published 2022-04-16 19:58

updated 2022-04-16 19:58

I'd always known my Mother played an important role in the stewardship of our community, but it took me a long time to understand what exactly she did. She worked with computers, which was rare for community leaders. Nomads were the most well known computer users, but they didn't stay long after they had dropped off data packages. There were extractors, who worked on these data packages that came from other tribes. Some of our extractors even created their own software! Nomads always seemed so happy to get specially packaged data from one of our extractors, I couldn't help but smile. My Mother was not an extractor, she had never been an extractor. Some shepherds maintained computers, mostly as an esoteric hobby. Most computers, if they were good computers, simply kept to themselves, and if they were particularly exceptional, could do so for nearly 20 years.
Most of them didn't last that long. Most of them required replacements or service every few years. Sometimes, we couldn't repair them or replace them. It was always stressful for my Mother, when this happened, replacing machines isn't always possible. Even though new computers were found all the time, cleaning them, inspecting them and then discerning if they were even capable of being repaired was an arduous process. I don't consider the people a part of that process to be working with computers. They're archiologists, some merely specialize in computer archelogy.
I think my Mother was one of these people, but now she spends all her work time with them on, looking at screens.
When an archiologist finds a computer they believe can be salvaged, they hand them over to operators, who figure out how exactly to do the repairs. These folk do work with computers, but mostly with the screen off. It is a great joy for operators to be able to turn the screen of a particularly old machine on. Normally these are also given to the nomads to bring to those in need. They do also get used for repairs of our own machines though.

It took me a long time to learn, that she inherited from a specific school of computing. Part archiologist, part extractor, part operator, and part sheperd, it is still taught to those who show particular interest in all aspects of the machines. But their role is different. They manage our entire network. All the machines in our community, all 153 of them, are under the guidance of these folk. They guide our machines, as our machines guide us. Or something like that?