Monday, March 17, 2014

Tech Advice for Old People

1. Never type a full sentence into google
That just wastes time. If a query is phrased in the form of a question, like, "How do I dodge a snakebite?" you'll only get results for yahooanswers and "Dodge snakebite" will suffice.

2. Less is More
If you're making a PowerPoint or some other sort of presentation, don't put everything you plan to say on the slide. Your audience will read it before you're done talking and get bored. Never put more than five items on a slide. Each item should be one to three words, unless you need a quote or specific name that's longer.
3. Picture's Worth a Thousand
If you're doing a blog post, presentation, or some other text-heavy thingimajig, put a picture at least every thousand words. Eyes glaze over after a few paragraphs. Actually, 200 is a better number. If you can think of any excuse at all just zap a picture in there. Like this.
This is a panda. It is relevant to this post.
4. NO
Just because you see an acronym used in one post, one website, or to describe one person doesn't mean it's a common one. There are about six acronyms known by everyone on the Internet. And please, don't use an acronym aloud. It just makes you sound stupid.
Also, don't use an acronym until you are completely certain what it means. LOL means laugh out loud, not lots of love, and it's not an appropriate response to "My uncle just died".
6. Figure it Out
My mom uses hotmail. She's constantly asking me how to attach things, format things, and reply to things. I can't help her. I'm a gmail girl. The best I can do is push buttons and see what happens. That's my standard response to any piece of technology I don't understand.
7. Don't feel bad

I saw this in the library the other day and I don't like it. Are seniors really a special type of dummy? Do they need their own book? Do we need books in the first place? I glanced at my nokia's user manual for a few minutes. But for the most part, I learn by doing. The day I got it I sat down and figured out all the important things. How do I add contacts? Where's the phone? Where's the camera? How do I send a text to a person in my contacts? How do I send a text to a new number? I had it four months before I figured out how to forward a text. Until then, I didn't need to know.

This is a TI-83, the calculator I use for math and chemistry. You can pick one up at Walmart for about a hundred dollars.

This is the computer system that put Apollo 11 on the moon forty five years ago. My calculator has six times the processing power. In a normal day, I'll divide things, multiply things, and find a few square roots. If I'm feeling fancy I might plug in a logarithm or two. I don't use the dice roll simulation or pick-a-card-from-a-deck-of-52 simulation. I've barely scratched at the surface. And that's okay. Technology exists so you can do what you want with it.
8. Don't Assume We Know Everything
See number six. Yes, I've been playing computers games since age three, but that's only fourteen years. You've been exposed to technology longer. If you want to learn it, you can. There's no excuse for not trying.

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