THE COVER STORY of this issue focuses on technology, and it got me to thinking about how much we now live in a techno world. From financial services to shopping to meeting planning, technology is having an impact on every aspect of our lives. So, I figured it was time for me to jump into the 21st century and revise my old habits in a modify-or-die world. It was time I grabbed the bull by the keyboard and faced the situation.

I decided to update my computer to make it faster and stronger than ever before. If science can make the Six Million Dollar Man, I could certainly build a computer for substantially less. I upped my gigabytes and recharged my RAM. I upgraded my downloads and downloaded my upgrades. I had the computer doctor build a leaner, faster processing machine to aid in my daily tasks. I did this because my old computer passed away.

During the recent holidays, my computer became ill and in a fit of cyber-depression, committed data-cide. It is not a pretty sight when a computer decides that the world just isn't worth booting up for any more. There must come a time when the CPU says to the rest of the components, “You're on your own now, kids. I'm going on a permanent hibernation.” And so the windows closed forever on my office mate. He heaved one last sigh of his hard drive and soon the computer screen turned blue as pixels flooded from the open disk drive and spilled onto the floor.

I rushed my CPU to the ICU but the technician in charge told me that I was too late. Then he said something that really hurt, “You have everything backed up, don't you?” Darn, I knew there was something I was supposed to do. I really had intended to back up all of my important files but I got busy and procrastinated…for a year. Now I am up laptop creek without a paddle.

My computer got a new artificial heart and lungs, but it has amnesia and doesn't remember a damn thing. I tried to reconstruct as many files as I could, but to be honest, my memory is also exhibiting some black holes. So I had to start from scratch and I am a better person for it.

Since that life altering experience, I have dedicated my life to learning more about technology. If someone asks me “Do you Yahoo?” I want to be able to answer “You bet I do!” I want to know my computer backward, forward, and inside out. I want to be able to fly through cyberspace on the wings of a mouse and maneuver in my mainframe like Mr. Spock after 10 cups of cappuccino. As of this writing, I am proud to announce that I have become quite accomplished. I am PowerPointing at some things and Exceling at others. My spreadsheets are spreading nicely, and my databases are full of data. Even my word processing has soared to new levels, thanks to my newfound expertise in the use of spill chucker. I am back up and running, my friends, and loving every minute of it.

Dale Irvin is a professional speaker who has a free gift for you. To receive his weekly e-mailed recap of the events of the world, send your e-mail address to Then, check your e-mailbox every Friday for Dale Irvin's Friday Funnies. For booking information, contact Ruth Levine at Speak Inc. (858) 457-9880.