Survival Skills for the Technically Challenged
Survival may seem like a dramatic word to use in this context. However, our world today is so dependent on technology, that survival may be the appropriate word to use. Some people believe they can live without knowing anything about technology, and may not want to use it very much. Many people feel confused and wish they knew more, but struggle to understand what technical people are talking about.
We all use technology, even in areas we don't think much about -- the telephone, your car, your TV, electricity, Microwave oven, washer and dryer, hair dryer. Many people find they need to use a computer to communicate via the Internet.
|The computer and the Internet are perhaps the most frustrating to understand and use. Most of our appliances have been developed to be fairly simple. We turn them on, use them and don’t have to think much about them. If they break we take them in to be fixed, or replace them.|
|The computer is another story!!! There are decisions to be made about the type of computer, how much memory, how large a hard disk drive, what kind of CD/DVD player and backup device, what kind of printer/scanner. Then we have the Internet and the many decisions about which service to choose (there are many Internet Service Providers available!!), what will our email address be, and how to communicate effectively with people around the world.|
|I have been a teacher for many years, and sold computers for awhile – both MACs and PCs. Daily I support people in their struggle to make wise choices and to get the support they need to keep their machines working. Their children, parents, siblings or other relatives encourage them to get access to the Internet, because it is less expensive and easier to ‘keep in touch’ via email.|
My family lives in different states in the US, and we now communicate
more often by email than we did by phone or regular mail.
My friends and relatives in their 60's, 70's and even 80's are saying "I never wanted or expected to use a computer in this life time. Now it looks like it is time to get one." I talk to many older people, or those starting a home-based business, who now say they want or need to use the computer. I've worked for years with Rotarians, an International service organization. We find it very helpful to use email and the World Wide Web to communicate. Older Rotarians surprised us, because they used it more often than the younger Rotarians. They have more time and enjoy the connections with new people with similar interests.
So, how do you begin? How do you learn enough to communicate? How do you find the right technical people who can speak to you in a way that makes sense and are helpful? How do you find the right book? The Dummy books are popular, yet they don't seem to be 'perfect', or 'right' for everyone. A friend told me that she found a better book that had good photos and short, clear directions that she could follow. So how do you find the right book, and the right class to take, the right teacher/consultant, the right repair person to fix things that go wrong?
Here are a few guidelines you may find helpful: