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Riding the tech wave is hard without instructions

Published October 21, 2006


If you think setting up a new computer is a hassle, try getting rid of your old computer.

The school system "can't accept" computers from the public, according to the district's Property Control department.

The public library won't take them, either.

Neither will the Salvation Army thrift store they don't take old microwaves or television sets any more, either. Nor will Goodwill or the Vietnam Vets.

I called a couple of used computer places. None of them were interested in a my adorable little Apple MacIntosh, a 10-year-old darling that smiles sweetly when you turn it on and has never even burped, much less crashed.

It seems that computers have become as disposable as plastic razors, soft drink cups and bar scene pickups.

This is even stranger: My new iMac came with no instruction book.

When I called the help number, the polite technician told me that Apple just assumed people already had an iMac and were simply moving up a notch to a new operating system (OS in tech speak). That way, they would already know what to do and didn't need an instruction book.

I was moving up, but from OS 7.5 to OS 10.4.7.

"That's about seven generations," the technician said.

And anybody who has ever been to a family reunion knows that scary changes can happen in seven generations.

The techie advised me to order an instruction book by David Pogue named, appropriately, The Missing Manual. Its opening lines go something like, "This is the instruction manual that should have been in the box with your computer."

Amen, David, dear.

Of course, I'm already in love with my gorgeous iMac, and I know I will figure it out with the help of David's 847-page book.

By the way, I finally found a good home for my old Mac: A+ Computer Service on Trouble Creek Road, where owner Bob Schreck told me that he and technician Paul Voreland refurbish computers for Dayspring Academy and are diligently looking for loving homes for the old Macs.

"I can't stand to throw out good equipment," Schreck said. "These old Macs are good for children to learn on and play games."

Schreck is a computer forensics specialist who often works for law enforcement agencies ferreting out material on hard drives that an owner may have thought he deleted but never really did. Once Schreck erases a hard drive with his special equipment, he says it's gone forever, so I don't have to worry about someone reading family gossip I wrote to my mom 10 years ago.

I happily gave A+ all my boxes full of computer paraphernalia in exchange for one promise: If they happened to dig out the fact that I had spent 78 precious hours playing solitaire on that adorable little Mac, they couldn't let anyone know.

Nuns remain in high demand

Nunsensations: The Nunsense Vegas Revue is, indeed, a sensation.

The show opened last week at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse to completely sold-out crowds and has sold out this weekend, too.

So many people wanted to see it that the theater was forced to add another performance, this one at 6 p.m. Sunday.

And it's sold out, too.

Lesson: From now on, buy your tickets early.

Richey Suncoast scores a Lary Award

Congratulations to Richey Suncoast Theatre, which recently won a 2005-06 Lary Award for the comedy The Odd Couple.

The Larys are Tampa Bay's version of the Tony Awards, when community theaters in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties compete for those little statuettes.

Winners are chosen by subscribers to The Theatre Grapevine, a theater news magazine that's been around for at least a couple of decades. Since there are so many theaters in Pinellas, and voters tend to see many of the Pinellas productions, that county usually dominates the winners list.

So it is a big honor to see that not only were Stage West's Jessica Nichole and Richey Suncoast's Austin Ciliberti and Sandrinne Edstrom invited to perform at the Larys this year, one of our local theaters actually won a big award.

Barbara L. Fredricksen can be reached at (727) 869-6262 or

[Last modified October 21, 2006, 09:28:05]

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