Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,

Lights flashed on the tower, tablets and mouse.

The Webcams were ready, installed with great care.
In hopes that grandkids would be virtually there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of computer games danced in their heads;
Mamma in her rocker, a tablet on her lap.

To check Santa’s route on Norads’ tracking map.
Last minute shopping, I knew it would matter,

Receipts from the printer were spit with a clatter.

The e-mails and texts began to beep and flash,
Away to the laptop I flew in a dash,
An e-mail from Santa, I pulled from the cache.

The sleigh was loaded, the springs sitting low
Boxes of computer games, only kids know.

RollerCoaster Tycoon for Tommy, and Yooka-Laylee for Sue,

Xbox, Wii, Playstation and Nintendo too.

Neither Mamma nor I had Santa forgot,

A 4G smartphone and Alexa in the lot.

From a dronecam flying some far away place

An image so small, across the screen it did race.

What could it be I wondered, what would appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
I toggled the volume and turned it up loud

As his digital facade flew over the clouds

At the speed of Moore’s law his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dell! Now, Gates! Now, Jobs and Wosniak!
On, Bezos! On Ellison! On, Hewlett and Packard!
To the top of the toolbar! The top of the screen!

Now pixels are changing, amazed by it all!

The picture expanded as closer he drew

His exact location surely only he knew.

But Google Street view offered a hopeful clue.

Just a click of the mouse, our house was in view.

With the sleigh full of downloads, upgrades and such

St. Nicholas too, might it be just too much?
The broadband was humming the router secure

A shiny new computer I’m sure will allure

Firewalls open for the jolly red elf.

Presents are coming, surely some for myself.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

A mystery for sure I pondered aloud.

Could Santa be real an answer I vowed.

An Internet search for the jolly St. Nick

“Santa Claus: could he be real” should turn the trick

Pages and pages of results did appear

To read them all might take ‘til Christmas next year.

My eyelids grew heavy then started to droop,

A short nap was needed so I could regroup.

Foggy and confused from my slumber I stirred,

“You’ve got mail,” from the speakers I heard.

An e-mail from Santa’s own smartphone it said,

A tight schedule barred his waking me he pled.

Presents for all under the tree he had spread.

Click here for a live video feed of the sled.

The digital image danced and sparkled bright.

Santa driving his sleigh on its magical flight.

But he posted to Facebook, ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Computer Quiz

This week I invite you to take a little quiz. Fifteen years the Bits & Bytes column has been showing up week after week with tips and must do items for folks to try, follow or of course, ignore. (Martha, I didn’t know there was going to be a test!)

Question 1: When the wireless mouse stops working do you: A: Try to scare it with nasty words? B: Call a computer tech to come out and fix it? C: Buy a new mouse? D: Put new batteries in it verifying they are seated correctly?

Question 2: Trying to open your email and it says incorrect password, do you: A: Retype the same thing over and over until the account is locked? B: Swear on a stack of bibles that the password you entered is correct? C: Proclaim loudly that you never had a password protecting the email account? D: Use the forgotten password link to reset the password?

Question 3: The printer suddenly stops printing, do you: A: Keep sending print jobs to it over and over figuring eventually it will give up and print? B: Restart the printer and the computer and see if that starts it printing? C: Google an 800 number that will fix the problem free for just $399? D: Call a local computer tech?

Question 4: The phone rings and a voice announces they are from Microsoft and your Windows License has expired, do you: A: Get out the credit card and pay to have the license renewed? B: Buy a new computer with a new Windows License Key? C: Allow the caller to have remote control of your binary buddy to FIX the problem? D: Hang up because Bits & Bytes mentioned that the Windows License Key never expires?

Tech Support Scam ExampleQuestion 5: A screen pops up with a voice speaking informing you that your computer is infected with the virus de jour and you must call the 800 number to save the computer, bank records, pictures etc. and you can’t close the warning message, do you? A: Immediately call the 800 number and pay $399 to have the nonexistent virus removed? B: Recognize that the window is actually a website made to appear to be a virus warning? C: Use Task Manager to close the offending window?  D: When in doubt, call a local computer tech?

Question 6: You’ve diligently performed a backup of critical data on a regular schedule, do you: A: Verify that the back up is actually being performed or just take it on faith? B: Do you back up your data to the same hard drive that runs the computer so that if the hard drive fails you lose the backups as well? C: Do you back up to an external drive and verify that it is working? D: Do you back up to a cloud based system automatically?

These are issues I run into almost every week. The answers to all the questions is D: Except there will be credit given on question 6, if you answered C.

How did you do?

Court Nederveld owns his own computer consulting and fixit service –Bits, Bytes & Chips Computer Services. He makes house calls in Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte! You can reach him at or 941-626-3285


Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window. —– Steve Wozniak