completely “with it”. No Smart phone, but I do have a tablet. 🙂 I had no idea that you could meet and talk to people on a computer. That was quite a revelation to me! Thanks for visiting.

  11. Hey! That’s my story too except that I got hooked onto computers much earlier. I wanted to write a book so I wanted an electronic typewriter but my father who was computerised said that I should get one. So when a 60+ man could master a new technology, I was intrigued and got myself a computer. Needless to say I am hooked for life and my entire family is jealous of my connectivity……..they are convinced I love the computer more than them!

    1. Hahaha! My husband has grumbled similar sentiments from time to time. Little did my father know what he started with his Christmas present, back in 2008. He was thrilled that he could now send me emails instead of calling long distance. 🙂

  12. Completely agree with you Debbie. I have made so many really good friends on the Net, it’s amazing.

    PS: You managed to set up the comp on your own!! That’s amazing. I have an IMac lying in the box for almost a year now. Must get to it.

    1. Funny thing is, I had no idea it was possible to actually meet people and talk to them when I first started using a computer. That was such a revelation! As for setting up the computer alone, I was very proud of the accomplishment, but I’ve always been good at following instructions. Get out that IMac! 🙂

  13. Hey, Debbie, are we twins or what? First, the ‘familial’ similarity of our lives, and now this? Every word that you have written, well, I can relate to it, because it is my own story. Every word, really! I am amazed at this weird sameness in two people living worlds away from each other! Loved reading your story! May you fulfil the dream of writing your own book some day soon. (Now, that is ALSO similar! ).:-)

    1. Ha! Your father also gave you a computer, Shilpa? 🙂 It’s funny how people can lead such similar lives. I was actually planning to self-publish a short memoir last fall, but got bogged down with edits. Still working on it, here and there! Must get back to my WIP of dog memoirs as well. Somehow, blogging takes up most of my online time. I will explore more of your blog, to see what else we have in common. Cheers!

  14. It’s amazing how we think we aren’t interested, i.e., “not going there” – I did that with a cellphone – only to find out that once we use it, it is hard to imagine life without it. In fact, we now cannot “live without it!” Thus, I can so relate to your story Debbie with computers! I am SO amazed though that you got it up and running all on your own, even if with instructions. (I am not great at that!) 😉 And it’s amazing, how your life has expanded meeting new and old friends: how wonderful for you the connections you made! 🙂 <3

    1. I still don’t have a Smartphone, Elly, but have certainly embraced the computer wholeheartedly! 😀 Probably because it did come easily to me. Just like life, there’s something new to learn every day and skills get better all the time. Who knew the computer could offer up the world? I had no clue, at the time.

  15. Without a doubt, computer is a wonderful invention. I cant imagine my life without it! My day starts and ends with it!
    I am still smiling at the way you connected with your computer!

  16. I’ve made the most incredible friends through the use of my computer it boggles my mind, Debbie. So, I get that. I know one blogger friend who is a most definite real life friend it weren’t for being separated by 3,000 miles. I’ve acquired some awesome pen pals in different countries and it’s amazing how much I miss them when they go on vacation or get busy every now and then. One gal from
    Belgium and living in Switzerland actually speaks better English (with sentence structure) that ME!!! LOL! Loved the post my dear 🙂

    1. I never would have believed such a thing was possible a few years ago, Mike! 😀 It’s wonderful and I’m glad you and I have become cyber friends, also. Thanks for your comments and support.

  17. Oh my gosh. How? I am inspired by my 87 year old mother in law, who has gone online for years, and how (with limited mobility) she stays in touch with people on Facebook, using her iPhone. I got an iPhone because of her! Her next door neighbor, who is 80, has a Twitter and an Instagram account! They are my inspiration. I have reconnected with a couple of high school friends online. I correspond with people in Great Britain, Israel and India on Facebook. To use a slang expression, how awesome is that? Could I have imagined doing something like that while growing up in the 50’s and 60’s? No way!

