Becoming Acquainted with Technology: Part 2
Last week we looked at the pleasures a simple grasp of the internet can bring. But if going online and using more features of your computer is a world that’s new to you then perhaps these 5 pointers will guide and re-assure you:
1. When learning something new it is completely normal to not get it right the first time or even the first few times, so therefore it is common to get flustered, lost or even a bit annoyed (Surely not…! Ed.)
2. It is OK to make mistakes. As mentioned before, one of the differences between the older and younger generations when it comes to technology is fear, and part of that is fear of doing something disastrous and losing all your work or ruining someone’s computer or unintentionally deleting all your emails. You may be surprised to find out that all these things are actually very difficult to do by mistake and you actually have to be quite deliberate to make a big error, so take a risk.
3. Most computers are pretty much the same. Think of it like this, you have a car, a Ford Fiesta from 2007 say. You can drive it fine as expected or at least well enough. You go on holiday and rent a 2010 Nissan Micra. You’re not as used to it as your own car but soon enough you get into the swing of things and can competently drive this vehicle. A week later you go and visit a friend for the weekend and end up driving his car, a 1997 Renault Clio. Again it doesn’t take long for you to get the basics down and get this car under your control and get you from A to B. Computers are very much like this. Compare one computer to another and they are largely the same thing in a different ‘shell’. This goes for comparing two desktop PCs or two laptops, two tablets or two smartphones. So don’t worry that you need to know how to use a wide range of different computers from different manufacturers.
4. You don’t need to understand how or why it works to use it. I have very little idea of how a computer actually works but can easily use one. Again, using the example of a car, you don’t need to know how the transmission or engine works to drive it.
5. It’s probably less complicated to use all these different pieces of technology, software, tools, functions and websites than you think. It may seem that a smartphone has so many functions that you could drown in them and not even be able to make a phone call or send a text. Yet it is surprisingly simple. For example, when configured properly, you can make a phone call by holding down one button on your phone and saying ‘Call Home’. Checking your emails can be done in the same way by the pressing of two buttons. Even using your debit card in the supermarket, something thousands do every day, takes more button pressing than setting up a face to face call with your spouse for example.
You may think, well that is all well and good, but I just don’t know where to even start. My hope is that in the coming weeks there will be articles published on a wide range of topics, but one I specifically hope those reading will benefit from are those that are relating to getting to grips with the technology that now gives you the ability to do so much more, in your own time and in your own home.
Especially, but not exclusively, those related to holding on to those bonds of friendship and family using many a different communication service, some that may be more familiar than others, like texting and email, and then those maybe less common such as Skype or WhatsApp. It would not surprise me if the outcome of learning just one or two of these skills would aide in your overall progression, finding each new piece of software simpler to use and each new gadget easier to get to grips with than the last.
In conclusion, technology offers many useful and enjoyable treasures that can be discovered with only a very small level of skill. I would suggest that almost any adult has the capability of taking advantage of these tools. What is hard is taking those first few steps. By taking the plunge and dipping your toe into just one of the possibilities I mentioned above could really offer you a positive outlet and give you the confidence to take larger strides into learning more and getting more from these amazing tools we have at our disposal.