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0755 Rejecting Newer Technology

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 755: Rejecting Newer Technology.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 755. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

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This episode is a dialogue between Darlene and Chris about someone who doesn’t like new technology. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Darlene: Thanks for agreeing to take a look at my computer. It’s been acting up lately.

Chris: Sure, I don’t mind. Is this it?

Darlene: Yeah.

Chris: How long have you had this computer? It looks like it belongs in the ice age.

Darlene: I admit it’s a little dated. I must be one of the last holdouts in switching to a newer model.

Chris: What are you waiting for? It seems to me that all of your computer problems would be solved if you spring for a new one.

Darlene: I have a lot of old programs on this computer that aren’t compatible with the newer models. I’m kind of attached to them.

Chris: They probably aren’t compatible because there are now better, more efficient programs that have overtaken the ones you currently use. Your programs are probably obsolete. Which programs are they? Maybe I can show you how to use the newer versions.

Darlene: Well, there’s one particular program…

Chris: Yes?

Darlene: It’s a game I like to play.

Chris: You’re refusing to buy a newer, better computer just because you’d have to give up a game?

Darlene: It’s a really fun game and I’m keeping this computer until they make a version for the newer computers.

Chris: Okay, but you know what they say: live by the sword, die by the sword.

Darlene: So you won’t help me fix my computer?

Chris: I’ll try, but I’m telling you now. It’s a lost cause.

[end of dialogue]

Darlene says to Chris, “Thanks for agreeing to take a look at my computer. It’s been acting up lately.” The verb “to act up” is a two-word phrasal expression meaning to behave or operate badly in a way that you don’t expect or that isn’t doing what you want it to do. If your computer is running slowly, or certain programs aren’t working the way they should, we might say that your computer is acting up. There are several other meanings of this expression; look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Chris says, “Sure, I don’t mind. Is this it?” Is this your computer? Darlene says, “Yeah.” Chris says, “How long have you had this computer? It looks like it belongs in the ice age.” The “ice age” is a very cold period of history, approximately 20,000 years ago, when much of the Earth was covered with ice and snow. However in this conversation, it’s used to describe something that is very, very, very old. We might also say the “stone age,” meaning a long, long time ago.

Chris wants to know how long Darlene has had this computer. Darlene says, “I admit it’s a little dated.” Something that is “dated” here means out of date, not modern, very old, something that is not what you would find nowadays. Darlene says, “I must be one of the last holdouts in switching to a newer model.” A “holdout” (holdout – one word) is someone who is the last person to change, someone who doesn’t want to agree to something or doesn’t want to accept something. A “holdout” would be someone or some organization that resists changing; everyone else is changing but they will not. Darlene says that she must be one of the last holdouts in switching to a newer model. “To switch” means to replace or exchange one thing for another, to buy something new in this case. A “model” (model) here means one particular design of a machine. With computers, there’s usually a new model of your computer – your kind of computer – every year. If you own an Apple computer the Apple computer you buy in 2012 will not be the same, often, as the one you bought in 2011 or 2010; there are newer models – newer types.

Chris says, “What are you waiting for? It seems to me that all of your computer problems would be solved (you wouldn’t have them anymore) if you spring for a new one (a new computer).” “To spring for (something)” means to pay for something; it’s an informal way of saying to buy or to pay for – “to spring for (something).” “Spring” has a couple of other meanings in English as well; once again, look at the Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Chris wants Darlene to buy a new computer. Darlene says, “I have a lot of old programs on this computer that aren’t compatible with the newer models.” “To be compatible” (compatible) means that you can use it with something else, often referring to hardware and software, when we say this software is compatible with the new software, even though it’s a new operating system. For example you go from Windows XP to Windows 7, you want to know if your software – your programs – will be compatible. Will they work? More generally, the adjective “compatible” refers to two things or two people who will get along well together. Some people end a relationship because they decide they are not compatible with the other person, or because the other person forgot her birthday and now she’s upset and if he had only called her she wouldn’t be angry. See?

Well, Darlene is worried about the compatibility of her computer software. She says that she is very attached to her computer programs. “To be attached to” here means to like something very much; you don’t want to get rid of it. “I’m very attached to my old television.” I like it very much. You can attach something to something else. You can attach, for example, a file to an email, but here the verb means to like something: “I’m very attached to (something).” So Darlene doesn’t want to buy a new computer because she’s very attached to some programs that won’t be compatible with the new computer and its new operating system, which is the software – the general software, we could call it, that the computer uses.

