Keeping up with technology is not easy. At least not for somebody of my generation. I resisted cell phones and now I don’t know how I ever survived without one. I have had a computer for a long time (13 years) because I started writing study guides and needed something other than a typewriter. Those were the days….fighting with formatting issues in Word. I remember crying at my computer because “it” insisted on placing a number where I didn’t want one, or “it” insisted on inserting an indent which didn’t match the previous one. My husband would help me the best he could–after all, he was still working and sat at a computer all day long. I would finish up a guide and send it to the school that was publishing it on a floppy disc. (Remember those?) Those first guides were sold as single pamphlets.
Then the guides were published by a small company. The owner created a template for me to use which helped me tremendously, but still had some quirks which I couldn’t overcome. I really didn’t understand all the voodoo behind a template and when I needed to make changes I was at a loss. The publisher helped me and those guides were published, this time as spiral-bound books in two editions. (Seen to the left of this post) My son drew beautiful illustrations with pen and ink which greatly enhanced the books. Floppies were now a thing of the past and I delivered my work on a CD and the illustrations as they had been drawn.
Then my oldest son introduced me to Lynda. A whole new world opened up for me as I explored the step-by-step workings of Microsoft Word. Suddenly, the mystery of templates was solved. I even managed to create my own for use on the next phase of my guides. For you see, this 13-year project isn’t over. Now, people aren’t buying as many books. They want instant gratification in the form of E-books or digital books–those you can download NOW. This trend has caught many booksellers by surprise, and if they aren’t Amazon, they are probably scrambling to get the capability to sell E-books. So…….
With the knowledge I have gained from Lynda and a lot of patient help from my sons, I have learned to create E-books. These are individual study guides (like the first ones) only they can now be downloaded from the internet. My son is still doing the illustrations, only now he draws them on a digital pad directly onto the computer. No more ink and scanning of images for him. They are all digital and just as beautiful as the originals. Now, as they are finished, I send pdf files by email and in a matter of minutes, the books can be made available.
I still prefer holding real books, but they are becoming less popular as people use their electronic readers which can hold hundreds of books in a device about the size of a paperback novel. Who would have thought anything like this was possible? I can’t even guess what new technology will replace this, but of one thing I am sure—the readers being used now will be obsolete in a matter of very few years.
As I scramble to update according to the demands of technology, I humbly realize that I will never truly catch up. My efforts are only useful for a short time as technology marches inexorably forward. I am not sure I will be up to the next paradigm shift in technology. So while I struggle with each technological advance and always feel a bit behind, I at least have the pleasure of revisiting the wonderful Classics of the last 2400 or so years as I work. They keep me grounded in what is important and help me to see that what truly matters is not tied to any technology.