I had two young guests, six and 11, over for a visit. I was showing them how my old turntable changed the records by itself and the younger one sat down in front of my old Remington typewriter to try out the keys and the levers.
They pulled the chain that turned the old lamp off and on and then the older one quietly asked me, “Jim, do you live in a museum?”
Well, maybe I do. I enjoy having some old things around, I like the mechanical reliability. I like to hear gears meshing, pins dropping into place and belts whirring.
I like to be able to turn something on without having to input a log in or password first. There is something satisfying about the solid click of an off/on switch, a feeling that I am in control of the device rather than the other way around.
We are daily driven to become more dependent on the virtual world and short of moving to a mountain cabin east of Merritt, we have to comply to exist.
I recently sold some books and the purchaser wanted to pay with an e-transfer. I said that would be great, not wanting to admit I didn’t know if I could do that.
When I got an email message that the money had been sent, I figured out where my online banking password was scribbled down and went online to find that I had to set up the e-transfer feature. I made a coffee, took a deep breath and started to follow the directions, feeling like I was in Grade 1 reading Fun with Dick and Jane for the first time.
Near the end of the process, I was told I would be contacted with a one-time six-digit verification code. I pushed, ‘Next’ and my cellphone rang instantly and a robotic voice issued me a number to complete the process. Then the screen notified me the process was complete and the money would be transferred.
I hoped the transfer was handled by the same speedy robot that had just phoned me.
Studies show that more seniors are becoming computer users and that six in 10 adults over 65 go online regularly and that four in 10 now have smart phones or tablets.
The same study shows that seniors are the largest victims of computer fraud as they are more trusting and easier confused by terminology and technology.
It’s about trust and respect. I used to take my paycheque straight to the bank.
My login was, “Hi, Mr. McGregor!” and my password was “Hi, Margaret. How are you today?” I paid my bills, got some cash and never talked to any robots. I was in control.
But just a word to hackers, and geeks and big business, seniors have long memories, and we sleep with one eye open.
Remember, old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time. At least that’s what McGregor says.