The President's Message

NOVEMBER 2005

Lois Evans de Violini



I am sorry that I could not be at the meeting this month. Hope everyone had a good time and learned a lot.

Twenty years ago, most of us wouldn't have dreamed about how dependent we have all become on computers. This was brought home to me hard last week when Toyota put out a recall on my car. Seems on some cars the computer shut the engine down unexpectedly, leaving one not only without motion power but without such essentials to driving as power steering and brakes, which hardly work without the power. I also have a GPS system in my car that seldom fails. I can program in an address, and the computer then tells me each turn I need to make to arrive at my destination. But like all computers, it's only as good as the programmer. The other day while traveling, I programmed in an address, and the computer dutifully brought me to the town on 101 where I wanted to go (I could have found the town on my own easily), and then as I got off the offramp that the computer suggested, it says to me you are within 2 miles of you destination, your guidance system is now turing off. Great!

Computers are wonderful; they help us in many ways in our everyday lives. They are faster, hold more information and are easier to use than they used to be. But interesting things do happen, and sometimes it seems as if they have minds of their own. I remember a lady I tried to help with an older computer, and suddenly the keyboard stopped working. When I inquired if this had ever happened before, I was told yes. Just turn it over and pat it on the bottom and it will work again. Sure enough, that was the cure. The other day, one computer on a network would not connect no matter how many times we tried to reconnect it. So a call went in to network service people. They came over and did exactly the same thing we had tried at least 10 times before, and it all worked. Why? No one knew.

Do you have a strange story of a computer with a mind of its own? If so let us hear about it.