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Grandmom learns new technology

Nov. 19, 2004

By MARION HIXON, entertainment editor

A couple weekends ago, I went to spend the night with my grandmother in Dallas. This is the grandmother who loves to do my laundry, always has food waiting when I arrive and listens to Regis Philbin's new album -- and who can go wrong with that?

First off, my grandmother recently got a laptop -- this was a huge step. Before that, she had an e-mail machine -- a small monitor and keyboard that only connects to the Internet and sends out e-mails. These machines make life a lot more simple by eliminating programs such as Microsoft's PowerPoint or Excel -- things we often can't live without.

I was showing her how to get around the laptop and log on to the Internet when she asks why her "home sheet" won't show up. "Your what? What's a home sheet?" I said. All of the sudden I realized she was talking about a homepage -- this is when I had to start suppressing the laughter.

Next, I saw she had Napster on her computer. Since downloading music isn't a completely foreign concept to her, I started explaining how she could go about buying a song and putting it onto a CD, although I would most likely do it for her. She understood, but at the end of my explanation, she asked, "Once I have all the songs I want, where do I put the tape?" Once again, I was befuddled. "What tape? A tape measure? Scotch tape? Or... oh, you mean, how do you record the music onto a cassette tape." Okay, I did laugh a little this time -- it was just too funny.

Not only were these small exchanges humorous, but they were telling how much we've progressed in technology not only since my grandparents' youth or our parents' youth, but even in the past 10 years. I won't go into the intricacies of Instant Messaging,, text messaging, e-mail and blogs -- but it sure seems hard to recall how the slow moving world functioned before all of this.

I can't remember the last time I purchased a cassette tape (either that, or I'm embarrassed to admit that it was an early '90s Michael W. Smith album). My grandmother and I stayed up until 1 a.m. that night (I know, an exciting weekend to say the least).

I was amazed at how we related and how she wanted to learn about something in which I was interested. It made me want to do the same for her -- and maybe teach her about the Internet at the same time.