    1. I think it’s wonderful that older people have embraced this technology. My father was a whiz at it! 🙂 Thankfully, he forced me into it and I’m just sorry I didn’t “get it” sooner. You’re right, Alana. Who knew?

  18. Hats off to you for getting your computer to run within 4 hours! That proves you are a natural, and your father probably knew it.  My friend taught me Word,… but it was like the blind leading the blind.
    It never ceases to amaze me how people truly can click, just like in ‘real’ life. Although we have just recently connected, I feel we are on the same wave length. I’m grateful that I have gotten to know you Debbie. I want to thank you for taking the time to visit my blog … It’s people like you that motivate and support us bloody blog beginners. :-)

    1. Thanks, Angelika. 🙂 Yes, he probably did sense that and it was fairly easy for me. I still don’t fully comprehend word processing programs though. LOL We definitely have a connection (Germany, perhaps? Same generation, etc.), and I feel the same way! Blogging is a two way street and it’s my pleasure to support your blog. Thanks for your support as well.

  19. The first job I had was a secretary to 150 computer technicians for Control Data in Minneapolis. This was in the late 60’s and the computers were the size of rooms — can you imagine how big this place was with all those computers. Anything after that was less intimidating but I did not personally get one because I didn’t think I needed one…..until the early 90’s. Then it was for storing recipes and doing bookkeeping. Now, I have 3 open on my desk at all times plus my phone and tablet and laptop. I think life was a lot easier and less stressful BEFORE computers but can’t imagine life without all of them!

    1. You’re a real computer pro, Carol! 😀 All I have is a main laptop, plus the older one from my father as backup, a print/copy/scan machine and a Samsung tablet, which I hardly ever use (a gift from hubby), oh, and a SmartTV which has internet capability. You’re taking care of all those businesses, plus blogging, so they are your tools of the trade, so to speak. You’re right though – life was simpler before computers, but I’m sure glad I changed my mind about them.

  20. I came to the computer, kicking and screaming all the way, but once I got into it, I was hooked. The big turn came when a friend convinced me to open a Myspace page. I was, as they say, famous on Myspace. I only migrated to Facebook when Myspace blogs had a major meltdown. I made a world of friends there, who I am still on touch with, to this day. I have made several friends on Facebook, but it is not nearly the wide open field that Myspace was.

    1. Hi Myke; So, you were reluctant also? Funny how things change! 😀 Shame about MySpace falling from grace. Same thing happened to me with Windows Live Space. It was swallowed up by, but that led me to blogging, so it’s all good. 🙂 The forum at MSN QnA was a blast and I’m still friends with many of those people now, even met a couple in person. I think Microsoft shut it down because we turned it into a social network and that wasn’t their intention. (They didn’t like the joking and small talk.)

  21. Sorry, the fastest click in the east, and the comment got posted before I finished!
    I was saying “apparently initial resistance creates computer geniuses”!!!! or at least computerholics!!!!!LOL

    big hug, and looking forward to seeing you!

    1. Interesting! Well, I used to use desktop computers at work too, but that was before the internet came along. Once I left the corporate world, I wanted nothing more to do with them. LOL Little did my father know he created a monster! 😀

