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Technology Illustrations

  • Ask Jeeves AnswersMy friend Nancy and I decided to introduce her elderly mother to the magic of the Internet. Our first move was to access the popular Ask Jeeves website, and we told her it could answer any question she had. Nancy's mother was very skeptical until Nancy said, "It's true, Mom. Think of something to ask it."

    As I sat with fingers poised over the keyboard, Nancy's mother thought a minute, then responded, "How is Aunt Helen feeling?"

  • A mom finds her boy looking at a web site with photos of Brittney SpearsSeeing my 11-year-old son perusing a website filled with photos of Britney Spears, I commented, "She certainly is pretty. Which picture do you like best?"

    "I don't know," he mumbled, embarrassed by his newfound interest in girls. "I'm just reading about her."

    I came closer and peered at the screen."Oh, really?" I said.

    "So when did you learn to read Spanish?

  • restaurant meal3Friends and I were chatting over dinner in a restaurant. A man at the next table told his cell-phone caller to hold on. Then he stepped outside to talk.

    When he returned, I said, "That was very thoughtful."

    "I had no choice," he nodded and said to me. "You were making too much noise."

  • business meetingIn a software design meeting, we were using typical technical jargon to discuss a data exchange interface with a vendor.

    One co-worker said the programming we had ordered was delayed because the vendor was suffering from a "severe non-linear waterfowl issue."

    Curious, the team leader raised his eyebrows and asked, "What exactly is that?"

    The programmer replied, "They don't have all their ducks in a row."

  • computer2I've got 3 TVs, cable and a satellite dish. I have 3 phone lines in the house, a cell phone and one in the car.

    I use 2 computers, 3 ISPs and a fax. I subscribe to two daily papers and one weekly one. I watch both the local and the network news every evening.

    And my kids have the nerve to tell me I'm out of touch.

  • tugboatOur tech company uses satellite communications to send and receive messages from tugboats moving barges up and down major rivers. Each day, by 2pm, the tugboats send data on the day's activities to the company's traffic department.

    At least that's how it is supposed to work.

    "I got a call from our traffic department saying they only received data from about half the boats, and would I check on it?" the technician Don says.

    He calls the satellite company, but the satellite technician there says there's no problem on his end.

    Meanwhile, the traffic department calls again - they're still not getting messages from the missing boats.

  • children playI want to be a kid again. I want to go back to the time when...

    * Decisions were made by going "Eeny-meeny-miney-mo."

    * Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do over!"

    * "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.

  • sewingMy granddaughter came to spend a few weeks with me, and I decided to teach her to sew.

    After I had gone through a lengthy explanation of how to thread the machine, she stepped back, put her hands on her hips, and said in disbelief,

    "You mean you can do all that, but you can't operate a cell phone?"

  • Here's a holographic reminder of how not to use handicap parking spots.

  • woman shockedIt was a full auditorium. Halfway through the author's talk, she began to feel sick. In a calm voice, she announced that she had left a few pages of her speech offstage, in her bag.

    She walked off slowly and, as soon as she was out of sight, ran to the bathroom where she immediately threw up.

    She was just about finished when someone came into the bathroom to tell her that her lapel mike was still on.

  • family 1950sA few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Ohio town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

    As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries, and comedies.

  • classroomThe math teacher saw that little Davie wasn't paying attention in class. She called on him and said, "Davie! What are 2 and 4 and 28 and 44?"

    Little Davie quickly replied, "NBC, CBS, HBO and the Cartoon Network!"

  • Black and White

    tv old[An ode to times long gone; for older folks only. Under 40, you just won't understand.]

    You could hardly see for all the snow,
    Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
    Pull a chair up to the TV set,
    "Good night, David; Good night, Chet".

    Dependin' on the channel you tuned
    You got Rob and Laura or Ward and June.
    It felt so good, felt so right.
    Life looked better in black and white.

  • You know you are living in the 21st century when...

    computer2. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have e-mail addresses.

    . You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

    . You call your son's beeper to let him know it's time to eat. He e-mails you back from his bedroom, "What's for dinner?"

    . Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.

    . You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven't spoken with your next door neighbor yet this year.

  • stormThunderstorms had rolled through the region, knocking out power temporarily to some of the stores of this supermarket chain. So when a help desk technician got an emergency page from one store, he figured he knew how to handle it.

    Turns out it was not that easy. "When I called the store, a somewhat dippy cashier answered the phone," he says. "The cash registers were all off-line, and when I gave her what I thought were simple instructions to restart the registers, she was having trouble understanding."