First came the mom-can­celling head­phones

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - LOR­RAINE SOMMERFELD www.lor­raineon­line.ca

My lap­top started do­ing weird things six months ago, but I found a way to wig­gle some­thing back into place and if I held it just right, it still turned on.

I knew then it was on its last legs, and like ev­ery­thing you solve with a MacGyver fix, you know it can’t last for­ever.

The prob­lem? As long as the fix is fix­ing, you for­get you have a prob­lem.

The other day, it fi­nally crashed for the last time. I took it to Ari and asked what I should do. He glanced at the pur­ple screen, pushed a cou­ple of but­tons and pro­nounced it dead. It promptly went black, as if it had just been wait­ing for its last rites.

“I told you it was go­ing,” he told me, need­lessly.

“I get it. But I need to re­place it right now. I need this for work,” I re­minded him.

“Best deals are on­line. But if you pay ex­tra, we can get it shipped here by to­mor­row.” “How much more is it?” “Forty-five bucks,” he replied. I told him we would not be pay­ing for ex­press ship­ping. When it showed up the next day any­way, I vowed to never pay for ex­press ship­ping for any­thing, ever.

I’ve got a new Chrome­book, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a com­puter so easy to set up. Ari had been push­ing me in that di­rec­tion all along, but the idea of new com­put­ers or phones makes me mis­er­able. I do not like change; my world may look like thinly dis­guised chaos, but there is a very real and com­plete method to my mad­ness. The slight­est rip­ple in my daily struc­ture leaves be­hind fault lines, and I won­der when I be­came so pre­cious.

If you’ve moved to Chrome, you’ll un­der­stand how the Google Cloud works. All your things get au­to­mat­i­cally sucked up into the com­puter cloud for stor­age, in­stead of on the ac­tual com­puter. This cloud then sits above all your de­vices, so as I change from phone to lap­top to desk­top to iPad, ev­ery­thing tags along for the ride.

It’s fly-around In­ter­net at its very best, and I know I should have lis­tened to my kid sooner. Af­ter years of fum­bling with los­ing things, back­ing up and then los­ing the backup, and cut and past­ing work to pass from one de­vice to another, I now have the full au­ton­omy my son has been bark­ing at me about for a cou­ple of years.

As I was pat­ting my­self on the back for set­ting up the new lap­top my­self – a first – I heard Ari talk­ing with his bud­dies. It seems some­one else’s mom was shop­ping for a new com­puter, and I heard them all chime in with the same ad­vice Ari had given me.

“Yeah, tell her to get a Chrome­book,” said one voice.

I liked hear­ing all these com­puter geeks rec­om­mend­ing the same thing. I can’t keep up with a tech­no­log­i­cal world that is mov­ing at warp speed, and it’s tough enough suss­ing out the au­to­mo­tive fea­tures I face each week. I’m grate­ful when Ari spares me the has­sle of sourc­ing the com­puter is­sues, and I think it’s sweet that he knew the Cloud would make my work life a lot eas­ier.

I passed through the room a few min­utes later, still lik­ing the lit­tle glow I felt in hav­ing all these kids ready to give ad­vice to those of us less skilled. And I was just in time to hear my own kid adding to the con­ver­sa­tion.

“Chrome­books are def­i­nitely the best way to cut down on the dumb mom ques­tions,” said Ari, and his friends all cheered.

Brats.

It seems some­one else’s mom was shop­ping for a new com­puter, and I heard them all chime in with the same ad­vice Ari had given me.

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