Time for Moore: Tech troubles

Jane Turpin Moore.jpg

Don McLean’s gorgeous 1971 hit “Vincent” (better known by its first line, “Starry Starry Night”) may have been written as a meditation on the life of artist Vincent van Gogh, but it nevertheless speaks to many people in different ways.

Last week, portions of its poignant lyrics were called to mind as I contemplated my general and overarching ineptitude when it comes to all things technology-related.

Now I understand … what you tried to say to me,” could be my mantra — but usually only long after talking with a tech guru who is trying to save me from self-destructing in some unusual and yet sadly predictable manner.

While waiting … and waiting … and waiting for a reply to an email inquiry made regarding an article I was due to write, I finally despaired and sent a text message to my contact within the local school district. This person normally responds promptly, so her radio silence had been surprising, and increasingly concerning, as my deadline rapidly approached.

“DIDN’T YOU GET MY EMAIL?” was her not-so-subtle reply to my texted query.


To shorten this increasingly complex tale, suffice to say I may have singlehandedly and inadvertently discovered — after contacting the cracker-jack school district tech office — that somehow, all outgoing emails to anyone with a certain email server had been accidentally blocked for a short period.

In order to identify the root of the problem, though, a district tech staffer requested my permission to remotely access my email account (“Do you trust me?” she softly coaxed) via a nifty app called TeamViewer.

Like, wow — I spent about 40 minutes watching my computer being manipulated from afar by professionals whose disembodied voices I could hear discussing the issue via conference call. My writing time was delayed, but it was fascinating to see those tech geniuses test various scenarios in expert fashion while I sat back, helpless to assist or comprehend, as my cursor floated back and forth across my screen.

Once diagnosed, the issue was fixed in less time than it took me to reheat the mug of tea I’d been nursing throughout the process. Kudos to the pros!

Only a few days later, however, tech trauma struck again.

While driving to an out-of-town appointment one bitterly cold late afternoon, the video screen in my newer model vehicle suddenly went haywire, refusing to pause for my finger’s touch to adjust the interior “climate,” the radio signal or any of the other contemporary wonders a person can now (usually) command in mere seconds.

“Help,” I barely croaked to the always obliging service department attendant at the car dealership. “My screen has gone psycho.”

Heck, the screen was wildly flashing from icon to icon so quickly, and in no particular order, that I was becoming dizzy trying to make sense of it.


“It may just need an update,” said Mr. Car Repair. “Bring it in tomorrow and I’ll hook it up to check.”

The next day, I did just that and sure enough, I was on my way a short while later with a normally functioning screen — but not before being informed that a few other auto owners had reported the same problem around the time I had.

“It could be the system was hacked,” he mused, making me ponder the potential presence of Russian hackers in my life and wondering if I should follow Mark Zuckerberg’s example and tape over the camera on my computer in case foreign spies are monitoring my facial expressions while typing.

Sure, Vincent van Gogh’s artistic vision and sensibilities may have been far ahead of his time, but I’m likely way behind the curve in terms of successfully functioning in this increasingly tech-reliant society.

This world was never meant for one as techno-dumb as me.

Check out Time for Moore, Jane Turpin Moore’s blog, at

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