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home : columns : columns May 24, 2016

4/23/2014 9:28:00 AM
Help from Duluth
Most of my family isn't too wild about appearing in print, certainly not for bad reasons, but even for good.
Likewise, I try not to bore you with family goings-on or boast - too much - about the sons, daughter or grandson. However, sometimes a dad not only feels proud, but definitely appreciative, when one of his own does something that the child dismisses as nothing, but the parent recognizes as a heavy load off the shoulders.
Yes, we become our parents all over again. Those things we did for our parents in our youth that seemed second nature and took barely a few minutes to accomplish, they were forever grateful because they didn't have the foggiest idea how to do them.
Enter 24-year-old son, Tim, closing in on completing his second year as an information technology (IT) employee - a computer tech guy - with Maurices' headquarters in Duluth. (I'll get to his snowy residence shortly.)
When he was home at Christmas and we were discussing the latest viruses making their way through the Internet, I suggested that it's high time we set up some sort of back-up for our computer.
We're a little slow - time-wise, although smarts-wise, too, when it comes to computers - in doing things that probably should have been done years ago. Tim quickly surmised that he could take care of that for us.
So, when he came home for Easter this past weekend, I actually had forgotten that we were going to do that, but he hadn't. He said he looked for an external hard drive at a couple of stores, but couldn't find what he was looking for. I said that I think iCitizen carried external hard drives and that I probably could get one there.
But then I said, "But you're home for only a few days. You won't want to spend your time setting up a back-up for our computer?"
"Oh, I'll just write a script for that. It'll take me all of about 10 minutes," he said.
Now, when he said "write a script," the only thing I could think of was the kind of script actors read, recite and act out. I knew that would take me years, but I was pretty sure he was talking about some sort of computer "script" jargon - which, if you're like me, would take me years to complete, even if I learned what I was doing.
Well, I picked up the external hard drive from iCitizen -
- insert commercial: "For all your computer needs - hardware, software, printers, flash drives, routers, not to mention repair and outstanding service - see the guys at iCitizen. They'll get your computer back into running shape or get you the part you need to make it run better, faster and safer." -
- and less than 10 minutes after Tim plugged it in, he was backing up our hard drive to the external hard drive.
"Now," he said, "I've put an icon in the middle of your desktop screen. Just click on that and follow the prompts and you can back up your computer whenever you want. I'd suggest once a month. Then unplug it from the USB and store it in your safe.
"This first time will take about an hour and a half. In the future, it will only rewrite the files that you've changed, so it will take probably a half hour."
Now, granted, Tim has a degree in management information systems from Bemidji State University. I've got a mass communications degree from Northwestern College - 30 years ago. While we're both working in communications, in a stretched sort of way - I talk to people and write stories; he talks to computers and writes scripts - I should have a little knowledge of what he's doing and he should have a little knowledge of what I'm doing.
The only trouble is, he does and I don't.
Needless to say, and I suspect most of you 50-something and older folks would agree, that we are thankful for bright, intelligent children who understand the ins and outs of 21st century technology. More than that, we're thankful they help us navigate it.
Still winter in Duluth
When Tim arrived home from Duluth Friday night, I asked him how much snow they still have there.
"It's up to my waist in our yard," he said. "It feels so good to be where it's warm."
He added that the ice is still plenty thick on Lake Superior. Reports indicate that the lake probably won't warm up until sometime in August, by which time fall will be setting in and the lake will begin cooling down again.
He's young and can more easily tolerate winters like this than his parents, but I can tell this extended winter is getting to him, too.
Here's hoping that fall in the Arrowhead Region will last a little longer in 2014 and winter in 2015 will be a little shorter. Aren't we all hoping that will be the case.

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