Chris says, “They probably aren’t compatible because they’re now better, more efficient programs that have overtaken the ones you currently use.” “To overtake” (overtake) means to go past something, to become better or more successful than someone or something else. “The team began winning more games and they overtook” – notice the past tense – “overtook the opposing team (the other team that they were playing).” Well, Chris is saying that the computer programs that Darlene has are probably better now, they have new versions that are better so she doesn’t really need to worry about compatibility, she just needs to get the new programs – the new software programs. Chris says, “Your programs are probably obsolete.” “To be obsolete” (obsolete) means they are no longer useful because there is something else that can do the same thing better now. Some people say that cassette tapes are obsolete because we have things that are better now, like CDs and DVDs and MP3s. Although, one thing I liked about the old cassette tapes is that when you stopped listening to a song the tape would stay right there and you could go back to start right where you were before. With a CD, of course, you can’t actually do that, at least you can fast forward or rewind, but you understand what I’m saying. So maybe cassette tapes aren’t obsolete after all. I still have a whole box of them in my closet.

Well, Chris thinks that Darlene’s software programs are obsolete. He says, “Which programs are they? Maybe I can show you how to use the newer versions (the newer kinds of that software).” Darlene says, “Well, there’s one particular program…” Chris says, “Yes?” Darlene says, “It’s a game I like to play.” Chris says, “You’re refusing to buy a newer, better computer just because you have to give up a game?” “To give up (something)” or “to give (something) up” means to decide you no longer can use it or you can no longer do that. “I’m going to give up smoking.” I’m going to stop smoking. I don’t actually smoke, so that’s just an example. “I’m going to give up talking about cats.” I talk about cats all the time, you know I love cats, but maybe I’ll give up talking about them – probably not, though.

Chris is saying that Darlene doesn’t want to buy a new computer because she doesn’t want to give up a game that she plays on her old computer. Darlene says, “It’s a really fun game and I’m keeping this computer until they make a version for the newer computers.” Chris says, “Okay, but you know what they say: live by the sword, die by the sword.” A “sword” is a long, sharp instrument; it’s a weapon that you hurt or kill someone with. It’s like a big knife, you could call it. There’s an expression “live by the sword, die by the sword,” which originally, I believe, appeared in the Bible. It means that the way you choose to live affects what happens to you in the future. Usually you’re telling someone that if you are going to act that way eventually you are going to be hurt by your actions. If you always criticize other people, and then some day someone criticizes you and you’re hurt by that, we could say, “Well, live by the sword, die by the sword.” You did that sort of thing and now you are suffering from that same action.

Darlene says, “So you won’t help me fix my computer?” Chris says, “I’ll try, but I’m telling you now. It’s a lost cause.” A “lost cause” (cause) is something that cannot succeed no matter how hard you try; you can try doing it but you will not be successful. You will lose, if you will, and hence, or therefore, it’s a lost cause.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Darlene: Thanks for agreeing to take a look at my computer. It’s been acting up lately.

Chris: Sure, I don’t mind. Is this it?

Darlene: Yeah.

Chris: How long have you had this computer? It looks like it belongs in the ice age.

Darlene: I admit it’s a little dated. I must be one of the last holdouts in switching to a newer model.

Chris: What are you waiting for? It seems to me that all of your computer problems would be solved if you spring for a new one.

Darlene: I have a lot of old programs on this computer that aren’t compatible with the newer models. I’m kind of attached to them.

Chris: They probably aren’t compatible because there are now better, more efficient programs that have overtaken the ones you currently use. Your programs are probably obsolete. Which programs are they? Maybe I can show you how to use the newer versions.

Darlene: Well, there’s one particular program…

Chris: Yes?

Darlene: It’s a game I like to play.

Chris: You’re refusing to buy a newer, better computer just because you’d have to give up a game?

Darlene: It’s a really fun game and I’m keeping this computer until they make a version for the newer computers.

Chris: Okay, but you know what they say: live by the sword, die by the sword.

Darlene: So you won’t help me fix my computer?

Chris: I’ll try, but I’m telling you now. It’s a lost cause.

[end of dialogue]

There’s nothing dated or obsolete about the language you hear in our dialogues; that’s because they’re written by the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to act up – to behave badly; to behave or operate in an unexpected way that does not meet one’s needs

* Lately, the toaster has been acting up, burning the bread because it doesn’t pop up automatically.

ice age – a very cold period of time approximately 20,000 years ago when most of Earth was covered with ice and snow

* The walls of this cave have some interesting drawings from the ice age.

dated – out-of-date; not modern; relating to the past and no longer fashionable

* Their kitchen is really dated, with bright orange countertops and green appliances.

holdout – a person who is very stubborn and one of the last people to do something, agree to something, or accept what another person is offering

* The power company can’t build its new line until the last few holdouts agree to sell their property.

