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Technology Has Arrived On My Doorstep

Here's another technological breakthrough – for me, at least.

I was the first in the company to have a personal computer. It was in the late '80's, and it was an old KayPro. It came in a metal case, and they shoved them out so fast that they put the wrong covers on some machines. A machine that said KayPro might really be a KayPro IV.

I no longer had to use a typewriter. But when we got ready to send something, anything, as in send a story to our office in Chicago, it was a 20-step process. It usually entailed a call to John Otte in Des Moines to see what I was doing wrong. And when it finally worked, which it did maybe one time in four or five, I felt like breaking out champagne, except I didn't drink.

So my first experience in computers set me back a ways. It took a while to warm up to the idea again, even though the technology improved at lightning speed.

I finally got a cell phone in 1992. Really it was an old bag phone, or car phone, and I only got it because my wife didn't know where I was for four hours one Saturday afternoon and was, well, not happy. The first time I saw someone with a hand-held cell phone that fit in a pocket, I was at a farm auction. I still remember it because I couldn't imagine what it was.

So I've trucked along with a flip phone for years. I finally figured out how to read texts, but not send them. The Facebook and Twitter concepts were mysteries to me, and still aren't on my top 10 inventions of technology list.

Finally, about two months ago, when the flip phone flipped its last and split into two pieces, I decided it was time to try a smartphone. My daughter guided me at the store. She's a senior in high school this year. She was born well after I junked my first bag phone.

She steered me away from the iPhone 4S because she said I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. I ended up with the iPhone 4. And she insisted I buy an Otter case. Seeing where my phones have ended up before that was a good idea.

Now here's the real breakthrough. I'm learning to text! I've even surprised my daughter with my dexterity, well, more or less.

Two weeks ago, I started a week long process of sitting up an interview, and a chance to ride on his cover crop applicator, with Mike Shuter, Frankton, Ind., and it was completely by text. We had to schedule around the Farm Progress Show, so it meant going back and forth several times, all on text, before pulling off the visit. He even sent directions by text. I showed up in his barnlot before we had ever spoken or emailed a word to each other.

Maybe you're not impressed, but I am. I've finally arrived on the cusp of this generation. Technology had gone farther than I've gone yet, but I've certainly come a long way from a KayPro!

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