Until the Bridge is Built

Back when I started MMM, one of the ideas that drove me forward was that of mobile technology being an enabler for the parts of our society who were litereally being left behind. If you will, mobile could present a bridge towards a better sense and life of equality. Tonight, I realized again the cost of such a vision.

You see, tonight was day 2 of serving a friend of mine with some IT needs. She and the group she stays with shares a PC, an hold HP tower running Windows XP. It started as a simple follow-up on getting them a wireless router so that she could continue to use the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet that I gave her to continue her schooling. But, it ended up being a case of digging deep into IT knowledge that I have long forgotten, to remove viri, spyware, and create a computing environment conductive for a mother and her child to not fear random acts of software caused by various website visits.

I sat with my own PC tower nearby. I used it as a proxy to download some items to a memory key, to configure the wireless router correctly, and to troubleshoot issues with the person’s HP tower. I had my mobile there, and she had her’s, typing away at an outline for a paper that she’s been hankering to write, but without a suitable enough device to write it on.

The mobile gift was indeed helpful, but not enough for her to cross the bridge.

It took a few days. But, now the Trojans are off, the tower is mostly cleaned of mess, and there are now four user accounts on the PC, each with a password they do not share with one another. Hopefully, that plus Avast should help prevent issues in the near-term. There are still some Windows Updates to be done, and probably some lessons towards managing a computer in a household of that type. But, that’s not what I had thought that I signed up for. I was there to enable, not rebuild.

At least that’s what I thought a few days ago. As I left tonight, and the young woman ran to the PC to pull an all-nighter on a paper for a class that she really enjoys, I sensed that I was there to build a part of the bridge. Not to necessarly provide it, but to strengthen some parts of it that might have been weathered.

Back in the beginnings of MMM, I used to give away PDAs and smartphones with the idea that the gift of mobile would spark people to excell towards those areas they are gifted. I realize now that it has been them who have been a bridge for me, showing me the way to understand my own gifts, building and refining parts of the bridge for others to walk over into a better future.