  22. LOL!!!!!!!!!! Well, as usual, we share some common emotions! My first bout with computers was way back in 1974, in university. Remember those monsters? They took up a whole room, and those awful punctured cards to use! a nightmare…I only got through the statistics exam thanks to a genius friend!
    At that moment, I officially swore that I would never, NEVER, again go near a computer. Electric typewriters were the closest I would get!
    Until one day, while I was working in Naples for a lawyer [1982], I sauntered into the office and found my desk occupied with this huge thing. I got a few flutters in my stomach, but quickly reassured myself that it wasn’t for me!
    Until the “boss” came in and said “biancatì, two degreesfourlanguages [not true!]…you’re the only person in the office who can make this work! here is the instruction booklet, make it work!!!” Yes, it was a computer! the forerunner to the personal computers we all know today, and yes, two months later I had managed to get it working!
    But still was adamant about using them, plus the prohibitve costs! Until 1997 — when another employer said more or less the same thing regarding making up and editing a catalogue! Then, I had to buy a desktop computer, AND a printer! Time three months and I was using CAD tools and CAT tools and whatever.
    Still no internet though…..that came in times of extreme stress [when my family broke up], and I must say that with ups and downs, it was a great help!
    And reconnecting with you was one of the best aspects of all!
    Don’t have much time to dedicate to it now, for personal purposes at least, but for work……am almost a genius on it!
    And I keep promising myself to give myself time to do what you are doing here……….. A GREAT JOB, bthw!
    luv ya!
    So, apparently initial resistance

  23. I love that your Dad was the one to introduce you to computers Debbie. I’m also glad that although you resisted for years you finally gave in. We all hate change sometimes but it really can be a very good thing. I’m so glad you gave it a try and now look where you are today! Yay!!!


    1. Hi Adrienne; Yes; that was a classic case of role reversal. 🙂 Little did he know that it would become such a consuming passion, however. Thanks for dropping by.

  24. Very interesting to read your story with the computer!! Cool that it was your dad who got you into it :). I discovered online communities in 2000 or so and after that have been hooked on the internet.. now internet is even more fabulous since I have very little time to socialize in “real” life.

    1. Hi Susanne! Thanks for visiting. Yes, I was very “late to the party” when it comes to computers, but, now that I’m here, what a good time this is! 🙂

  25. Hi Debbie,

    Really nice to hear how you got your first computer and it’s helping you to get your heart out now 🙂 You should love it more. Without it and Intenet we would never be connected, no? 🙂 You can think about how it changed your lifestyle.

    I really love the changes it made to my life too. You are reminding me of the day I get my computer 🙂 It was a gift. I was start loving it more and more since then and I’ve got Internet in 2011 which opens me to whole world for more and new connections. I just love reading, writing and techy stuff mostly. My computer changed me completely and I’m glad it did 🙂

    Have a wonderful week there dear 🙂


    1. Good day, Mayura. Thanks for visiting! Yes, indeed, without the computer we would all be still in our own little worlds. How wonder that we can now connect with people worldwide! Ah, so yours was a gift as well. Wonderful gift, isn’t it? Wish I was a little better at the techy stuff, but, I’m getting there, with your help and that of other kind and sharing people. Best regards.

  26. Wonderful post!! Sometimes it just takes awhile to get your feet wet–but not long after you’ll be swimming 😉

    Seems I’ve always been tinkering with a computer….even before the internet. My first Commodore 64 where I played games that weren’t quite the hype of that atari in the other room. I kept thinking then, wouldn’t it be cool to type something here and it show up over on another computer?

    One of my first jobs was doing background checks on a computer in 1997…that was linked to a database on the net. This little gig was set up in the basement of my home. By 2003 I was working from home on my computer full time. I love the computer!!

    1. Hi Jenn; Sounds like you’re a real expert, then. 🙂 I did use a computer at work, for inventory control and invoicing, starting around the mid 80s, with the old MS DOS system. That was before the internet of course and I had NO idea what a wonderful thing that is! Yup; I’m hooked. Thanks for visiting.

  27. I remember the first time I was introduced to a computer. I fell in love with it immediately, It was a Mac. Not having to look at blue screens with flashing little lines was exhilarating and then when I connected with the Internet, I felt as I did when I was a kid and opened my first encyclopedia. The entire world sat before me waiting for me to explore. I’m glad your father “forced” you into the 21st Century. I enjoyed reading your blog.

    1. Hello Theresa; happy to meet you. Yes, I’m glad my father forced the issue as well, but, in so doing he created the proverbial “monster”. LOL Hard to tear myself away, now. Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers!