News Articles
Written for the
Pride of Rochester

May 2002 Article
Have you crossed the Bridge
over the Digital Divide?

Welcome to "Tech Talk Made Simple."  Whether you use computers daily, you've been strongly thinking about purchasing a computer, or you're saying to yourself, "Hey, what's all the hype about anyway," this is the place for you. 

Here at "
Tech Talk Made Simple," I will try to help clarify many questions you may have concerning computers and technology in a way in which you'll be able to understand.

The topic for the month is
" Have you crossed the Bridge of the Digital Divide?

Over a decade ago, there was great concern that people did not have access to computers. It was perceived, that computer technology would be the greatest thing to help enhance the way we communicate.  Among all the existing barriers and disparities that minorities face, we would be at a greater disadvantage if there weren't an effort to help "Bridge this Digital Divide" that would exist. Let's take a look and see if technology "has" or even "is" shaping our day-to-day life, in what could be a real life situation.

Over a decade ago, there was great concern that people did not have access to computers. It was perceived, that computer technology would be the greatest thing to help enhance the way we communicate. 


Among all the existing barriers and disparities that minorities face, we would be at a greater disadvantage if there weren't an effort to help "Bridge this Digital Divide" that would exist. Let's take a look and see if technology "has" or even "is" shaping our day-to-day life, in what could be a real life situation.

It's Saturday morning, you wake up at 7 am thinking of all the things you need to accomplish by the end of the day.  You wake the kids, everyone gets dressed, and you load
the car and by 9 am, you're on your way.

By 9:30, you're at the bank because you forgot to go the day before and you need some cash.  You get to the branch and there's a LONG line inside and at the drive up teller.  Thankfully, you remember you have a debit or credit card and you pull up to the
Metro teller to withdraw the money you need.

Now, it's 3pm and you still have to get to Wal-Mart and all of a suddenly voices are attacking you from the rear, "Ma" (or DAD of course), WE'RE HUNGRY!!  Right then you remember you forgot to stop somewhere and buy breakfast and lunch, you zip your car through the nearest Burger King.  As you're asked what you'd like to order, your items and the amount due are
displayed on a screen.  No more trying to add up your order to check for accuracy before you hand over your cash (if you know what I mean). 

Now the kids are "somewhat content" as you enter into Wal-Mart on a BUSY Saturday afternoon. You realize you're not sure how to find the items you need and all the sales associates seem to be busy with other customers.

You notice a display area that will help you locate store items, and you decide to give it a try.  The
touch screen and display are user friendly and in no time you find where to locate your items.  Now, its time to check out and every cashier check out line is even longer than the lines you experienced at the bank.  While you dash in and out of the lines trying to find the shortest one, you look up and there seems to be a check out line that's open, with no cashier and no lines!  Well, you're tired and the kids are trying to convince you to purchase the latest and greatest Dreamcast Video Game, so in your anxious state to get home, you decide to give this robotic cashier a try.

As you approach, a touch display screen instructs you how to use this check out line.  You scan your items, insert your money into the machine and your change is dispensed. A process which could have taken anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes, has now taken 5 to 10. (Plus the kids had fun helping you with this cashier less process). You walk out the store feeling not only triumphant, but empowered having overcame your fear to try out this new type of technology. Ladies and Gentlemen, you have experienced technology that did not exist 10 years ago. 

Technology is not just whether or not you have a computer, Internet access, a cell phone, pager, fax machine, palm pilot, dream cast and many other items classified as technology.  Technology is the evolution of learning how to use the Latest and Greatest Computerized Gadget that should help improve the things we do in our lives.

Bridging the Digital Divide is no longer whether or not you have a computer or Internet access.  You can go to your local library, community center, and church or to a friend or family member's house to do that. 
In 2002, Bridging the Digital Divide is now looking within yourself to overcome your personal fears of "What is this gadget?" "How do I use this new gadget?" or "Where can I go to learn more about these new gadgets?"

Here in Rochester and in many cities around the country, there are collaborated efforts to make computer technology, Internet access, and many of these new gadgets available to each and every one of us. 
The first thing you must realize is that computers and these new gadgets are just large and small paperweights if you do nothing to use them.

Next months topic, "Using your PC for more than just a Paper Weight"


Email any questions or topics you would like discussed to: mstech@detajenterprise.com