What 2020 Has Taught Me About Technology

I’ve always been a nerd. Let’s just get that right out into the open. Not “nerdy” — I had girlfriends and played sports, after all. I didn’t need glasses until my early twenties and I never once had to tape them if they broke. I am also proud to say I was never administered a swirly, nor was I ever stuffed into a locker. Yet I was a nerd, nonetheless. I was the guy who always took calculators apart, and I always regarded the blinking cursor of a DOS terminal as a hacking opportunity, although typing in made up commands never got me anywhere. But hey, I tried. Nothing could stop the whimsical nature of this nerd. I was always ready and willing to tackle any challenge, whether it was a new gaming rig or adding a media server to the network. Nothing could stop me.

Then, along came 2020.

Aside from a swirly, there is nothing more demoralizing to a nerd than a global pandemic. You are suddenly faced with the terrifying fact that you may have been a tad lax in preparing for this. No one ever expected you to stockpile toilet paper, hoard MRE rations, or build an underground bomb shelter in the backyard. What they DID expect, was for you to have enough HDMI cables on hand and an network infrastructure capable of supporting an avid online gamer, a wife who is suddenly video conferencing all day and a daughter that has Netflix running 24 / 7, even when she isn’t even home.

So I am keeping this log for my future self–assuming the little nerd in me doesn’t curl into the fetal position and do his equivalent of a metal BSOD before this is all over.

Notes To Future Self: In Case The Nerd In Me Dies In 2020

  1. Future Self, remember, there are holes in your WiFi coverage. Not many, and they are located in places of your house most people would never notice under non-apocalyptic conditions. But your wife and kids have found them all!–even the one in the attic, and that tiny dead space in the basement behind the water heater. I don’t know how or why, but they found them, and now they hate you.
  2. You switched online streaming services in late 2019. YouTube TV and Disney + are terrific! You put the new apps on every TV in the house–even your mother in law’s. Or did you? Maybe you forgot to add them to nana’s TV, and look, there she goes up to bed! She’s visited since 2019, right? Surely she has! I mean, I may have brushed off installing those apps because I had to mow the lawn or take an afternoon nap, but I would have circled-back and installed them–I’m sure of it. Forgetting such a thing would justify her disdain for me, after all.
  3. Being proactive, you updated all of your passwords to a new naming convention on January 1st. Having longer and more secure passwords to all of your streaming services, home network, and security cameras is the responsible thing to do. It would be un-nerdly not to do this on an annual basis. Future Self, never, ever, do this again.
  4. Remember the robot vacuum cleaner everyone liked so much in 2019? It’s so cool that you can program it to come on everyday and vacuum the entire house while everyone is away. Problem is, no one is AWAY anymore. If you’re looking for it, the Roomba is in the garage–somewhere.
  5. I have installed TeamViewer on Dad’s computer. He had issues getting into his AOL Favorites again. Why did I do this, you ask? Well, you don’t really know the look of true terror until an Outsider drives into a retirement community during a global pandemic. Old People are fast–and overall, very mean. They act as if merely gazing upon them will cause them to burst into flames. So yeah, we don’t need to physically go over there anymore. Besides, I think they deleted our security card access, not one hundred percent sure.

Fortunately for us, you have always been the type of geek that can quickly pick up on new technology. In addition to now being the Facilities guy that tends to everyone’s distance learning and work needs, you have become proficient in Mac OS and Chromebooks. You were right to think they are stupid Operating Systems, but you can no longer be just a Windows and Linux guy. You have to expand your skill sets and be ready for all possibilities going forward. Seems impossible right now, but I imagine you reading this in a future where network speeds are fast again, when the highlight of your day isn’t asking Alexa for a Chuck Norris joke, or tweaking your Nest thermostats because the temperature is never truly perfect anymore.

Anyway, I am retreating to the tiny bubble in the basement where no WiFi signal can penetrate. It’s the only place I am safe. I hope these tips have helped Future Me prepare for 2021 and beyond. I really look forward to travelling again. Not to the Caribbean or Scotland. I mean Best Buy or Micro center. I can picture it now, nerds emerging from the shadows, some clutching AMD processors, some hugging their NVidia graphics cards. Once bitter enemies, now friends in this brave new world.

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