Friday, October 21, 2011
Where is the on button?
OK, I figured out how to turn my new computer on, what do I do next? What happens if I hit this key? Oh gee, maybe I shouldn't have done that. No, I don't have a 10-year-old kid to ask how this works.
These and many others are thoughts and questions that I had many years ago when I first attempted to learn how to use a computer in general and the Internet specifically. I was lucky enough to learn the basics on a WebTV in a slow easy pace. I was in my late fifties. All the tech stuff and strange jargon scared me, so it was easier not to learn more than I had to know to sent email and those wonderful eCards that I love. It was the same thing with simple word processing tools and/or printers. I knew just enough to get by. I used the library computers for several years and the staff was great to assist me. (Can't tell you how many times my screen froze up and I had to call for help.)
Finally, in the summer of 2000, Mr. Bruce and I combined households and I had a computer to use anytime I wanted...like hours and hours a day. Slowly things started making sense, and I loved it.
I discovered two excellent sources for seniors: Eons.com (free) and SeniorNet.org (membership fee). This was years before "social media" as we know it now. Eons has many groups on just about any subject you can think of, plus it is very easy to use. People are generally very helpful and answer in a way one can understand. Yes, some people use it to promote their business, but that's OK with me.
At the time I belonged to SeniorNet they had the best forum ever. Helpful, clean language, groups galore. I learn more from these groups than I have since. A few years ago they discontinued the forums and I really miss them. I let my membership elapse. Just today when I was looking at the site, I was wondering if I should join again. They have classes in numerous senior centers nationwide, usually taught by seniors for seniors. Also, there are 300 online classes available at a very reasonable cost.
My "go-to" expert is Darrell at Computers With Ease. It is reassuring to have a computer expert I trust. I have learned tons of new stuff since I joined Twitter. Note: please be extra careful not to try getting free advice and free lessons. As one of my favorite Twitter friends says, "No, you cannot pick my brain". This is on Sheila's blog, "Ow! It hurts when you pick my brain". These people are busy professional; don't embarrass yourself by only asking for free stuff. On the other hand, all the business people I personally follow write great articles and always include useful information.
Now, how do I turn this contraption off and have lunch?