Technophobia, Technophilia, and Bicycles

Technophobia, Technophilia, and Bicycles

By Helen Cunningham, 3rd Year Environmental and Resource Sciences Major
A shorter version of this article was published 10/5/2005 in the California Aggie..

I am a technophobe. I admit it. Words like ?flash? and ?bits? and ?drive? make me uncomfortable. I will not always be writing this column.

Bits and Bytes is a column about technology. A new one will come out every Wednesday to bring you the latest in tech news: news about neat, shiny things, things that go fast or that are small. As the year goes on, it will also feature in-depth information to help you navigate Davis? technological straights: pointers on where to find an open computer on which to check your email, helpful tips for dressing up in-class presentations, practical suggestions for conducting research online. This is not that edition.

This week's column was spawned, inevitably, by the bikes. Coming home through Cuarto I have been weaving in and out of people walking to class or roaming the streets with a dazed, bewildered look in their eyes. It says they do not know where they are going. It says when they step off the curb, it is into a world of trouble.

In celebration of that look, one I have worn here at UC Davis concerning anything even mildly technical, this edition is about the basics. It's a ground-level overview of UC Davis? technological infrastructure, both for the kids who operate up there in the techie stratosphere and for those who stay well below it. I present to you two-and-a-half years of hard-won knowledge?it shouldn't take long to read.

For a student, MyUCDavis is the university cyberworld's buzzing, central hub. This is where you can access your email and view midterm scores. Do not, however, limit yourself, as important as those two things might be. Explore the wonders the tabs offer. You can get a copy of W-2 forms, plan your degree, contact an advisor, and configure auxiliary MyUCDavis pages to access news stories, local weather, or, for nerds like me, a Word of the Day feature: nifty!

MySpace is a curious thing. Located under ?My Tools? on MyUCDavis, it's a combination of Livejournal and a hollowed-out space in someone's bed, a public gallery and a secret stash that can be sent through time and space. Most importantly, it's a way to store information on the Internet, a vast improvement over emailing word documents to yourself. On MySpace, you can keep up to 55 MB of information in a private file, or you can broadcast it to the world, even distribute it among a group of MyUCDavis users selected by you. Download stuff. Make up a secret club. Whatever you want.

This Web site is pretty straightforward and already your friend, as you used it to register. When registration time comes again, you can find out what classes are offered? that and how many available seats they have. In the meantime, check your bill, pay it, review your transcripts, find out when your pass times are, or update information like your address and emergency contacts.

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See you at the bicycle roundabouts...