Geek Like Me

Lizzie recently turned 7 years old. She’s our youngest, but like her sisters, she couldn’t deny being my kid. Today, she proved that she’s a geek. And from me, that’s a big compliment. 🙂

Lizzie is home sick today, and Grandma is staying at the house with her while Donna and I are working. Donna gave Grandma her cellphone, because we no longer have a landline phone. (It went away when the DSL went away). Unfortunately, Grandma left the cellphone in the car, and I needed to get in touch with her, because the cable repair guy was coming over today.

Since she wouldn’t answer the phone, I figured I’d try to call her via Skype. Normally, I only Skype while I’m off at a conference or something, and Donna will connect us up so we can all talk. Today, however, Donna (Mommy) wasn’t there to initiate the connection, so I just hoped that Lizzie would hear the Skype ring, and figure out what to do. It took a few tries, but on the 3rd or 4th try, I saw her sluggish, yet smiley face looking back at me through the webcam.

“Hi Daddy,” she said.

“Hi sweety! Is Grandma there?”

“Yeah, she’s right there,” Lizzie pointed to the couch, out of the camera’s view.

I spoke to Grandma, and loved on Lizzie a bit, then disconnected. I was very impressed with her technical prowess, but what really struck me is that she was happy to figure out how to start the connection, but actually video chatting in real time wasn’t out of the norm for her. It’s still a big deal for me, and I’m a bit awed every time I use Skype — but for Lizzie, video chatting over the Internet is the “norm.”

My kids are going to be so much more comfortable with technology than I am. I’m certain someday my kids will look at me with the same nostalgic charm that I look at my parents’ generation and their blinking 12:00 VCRs…

16 thoughts on “Geek Like Me”

  1. Lizzy is awesome!

    Hope she feels better too.

    But really, what is the *point* of setting the time on the VCR/microwave/whatever? They don’t have battery back-up, so every time the power goes off–even or a moment–they have to be reset.

    It’s a waste of time!

  2. It’s great that your daughter is so technically savvy!

    The level of tech our kids grow up with is staggering. They make no distinction between online and face to face friends, take advanced computer technology and media production in high school, and can text message without ever removing their phone from its belt clip.

    My youngest is more geeky – he’s surpassed me in graphic software knowledge, provides Mac and network tech support to his brother, and is building his own gaming computer one lawn mowing job at a time. (Think Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time” and you wouldn’t be far off.)

    Neither has used Skype or video chat yet, though… their Powerbooks don’t have built-in webcams.

  3. She’s not a geek. She’s just a kid. That’s what kids do these days.

    As for the blinking 12:00, I always reset mine if the power went out. Otherwise, how would you tell the recorder to tape the show from 8:00 to 9:00? I mean, that’s what a recorder is for!

  4. I don’t worry about blinking 12:00, I never record. Almost anything I really like is or will be on DVD, so I just buy it when I want. And each new generation absorbs the technology that becomes the norm at that time.

  5. I was an early adopter of VCRs. I had my first one in 1978. I remember saying when I got it that there were two reasons I wanted it. Three’s Company was on opposite another show (can’t remember what) and I wanted to watch both of them. The other reason was that I wanted to go out on Saturday night, so I would watch Saturday Night Live Sunday morning on tape.

    That VCR was before electronic timers and electronic tuners. It had 2 clunky knobs you had to turn, one for VHF and one for UHF. The timer was a clock that the VCR was plugged in to, that turned the whole VCR on and off.

    I just felt like showing off what a dinosaur I was.

  6. Your proud now but wait until you start getting a subscription to 2600 showing up at the house. You will have to figure out which kid is putting on the black hat by checking who is uploading the most code to source forge!

    The day will come when one of your kids will call you a noob lol.

  7. Tom, I don’t watch TV, unless it’s WVU Football or a big parade. The only reason we have Dish TV is for my grandmother.

    So again, why bother? Especially considering how often the power goes off, even for just a second.

  8. I am constantly amazed at how easy our children “get” technology. When ours started school, THEY showed their teacher how to use a Mac…she had only ever used windows…and they start school here at 4 (3 1/2 for my youngest). While they might lack in PC knowledge, and still cannot use windows, they love their Macs! I love to sit and watch them use Illustrator and Photoshop. The 12 year old was helping me with Quark the other day…he was teaching me!

    A “way to go” being shouted out to your Lizzie!

  9. Everything that exits when you’re born is part of the natural world. If it’s invented before you’re 20 it’s new and exciting and you probably can get a good job with it. Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of the world. – to paraphrase Douglas Adams twice in one day on the same blog.

  10. Same here. I talk to my brother and various other relatives on a Messenger video call each weekend, the kid wanders by, waves disinterestedly, and keeps on going. Video phones? Yeah, so? Haven’t we always had those?

    Microwave clock? Who cares? Coffee pot clock – very very important.

    Don’t have a VCR (well, I do but it’s on a self in the store room). I’ve got a DVR HD Cable box – which gets a timing signal from the Cable company. Hell, I don’t even know if its clock can be set manually.

  11. Tom (et al) is right – these bits of technology are just part of their natural world. My boys are nonplussed by the fact that I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was 24, and even then it was one of those clunky bag-phones that you had to plug in to the cigarette lighter.

    But elsest son had something to say the other morning when Youngest Son asked if we could buy Cookie Crisp cereal, and I mentioned that Cookie Crisp was my favorite when I was his age (seven). Eldest Son looked completely shocked and said, “Wow, they had Cookie Crisp way back then?

    Cell phones and laptops and iPhones – ubiquitous. Cookie Crisp, now, that’s something special…


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