John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

In a technologically advanced workplace

This morning, in my office at Loyola University Maryland, I attempted to print from my desktop computer a handout for my editing class.

Though I had done so numerous times this semester, I got an error message. The printer, which is networked did not recognize that I was supposed to be connected to it.

I though for a moment to call the technical support office, but then I noticed that the telephone in the office was not working. Perhaps a coincidence, or perhaps an additional symptom of some network disruption.

I might have sent an email to the technical support office, but that was not possible. The Communication Department is housed in the bowels of a campus building in what used to be a swimming pool. There is no cellphone reception in the offices, which leaves me unable to use the two-factor authentication to sign in to my campus email.

In more than twenty years at Loyola, I have noticed that nearly every technical advance makes it just that much more difficult to get anything done.

I walked to my editing class and wrote the information for my students with chalk, on a chalkboard.

Some technologies are enduringly useful.

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