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If only I had a computer to shovel my driveway!

Can you imagine what life would be like without computers? I wake up in the morning and my digital clock tells me what time it is. It automatically sets the clock by a time signal that adjusts for daylight savings time.
My coffee pot is already brewing a fresh pot when I wander downstairs for breakfast.
I flip on an old radio and listen to the 6:30 news that brings me information about the region and the world.
My smart phone has recharged overnight and as I unplug it, the time is noted and any news flashes from a series of international papers are posted on the screen.
My inbox on the phone tells me that I have 36 messages that have arrived overnight.
There are no missed phone calls with call back numbers.
My smart phone has more power and memory than the laptop at home that was built in 2002.
I walk out to the garage and the garage door automatically rises. I start my vehicle and it goes through a battery of tests, checking the transmission, the oil levels, makes sure all the doors are closed, the tire pressures are good and my seat belt is on.
Any error and lights go on in the dashboard, or a constant gong goes off telling me a seat belt is not on. My mirror has “OnStar” that lets me call or gives alerts. If I turn the GPS on, it will track my short ride to work. So will my smart phone.
I walk through the door at the Fort Frances Times and on every desk is a computer. Most are up and running. They will be all running once the staff arrives. We have gone through hundreds of computers in the last forty years when the first computer started working in September 1972.
All weekend, a lone computer operated picking up CP and moving all the stories into the fifteen different files for reading. Another computer is watching folders to move photos and news pages onto our pagination system.
Overnight, pages came in from Atikokan and Rainy River, which were made ready for the press on other computers.
The cameras we use are full blown computers.
Everything that happens up until the paper passes through the press is connected to a computer.
Everyone on staff is connected through a network on their computers and our phone system is really a computer system as well.
Even the watch I wear has full-blown small computer packaged inside it that tracks, time, day, month and is a stopwatch as well.
On my desk is a laptop. It has a second screen attached. I am writing the column on the laptop screen while watching windows for email updates and late breaking news on the other screen. I claim that it is multi tasking. Probably as the screen carrying the news refreshes it catches my eye and see what has changed in the last two minutes makes writing slower as does the sound of new email arriving with a small gong.
At home the television has its own built in computer, as does iTV that can access the iTunes store.
That old laptop sits by a chair and I use it to research information as I watch television. My wife has an iPad that she uses all night long, doing puzzles and looking for information and entertaining her.
Most computers seem to fail over time or their operating systems become too old for new programs. They then are discarded.
Our old dependable washing machine now over 35 years of age is still a mechanical marvel. There are no computers in it. Maybe that is what has allowed it to work so long.
Now if only I had a computer to shovel away the snow that fell Monday night.

–Jim Cumming,