“I’m not a doctor. I just play one on TV.”

Well, it’s Halloween — the day for pretending to be someone or something else. I know all about that. For years, I wrote articles for a Web magazine geared to IT (information technology) professionals — you know, the ones you call at work when your computer freezes or e-mail is down or your laptop needs new software. And to their bosses — the ones who decide what systems to buy in the first place. The articles were about “mobile information servers” and “volume managers” and “securing VPNs” and once in a while a product you’ve even heard of, like Office XP or Adobe Acrobat.

It was a little like Robert Young presenting at an AMA conference. You see, I’m no techie. In some areas 10-year-olds have mastered, I’m downright technologically challenged, a functional illiterate, Mr. Ripley masquerading as someone who can relate to a tech-savvy audience. 

Considering I wrote more than a dozen of those articles, it was a mighty fine piece of acting (and I had a lot of coaching). Heck, I even interviewed the CEO of Symantec. At the time, I had never used a cell phone.

At my old job (over 8 years ago) I won the free use of a cell phone for a month. It stayed in my car untouched until I could happily give it back. I finally got my own cell phone 8 months ago — I can call people and they can call me, assuming I remember my number when they ask and can hear the phone ring in my purse. I had 400 minutes to use up in a year and still have 311 minutes left.  I have no clue how to text someone (if my phone could support it), or why I would want to. I don’t have a “Palm” except the ones in my hands or a “BlackBerry” unless I make cobbler (though one of the articles I wrote was all about mobile devices). I don’t even know how to program the VCR anymore — digital cable seemed to throw off the process.

But there’s hope. As of my birthday a few weeks ago, I own a nifty little MP3 player smaller and lighter than a pack of Tic-Tacs. I had to ask my husband just last month, “How do those iPods work?” So the fact that I now have an MP3 player and have actually figured out how to get music onto it bodes well that I may someday understand texting…or maybe even this paragraph from one of those tech articles I wrote back in 2001:

Pure IP environments are highly efficient in reducing routing hardware and software requirements, freeing up scarce network bandwidth by up to 30 percent, eliminating the need to support other client protocols and creating greater opportunity for remote connectivity. With pure IP support, administrators manage a single protocol delivering higher service levels without costly infrastructure upgrades.

Sometimes I wonder: Am I really a business writer, or do I just play one in real life?

There is nothing that gives more assurance than a mask.
                                                                     ~ Collette

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