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Grudge Race On The Information Superhighway

Aug 18, 2007
I am staring forlornly at a stack of 3.5-inch diskettes that contain my life's work. Or, at least my life's work since they developed the 3.5-inch diskette.

Many still refer to the diskette as a floppy, despite the fact that they are not flexible in the least. They are called such in honor of their predecessor, the 5-inch disk which was indeed floppy.

I can't even remember how much work I lost when the 5-inch floppy disappeared. All I know is that one day I came to work and none of the new computers had 5-inch floppy drives. Lost forever, future generations have been robbed of my drunken ramblings or genius, depending on one's tastes.

Now, upon the purchase of my brand-new IBM Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, there is no 3.5-inch diskette drive to be seen.

Here we go again.

Now I have a couple of dozen diskettes stacked up beside my desktop like so many saltines, all waiting to have their data transferred to a CD which will then be loaded into my laptop because I haven't been able to get to Wal-Mart to buy a USB thumb drive and I need that information to be put into the laptop because, hey, you can't lug a desktop computer from home to plane to ship and back again a scant 4 months later.

Well, you can, but it's pretty darned complicated and inconvenient. Not to mention expensive, as my desktop insists on traveling business class. My laptop fits into the overhead compartment or under the seat with nary a word of complaint.

But anyway, this massive undertaking of data transference is my way of trying to keep up with the flow of traffic on the information superhighway,and failing miserably.

It has become a grudge race of sorts, technology zigging as I zag. I pull even with floppy disks, technology pulls away with diskettes. I recover the distance with diskettes and dial-up, technology burns rubber with CDs, thumb drives and DSL.

Even in my streamlined, lightweight laptop, I am forever Mario Andretti to technology's Al Unser in the Indianapolis 500 of technology, and there's no detergent strong enough to purge the tire tracks from clothes.

As I choke on the dust and the fumes in the wake of my latest futile chase, I am not deterred. My will remains strong, my resolve intact. I am not roadkill. Yet. But there are no winners in this race. One's best hope in the race with technology is to just keep up, or at least not fall too far behind.

We're in this together, me and my trusty laptop. At least until it's time to upgrade.
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