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Gradually joining Digital Age

April 8, 2012
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

There was no technology for digitally sending my columns when I first started writing them almost 18 years ago. I was writing on a big, bulky Brother word processor and sending them in by fax after printing on paper at home. It was a long, arduous process compared to the easy copy and paste from my computer I now do.

The column then had to be retyped by someone else who was physically at the newspaper and put in their system so it could be printed up because I was working from home.

Initially I didn't have a website either, but a dear friend back in Cleveland offered to set up a website for me on his financial website. He wanted something light to balance out against the hard facts of investments. Now, my site has become a stand-alone and I get responses from people all over the country.

From the Brother word processor, I eventually transferred to a PC, which I got through my friend Dave at Fulton Computer on Main Street, Gloversville. He set me up with a special rollerball mouse for the computer because of my difficulties, and then I went to a voice control system when my hands were affected by the MS to the point where I could not operate the computer's rollerball and keyboard anymore.

Dave suggested Dragon Dictate and even had one of his staff show me how to train the software program to recognize my voice and showed me how to navigate spacing, punctuation and grammar controls.

When Dragon Dictate started making so many mistakes due to my weakened voice that it was too frustrating to use, I began to dictate my column to either my aides or Herman. Then, when I needed to rest out of the wheelchair I even got to dictate to an aide or Herman using a laptop, which could then email the column to my desktop computer email program that has all my email lists for recipients of the column who live out of town.

The newest phase of the operation comes by way of Apple since Herman got an iPad2 with a snap-on keyboard. It is so small and portable, I am amazed by all it can do with the touch screen. I have to observe Herman operating the touch screen and keyboard, as I am unable to type on it either.

As with so much in my life, it's very difficult to have to observe things happening around me instead of making them happen myself.

However, I still direct what is typed in the column and get to read any responses that are sent to me by you readers, so keep them coming.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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