Friday, July 23, 2010

Teamwork and Technology

Richard learned laundry, cooking and cleaning long before I met him, so we generally share these tasks. Truth be told, we ignore many maintenance issues until our stuff starts to implode. Richard is into equipment of the mechanical kind, so this isn’t true of our vehicle maintenance for which Richard has a set of practical protocols. He understands that our tires and batteries are stamped with expiration dates for a reason; and one of his favorite sayings about oil changes, “Oil is cheap; engines are expensive,” sends him down the mountain to Mac’s every three thousand miles on either odometer.

Richard responds to rules and reason, two things that you just have to get past if you’re going to deal with toddlers, teenagers or technology. Using computers takes a lot of winging it, with which I am most comfortable. Richard’s relationship with technology is terribly tenuous, so I’m usually the technology support person in our home, no matter how little I know about the issues at hand. It seems only fair, since Richard handles maintenance on our vehicles because he has more understanding and interest in machinery than I do, that I handle technology tasks for the same reason.

My laptop had long-since died; Richard had reached a roadblock with the computer that he uses to continue his World War II Museum volunteer efforts started ten years ago, before the opening of the New Orleans attraction (then called the D-Day Museum). First, the Higgins Society built a full-scale working replica of an LCVP (like the one in Saving Private Ryan); next came the restoration of an LCS. Now, the society is working on rebuilding a PT Boat. Even with his aversion to technology, Richard’s dogged determination and attention to detail put him in the position of official archivist for the digitized blueprints and photographs of the Higgins Society’s projects.

At the time of our evacuation from New Orleans in front of Hurricane Katrina, we carried with us is the fruits of hundreds of hours that Richard spent on breaking down and indexing millions of megabites of graphics information. He continues these efforts from our house in the holler, but there are issues with coordinating volunteer input, especially from six hundred miles away. With different cameras and different people inputting information, the files Richard receives arrive in various digital formats with several degrees of resolution, all requiring their own sets of tricks to open and edit.

I can’t work with anyone looking over my shoulder, so I took the opportunity of laundry day with Richard down the mountain to take a look at our technology. We now have a new print head coming for our malfunctioning printer, and a new laptop is on the way for me. The computer that has been bogged down is now defragged and working, but the photo manipulation is still driving us insane, even after lots of downloads and false starts.

We may require a trip to New Orleans for real resolution and a food fix.