Sheesh. Today, of all days.
My brother came to visit my mother today, with his kids in tow
(pretty sure Mom would've been terribly disappointed if he hadn't
brought them). My nephew, who loves playing with Mom's
computer, wanted to know how I made the signs he'd seen (just
selecting a huge sans-serif font in TextEdit), so while everyone
else was in the study I figured I'd whip up a wee demonstration
via screen sharing, thinking it'd be easier than trying to reach
over everyone in front of Mom's computer. Except, of course,
that as soon as the screen saver went away, my nephew was drawn
straight to his favourite toy here, and he started typing too.
He also launched his favourite program, Photo Booth, which meant
I could see what was going on in the room. When he left it
recording a video and started clowning around for the camera,
that gave me control of the keyboard and mouse again so I could
type something in TextEdit ... and of course, he assumed the
computer was talking to him, not his uncle talking to him via the
computer from another room. And my brother, whose sense of
humour has perhaps too much in common with our father's, our
gandfather's, and mine, apparently decided to run with his son's
first impression -- so I was waiting for him to catch on that he
was talking to me, and my brother was Not Helping him realize
Since my initial plan had been to print some signs for him, I
did print a few things. After that, whenever my nephew decided
he wanted a souvenir of what was on the screen, he would hold up
a piece of paper with the word "print" on it, and wave it in front
of the camera.
My nephew has not yet seen The Wizard of Oz, so my
"Pay no attention to the uncle behind the curtain" comment went
over his head.
Being able to see facial expressions but not hear voices, it
took me a while to realize just how confused he was (and that my
brother was trying to maintain that status), but then he started
testing the computer. "3x3=?", then, "What is my
mother's name?" and, "What kind of car does my dad drive?" I
was later told that at that point my brother said, "I don't think
the computer has any cameras on the outside of the house," and my
nepphew said, "It can access spy satellites or Google Earth."
Anyhow, my response of, "A small white one?" made an impression.
My typing his name in Greek letters apparently did as well. "Yia
Yia's computer is really smart!" and, "Look, Yia Yia taught her
computer Greek!" (Yia Yia is Greek for 'grandmother'.)
When we went out for a late lunch / early dinner, I was told
that Mom had been on the verge of explaining what was really going
on, but my brother stopped her. And Mom reminded me of the time
when I was about that age, and Dad convinced me that Martians
were finally answering my attempts to reach them by
walkie-talkie. (Right, like I'm ever gonna forget that
night -- yes, I was already thinking of the parallel.) When we
got back, before he would get into my brother's car for the ride
home, my nephew insisted on coming inside to "say goodbye to
Mac" first. (When he had asked the computer's name, I answered
with the name it shows up as for WiFi: BigShinyMac.)
So I got mistaken for an AI ... on Alan Turing's birthday.
Oy. At least I got mistaken for a smart one (even though I made
a few typos and could be seen backing up and correcting them).
I mentioned Turing, and (of course) got asked who that was.
So I wrote: "Watch this," highlighted his name, right-clicked,
and selected "Look up using Google", then clicked on the first
link that showed up. "Yia Yia's computer even knows how to use
Google, see? And it showed us an article about that guy. This
computer is really smart." (The idea there was to teach a useful
shortcut, in addition to answering the question.)
I need to figure out why text-to-speech was missing from the
Services menu before my nephew's next visit, don't I?