Old school at work and play

To put it mildly, I’m technically challenged. That may explain
why I still use a compass instead of a GPS unit, don’t re-load my
own rounds, rarely use a cell phone and have never sent a text
message, still wear wool in the deer woods and prefer a simple
canoe to a Bass Tracker and its 115-horse Mercury Optimax. In fact,
I proved that lately when we sold the bass boat and climbed into a
14-foot Radisson to explore the backcountry.

It’s pretty incredible, when I stop and think about it, that
I’ve lingered in the newspaper business this long. Keep in mind, I
started in the lead type era and have watched the technological
transition to the point where I now sit here in my home, punch a
few buttons and, with the help of some people much more skilled
than me, make New York Outdoor News every two weeks.

Paula, not surprisingly, plays a huge role in that. She does
know computers. She can handle the high-tech problems tossed our
way every once in a while. She does use all the features on her
cell phone, our digital cameras, video cam, her iPad and iPhone and
whatever other i-somethings she owns.

It’s kind of a standing joke now within the Outdoor
News community. When there’s a problem involving computers,
servers, Skype connection or anything along those lines, invariably
the office phone will ring.

“Steve, is Paula around?” my graphics guru/system administrator
will ask.

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“We’ll, she’s been having some computer issues and I wanted to
get back to her on it.”

“I’m offended you didn’t ask me. I could have gotten out my tool
and taken a look at it,” I reply. “Might just be the

You get the idea. When it comes to technical issues, they do an
end run around me.

And I actually appreciate it. In my mind, all I need is a
keyboard. Certainly it’s not that simple, but if I can type and
edit and make decisions as to what goes where each issue, that’s
enough for me. I make newspapers.

That mentality translates into the woods and on the water as
well. Sure, I have a few trail cams, but it’s usually Paula who
sets them up. I don’t have a fishfinder on the Radisson. I search
for brookies and lakers and landlocks the old-fashioned way: by
varying my trolling speed until I find the right depth. I don’t
mark waypoints on a GPS; I check my compass and trust it, and I’ve
never ended up on the front page of the local newspaper or on some
stretcher toted by the backcountry rescue folks. I wouldn’t think
of mounting an adjustable sight on my bow; adding a second pin was
a traumatic experience for me. Sure, I’ve gone to Gore-Tex waders,
do have a scope on one of my deer rifles (but a Williams peep on
the other), and I’m not insane when it comes to dealing with
blackflies and mosquitoes at the peak of the bug season – I’ll
lather up in DEET or kick on a Therma-Cell.

But by today’s standards, I’d be considered old school. And at
this stage of my work, hunting and fishing careers, that’s probably
not going to change.

Categories: New York – Steve Piatt

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