Chasing Dreams: My sisters are my heroes

I want to send a shout out to my sister.

My two sisters and I are incredibly stubborn, so it is with great joy that my middle sister is looking at a computer with the same stubbornness she had as a young woman learning construction. (This sister worked construction, my other sister drove a dump truck, and I was in the military. When we’re together, we’re a force to be reckoned with.)

I just spent 7 hours on the phone with her and she allowed me to talk her through some computer stuff, including internet stuff. Yes. You read that right; 7 hours of computer talk (other stuff too, but mostly computer talk.)

Remember I’m learning new things too and I’m sure we both wanted to quit about 3 hours in, but we kept at it for 7 hours. That’s longer than a college computer class. I honestly didn’t think we were going to make it, but with plenty of breaks, we pushed through.

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My sister is tough as nails and doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams. If she has to learn all the silly buttons on a computer to accomplish her dreams, well so be it.

People who were born with computers may not understand the difficulty of accepting the use of computers in everyday life. It’s pretty frustrating when you have to learn something new every flipping year because the tech giants want to push new stuff out to the people as fast as possible. We are the generation whose vehicles lasted 20 or 30 years and the stereos we grew up with are now highly sought after. Why? Because things were built to last.

You learned to use it one time and you didn’t get another one until your children had children. Some of us are still learning to set the clock on our VCRs and new hi-tech gadgets, every year, can be incredibly overwhelming.

This new way of mass producing less-than quality products and knowing the public is forced to use them anyway is a terrible way to do business.

I’m sorry. I have to get this off my chest. I know the frustration my sister must feel each time she tries to learn something new, because these corporations frustrate me as much as they do her.

Instead of building on a foundation of learning, companies completely revamp the new programs so-much-so that it takes days to re-learn what you though you already knew how to do. Icons change, drop down position change, and user muscle memory might as well be thrown to the wind. When upgrading technology, it’s not like riding a bike. No two are the same. Instead of putting out quality products, which customers can enjoy using, companies shove new products out as fast as they can, bugs and all, and they count on the end user to be free beta testers (Windows Vista and Windows 10 I’m looking at you).

Windows 7 had such a terrible search feature, they had to create YouTube videos to teach customers how to use it and it still never works correctly. The customers are stuck with this terrible search feature (which, by the way, worked perfectly in XP) until Windows 10, but I still don’t know if they fixed it.

I’m afraid to download 10 for fear it’s as terrible as all the products before. Sure, Windows 10 might be the best one so far, but with their history of screwing things up, and my lack of trust in their products, I’m not really for certain what I’m going to get. These are supposed to be hi-tech products, not a box of chocolates.

I’ve had a personal computer since 1996. If I’m afraid of using all these new products due to the bugs and massive changes with each one, imagine how scary it is for someone who doesn’t use a computer everyday and is still running on Vista? It’s terrifying.

No one has time to learn a brand new program every few years, especially one that is broken. What the customer ends up doing is, they learn what they need and keep going forward, never using many of the many features which take up valuable memory. That’s the major issue with the companies; they don’t care that their customers never get the full experience of their products, or even if they enjoy their products, because they know the normal user will be forced to buy the new one in a few years anyway.

With the market demand of constant upgrades and the board room demanding more and more profits, the standard of products end up in the toilet. Customers are expected to purchase a broken item and then download the patches when they get home.

It’s like being expected to purchase a brand name shirt, at full price, but it’s full of holes.

Leanring the computer 4When you bring this to the attention of the store owner, they explain that’s how shirts are made now. You buy the shirt and you patch it up when you get home (sometimes you’re even forced to purchase the patches separately).

What a terrible way to gain lifetime customers. The public trust is broken and no one really enjoys the products they are forced to use. Whoever thought this was a way to conduct business should be kicked in the hind parts!

(Also… Apple, what the heck is up with changing the plugs and cover sizes with every model?  Instead of constantly working on the brand new upgrade, get those engineers to work on a standard power plug to use for more than one phone. Are your engineers trying to kill the Planet? It’s Okay. There isn’t a race to destroy the Earth. We’re doing just fine in that department all by ourselves. I promise. We can use the same cords for a few phone model without people thinking we’re out of style. Plus, if we didn’t have to change our home chargers, car chargers, and covers so often, maybe the older generation would be more inclined to accept your new products.  I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but saving the Earth is actually in style now. It would really appreciate not having so many old cords and chargers cluttering up it’s appearance.)

