Technology and Responsibility Part 02

Have you ever had a friend or family member ask you to add your phone number to their phone? How about the inevitable computer call? Don’t you want to say, “Why did you buy it if you don’t intend to learn how it works.” This problem seems to be wide spread and rampant in everything we own, but it shines through on technology. Ever since the days of blinking clocks on VCR’s, we have seen our friends and family getting technology that they REFUSE to learn how to use.

Now, before you get all high and mighty about all the stuff that I can’t fix, I’m not talking about repairing something that breaks, like a car, appliance or a computer. Repairing a mechanical device is a skill that is so involved it gets to be called a career, and people earn lots of money being REPAIR men! There is nobody getting $30 hour to add phone numbers to a cell phone. That’s supposed to be your job and to be honest, it’s easy! More importantly, why wouldn’t you WANT to know how to use your phone or computer.

I realize that I’m preaching to the choir at this moment. Seriously how many of us have parents that even know what a blog or a podcast is, let alone subscribe to one?  So, I can assume that if you are reading this, you agree. People need to learn to use their own stuff! How many friends, family or workmates need you to get a picture off the cellphone or change a ring-tone? Frustrating, right? The only redeeming thing with all those incompetent cell phone users, is that the people who are afraid of technology, buy basic phones. This severely limits what they can refuse to learn and ask us to do instead. Most of the tasks they want us to do are pretty easy. While this means that Uncle Mortimer isn’t screwing up his phone with hundreds of apps, he can still access the internet, and much more. And it’s only a matter of time till you get asked to add the F**k You by Cee Lo Green as his ringtone. There are many ways to help ol’ Uncle Mort learn how to use that little device we have all grown so accustomed to inappropriately using in public places.

First off, it comes with a manual. These are not always easy to read but they do give you detailed instructions. At least I think they do but, I haven’t read mine though, so I can’t be sure just how much information it has. This little book is bitch to read. Especially if you have bad eyesight. Work around that problem by downloading the pdf from the phones website! Zoom in on that text and get reading. Secondly, there are stores for all major phone providers. They have staff that are trained (I use that term loosely) in the use of these phones. They should be able to walk you through the basics like, setting up your voice-mail and adding contacts. Lastly, many Technology blogs and magazines make video reviews. These reviews show basic functionality and instructions. These can be easily found by searching them online. Don’t forget to use the video filtering option, on your search. Bing offers a wonderful preview option on their search engine.

Now when it comes to computers, things get more complicated. A computer is a fairly complex device. For those of us who know how to use them, we often forget this fact. To use a computer properly requires study and practice. They need to learn how to not only use the hardware as well as all the software it comes with. Just when they think they’ve got it figured out, someone informs them there is better software. Then some website wants to install stuff. Soon subscriptions expire on the antivirus software, updates need to be run and new versions of the regular programs are released. For novices, all of this may be more information to learn than is required to get a license to drive a car. And that requires a written and driving test. While it isn’t as dangerous or necessary to understand a computer as it is to operate a large machine traveling at high speed, it is challenging. Remember, even though someone who uses a computer at work, may have only memorized the step by step instructions to do what they had to do, not how the computer works.

Heck, this stuff is difficult for us! Let’s try a couple of questions for you, to see if you know some basic computer knowledge.

1. How many bytes is the word “bytes” when you type it in notepad? Answer

2. What is a radio button and what does it represent? Answer

3. What is a cookie? (in computer terms?) Answer

4. What are jpg files and why are they bad for pictures worth preserving? Answer

Did you know the answer to all these questions? If not, than you might want a little refresher yourself. The point is, many people are finally becoming interested if not being forced into the age of computers. Many more have been using them for years without learning the basics. To be fair, learning the basics isn’t easy. Sure there are books out there that “CLAIM” to be for idiots and dummies, but really, they are full of words! Who wants to read! I want to use my computer right now! Seriously though, if you can find a good book with pictures,  get it. It really helps to learn how to do something on a computer with screen shots! However, if you have a computer and an internet connection, you have access to articles and videos galore!  Train yourself and you will be happy you did.

I had planned on going on a tirade of various simple issues here but realized that bitching doesn’t solve the issue! So I plan on writing some future blogs with tips and tricks to help you find your way in the sea of computer software and problems. However, I do have one more thing to complain about!

If you want to give a computer to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. please, teach them how to use it or buy them a book to learn how! Heck, make it a personal touch by recording a video showing them how to do the basics. Don’t throw a loved one into the computer age without some help. They don’t know how to email! They don’t know how to update their software! They probably don’t know how to Google! Is this a generalized statement? Yes. Is it true for all people out there are giving their older computers to family members who are incapable of using a computer? No! What I am saying is, IF you know the person you are giving a computer to is, “unknowledgeable” about the world of computers and the internet, show them you love them by helping them use it.

Be responsible with your technology! Use it properly and it will serve you well. When it’s time to let your old phone or computer have a new home, make sure the new parents know how to properly care for it. Don’t let your technology make you an ignorant person and for God’s sake, if you are going to look up porn, make sure you have a good firewall, use in private filtering and clear your browsing history when your done.


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