to switch – to exchange or replace; to buy or get something new to replace something older

* When are you going to switch from your old camera that uses film to a new digital camera?

model – one design of a machine, often updated each year

* The new model of this car has more comfortable seats.

to spring for – to pay for something; to cover the cost of something

* Let’s spring for dessert. After all, we’re supposed to be celebrating!

compatible – able to be used with something else, especially referring to hardware and software that can communicate with each other

* Is this program compatible with the Windows operating system?

attached to – liking something very much, not wanting to get rid of it or not have it, often for no reason; feeling an emotional connection to something

* That chair is more than 15 years old and has a few holes, but Derek is attached to it and won’t let his wife get rid of it.



to overtake – to go past something; to become better or more successful than someone or something else

* Farms that use genetically modified seeds have overtaken more traditional farms in terms of the amount of food they can produce.

obsolete – no longer used or useful because something else can now do something better or faster

* Some people don’t agree that records are obsolete and prefer them to CDs and MP3 files.

version – a copy of a document, software program, or design that has been changed slightly to make it different but similar to the previous one

* Here’s the second version of the annual report. Please review it and let us know if you find any typos.

to give up – to decide to no longer have or do something that one likes

* When Ashley decided to lose weight, it was really hard for her to give up cookies and ice cream.

live by the sword, die by the sword – an expression originally in the Bible, used to mean that the way one chooses to live affects what happens to one in the future

* Xavier has never donated money to any nonprofit groups, so why did he think they’d suddenly rush to help him when he needed it? As they say, live by the sword, die by the sword.

lost cause – something that cannot succeed, no matter how much effort one puts into it

* Trying to get that old car to run again is a lost cause.

Comprehension Questions
1. What’s wrong with Darlene’s computer?
a) It isn’t operating correctly.
b) It won’t turn on anymore.
c) It is really ugly and loud.

2. What does Chris mean when he says, “It’s a lost cause”?
a) He won’t be able to fix the computer.
b) It will be very expensive to fix the computer.
c) The computer parts he needs will be very hard to find.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to act up

The phrase “to act up,” in this podcast, means to behave badly or to behave or operate in an unexpected way that does not meet one’s needs: “Bryan’s car started acting up last week, so he needs to take it to a mechanic.” The phrase “to act out” refers to people behaving badly, especially children who want to get more attention: “The teacher called again to say that Hannah is acting out in class, distracting the other students.” The phrase “to act (something) out” means to dramatize an event or to show how something happened: “Every December, the children in the church act out the birth of Jesus.” Finally, the phrase “to act on” means to do something based on the information or advice one has received: “The politicians say they’re acting on the information in the economist’s report.”

spring

In this podcast, the phrase “to spring for (something)” means to pay for something: “Jules was really surprised when her father sprung for a pony.” The phrase “to spring up” means to appear suddenly or to begin to exist: “Coffee shops are springing up all over town.” The phrase “to spring (something) on (someone)” means to surprise someone by telling him or her something very unexpected: “How could you just spring the news on your parents like that? You should have prepared them first for what was coming.” Finally, the phrase “to spring a leak” means for a boat or container to suddenly have a hole that water is coming through: “Our boat hit a rock and sprung a leak.”

Culture Note
Classic Video Games

Pong is one of the “classic” (traditional; one of the first of something and still admired) video games. Released in 1972, it was based on a tennis game. Pong doesn’t have any “fancy” (elaborate, with a lot of detail) modern “graphics” (electronic images). The “screen” (the rectangular, flat piece that shows electronic images) “displays” (shows) two simple “paddles” (a flat piece of wood or plastic used to hit balls back and forth in a game). A small “icon” (computer image) representing a ball “bounces” (jumps off of) between the paddles, which can be moved with the “keyboard” (the set of buttons used to enter information into a computer). The players earn points each time the other player is not able to hit the ball back.

Pac Man, released in 1980, requires moving a small icon through a “maze” (a design with many paths to reach a destination) to eat other small icons to earn points while avoiding being eaten by “ghosts” (spirits). Pac Man was very popular and has “grossed” (earned from sales) more money than any other video game.

Frogger is another classic game with simple graphics, “albeit” (but; although) more elaborate than the graphics in Pong. In Frogger, which was created in 1981, the player needs to move the icon of a frog to its home at the top of the screen. The frog must cross a busy street without getting hit by cars, and cross a river by jumping onto moving “logs” (fallen trees) without falling into the water. The player “progresses” (moves forward) through levels of increasing difficulty as the cars and logs begin to move more quickly.

These classics have been updated many times, and modern versions can be found online and in video “arcades” (buildings with many machines for playing video games).

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - a