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    L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise | The More Things Change……



    By L. Neil Smith

    It is absolutely astonishing to me how difficult it can be to change, sometimes, even when it becomes clear that it is now a dire necessity. Case in point. the keyboard of the big HP laptop computer I’m writing this on, for example, has begun to fail me, having survived, quite literally, an astronomical number of keystrokes (about half a megaSagan — each of my novels is about a million keystrokes, plus I have written hundreds of essays like this one on this device, plus assorted e-mail). Certain of the keys have either ceased to work altogether or have gotten quite stubborn about it, little things like p, 0, ), “, _, ?, and colons, and, increasingly, I have had to find awkward and tedious work-arounds (like stealing those characters from my earlier writings — say, last month’s) to express what I want to express.

    For an individual of my age (Hey, I’m only three years older than Mister Spock was when he first met James T. Kirk; everybody seems to be in their 70s nowadays), I am not particularly averse to change. Maybe that’s because I’ve always been an appreciator — and generator — of science fiction. I celebrate the United States Space Force, an expedition to Mars, and asteroid mining. I keep a .40 caliber Glock handy instead of a 1911 Colt or an E.A.A. Witness. I find it endlessly amusing to hear my wife and daughter in these days of Corona virus fascism, chatting merrily away on Skype or whatever they use, with friends and co-workers (one of whom I overheard discoursing on the proper makeup to use for teleconferencing) when only a decade ago, they shuddered at the very idea of videophones.

    Time doesn’t march, it gallops.

    On the other hand, I have a cute little wafer-thin Bluetooth keyboard right here that my wife generously gave me. I’ve also had a very nice blue Acer laptop for years that I’ve never really used. And I there’s a snazzy touch-screen tablet awaiting my attentions, with a magnetic keyboard, that was also a gift. And yet, somehow, I can’t seem to wrench myself away from the machine, with all of its many shortcomings, that I’m writing this column on, and I can’t figure out why for the life of me.

    Possibly it’s just because I see less and less well these days. I learned this HP keyboard back when my eyeballs still worked right. Now, with my nose all but touching  the keys, I’m forced to employ +4.0 diopter reading glasses (and sometimes +6.0), still lack satisfactory resolution, and my cataract surgery — _Shazbat!_ — doesn’t seem to have done me very much good. If that sounds like a whiny and pitiable excuse, I worry that it may well be. I’d rather not think of myself as “set in my ways”, the next-worst thing to being old — or dead.

    As a user, I don’t really demand very much of a computer. I just want to tell my stories and write my articles, and maybe peek occasionally at interesting stuff — you know what I mean — on the Internet, so I have no need for some kind of super-duper jim-crack whizz-bang system. These bloody things all think faster than I do, anyway, and have done for a long time. All of my work, its totality over the last decade or so. fits neatly on a single thumb-drive that stays plugged into the HP most the time and functions as my principal memory, but works perfectly in the Acer, as well. I don’t know yet how to transfer the same information to the tablet (no USB port) but I will learn and that’s not what’s stopping me. I guess I could have this computer repaired, but it would probably set me back as much as a new one.

    I doubt very seriously that anyone among you, my kindly friends and readers, writes as quite much as I do (about 2000 words, every single day — rain or shine, sick or well, the Robert A. Heinlein way, even on my birthday ans Christmas) or has worn out quite as many keyboards over the past forty-odd years as I have, but I’m more than willing to listen to any and all suggestions. I strongly suspect that what I actually need is moral advice, rather than technical. I’d also like to know whether this problem of mine is common or not.

    Questions? Comments?

    Award-winning writer L. Neil Smith is Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise and author of over thirty books. Look him up on Google, Wikipedia, and He is available at professional rates, to write for your organization, event, or publication, fiercely defending your rights, as he has done since the mid-60s. His writings (and e-mail address) may be found at L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise, at or at many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essay was originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. If you like what you’ve seen and want to see more, he says, ”Don’t applaud, throw money.“

    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal

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