After taking all this into account, it’s no wonder new users have such a hard time accepting this new world.

This is the industry my sister is trying to enter.

She grew up in a world where items were built to last and now I’m asking her to dive into a world where the customer is expected to spend a lot of money on something that is broken, then, before ever enjoying the product, the customer is expected to take hours out of their day to download updates and install patches, which hopefully will repair the broken parts of a brand new item.

If the patches or updates don’t work, then she will be expected to call the company, wait on the line, hopefully connect to someone who understands her and she understands them (more Leanring the computer - Windows Bugs2them likely she will need to call back multiple times to find someone who can really help her). Again, this is taking many hours out of her day and her week, and she still has not been able to use the product or program she purchased. Hopefully, at some point in the first week she can turn on her new product, and then, only then… if she hasn’t shot it first, she will be able to use her new computer or open her new program.

For my sister to have the patience to stick with me through all these explanations is a testament to how badly she wants to advance. This is a testament to her. Not the products she will be using, but a testament to how badly she wants this. This is exactly why I was on the phone with her for 7 hours. When someone wants something so badly, you don’t hang up due to time, you keep going with them, as long as you both can stand it, you keep going.

I’m not saying the conversation was easy. In fact, it was tiring. It was brain-breaking for both of us and we’re both going to pay for this tomorrow. But at any time, we could have changed the conversation. Nope. She continues to put up with me trying to explain what to do, over the phone, and she kept right on going, so I wasn’t about to stop.

To keep going proves she has serious tenacity and perseverance.

DO not fail

Not only did she have to put her own confidence on the back burner, while her “baby” sister instructed her, but she also had to believe the rewards would outweigh the costs.

I want my sister to enjoy the ride of learning new stuff and feel the excitement of victory over these stupid boxes that run our daily lives, so each time we came to an overly difficult part, I had to remember all the times people were patient with me while I was learning. I didn’t wake up one day knowing how to use a computer, people took the time to teach me and now I hope to teach her.

It’s actually very exciting. Life is about progressing. When your brain stops learning and stops dreaming, there is a certain amount of sadness that comes with that inactivity.

Life becomes blah. Making plans for the future, even little plans, excites the brain and puts a bounce in your step.

I know the feeling of trying so hard to accomplish something, but not knowing how to crack the code to learn.

I know the feeling of loving and dreaming about something so much, but the ability to accomplish those dreams are just outside your grasp. Sometimes the technology hasn’t been invented yet or sometimes the technology is not available to you to use. Either way, the result is the same, the dream becomes stagnate and sometimes lost forever. Tesla, Ford, Edison, and many others ran into some of the same issues. Their dreams out-paced the technology, or their ability to build the technology, to make those dreams come true.

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Hearing my sister learn new and exciting things put joy in my own life. I adore hearing her squeal with happiness and laughter again. I adore hearing her “win” the battle against an unknown force.

Learning to use a computer may not seem exciting to many people, but it’s right up there with Starbucks getting your coffee order correct the first time, all the traffic lights staying green on the way to work, and your favorite song coming on just as the police pass you to pull someone else over, it’s a pretty darn good feeling to have these little victories in life go your way.

Over the next few weeks she and I will talk more and add to what we accomplished so far. Even if we have to go over a few things a few more times, that’s Okay. I know she is one smart cookie and once she sets her mind to something, nothing will stand in her way to learn it. Plus, once she learns something new, no one can stop her from reaching her goals.

As I wrote in a message a few weeks ago, taking the time to teach someone about computers (with warnings of course) will open a whole new world to them. The internet may contain some bad stuff, but it’s the good stuff that makes it all worthwhile.

I guess I better learn a whole bunch of new stuff or pretty soon I’ll need to ask her for help.

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.


(Shhh…after all of this, please, no one tell my sister that the machine she is battling is just a place to watch cat videos. It’ll be our little secret. 😉 )


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