I’m Finally Fishing!

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” — Chinese proverb

My Favorite Domer finally got tired of my inane questions yesterday and told me he was going to teach me how to fish.

This all started about a month ago, when I purchased a new MP3 to replace one that was barely limping along.

The new one didn’t come with a manual. Everything I needed to know — or so its advertisement claimed — was available inside the player itself.


Not particularly.

I’m more of a visual learner. I rather like wading through instruction manuals, testing out the features for myself and learning which buttons control which functions.

Not my son.

Give him a gadget, any gadget, and he’ll immediately start punching buttons, trashing “folders and stuff you don’t need,” hooking up accessories for immediate use!

So during the past month, any time I’ve had a question about Mr. MP3, I’ve wailed for my son: “What does this button do?” “How can I make it….?” “Why won’t it shut off?” Etc.

Yesterday he was on his computer when I had to beg for more help.

“Okay, mom, I’m going to teach you how to fish,” he said.

He sat at my computer, moved music from one folder to another, copied it to Mr. MP3, and said, “There you go — all done!”

And he left.

Realizing that he’d done the same thing for a month — and I wasn’t one bit wiser — I pulled out some CDs, ripped them to my computer, copied them to Mr. MP3, and organized them into category folders.

All. By. Myself!

Feeling all techy and smart by then, I told him that if you’re going to teach a man to fish, you need to know what his learning style is. Some of us can’t simply watch while our mentor puts a worm on a hook, tosses a line into the water, and reels in the catch-of-the-day.

We’ve gotta do it ourselves!

Planned obsolescence

Does anybody out there have the definitive answer to this one?

I’m wondering, is it better to:

a) leave your computer turned on and plugged in 24/7, or

b) turn it off and unplug.

I’m referring particularly to overnight, when you aren’t planning on using it for several hours and bad weather’s on the way.

The very night I posted my last blog, complete with photos of Spring foliage, we had a really wicked storm. Flashes of lightning, rain, and smacking thunderclaps — the whole ball of wax.

The weather forecasters had already predicted storms, so I turned off my computer and unplugged it, confident it would be safe from any jolt of electricity surging through the lines and wiping out my hard drive.

After all, something happened to my last computer’s motherboard, and I sure don’t want to go through that again!

Then I talked to one of my writer-friends, who said her computer-guru advised her to leave her machine on ALL the time.

Turning it on and off wears out the components, he said.


How long will a computer last if you don’t wear out its components?

I might be wrong, but it seems to me that everything you buy these days comes with “planned obsolescence.”

Cell phone — 2 years, same as your contract.

Laptop — 3 years, maybe.

Car — 5 years, or the amount of time it takes you to pay off your note.

Even light bulbs.

My mom’s house, for example, was built 40-odd years ago, and the workers put in new light bulbs, some of which have never been changed! Try to say that about today’s light bulbs!

So who knows the answer to my question about computers — turn off and unplug, or leave on and plugged at all times?