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Today in My History

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2001:   I Meet My Fan
Brrrrrr, cont'd
2003:  The Numbers Game
2004:  It Ain't Much, but It's Better than Nothin'
2005:   My Mother's Daughter

2006:  Lost Opportunities
2007:  A Family Affair

2008:  Futile Protest

2009:  Peggy Fixed It!!
2010:  Frantic Fears in Haiti
2011:  That's My Butter!

Bitter Hack
"Ruthless, the Musical"

Books Read in 2012
Updated: 1/17
"Making of The African Queen"
"Akubra is Australian for Hat"


Sweet Baby from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

and on YouTube

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Christmas 2011

Mirror Site for RSS Feed:
Airy Persiflage
My Compassion Kids
The Pen Pal Project

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20 January 2012

Many years ago, when I had only been on the internet for 2 or 3 years, when things were all brand new and when a lot of people my age were afraid of using computers at all, I decided I was going to start a computer training business geared for people my age and older.  People whose eyesight wasn't as good as it had been, whose hands weren't as nimble as they used to be, people who were a bit leery of "breaking" the computer, and people who didn't remember things as well as they used to.

I got the idea when I helped someone -- I don't remember who now -- start to feel comfortable with their computer (yes, I hate using "their," but I don't remember if this was a man or a woman).  It was when I saw that my student didn't understand what it meant to "double click the mouse" that I realized that you couldn't just give general instructions; you had to slow waaaay down and plan to spend a lot more time than you planned.

I think it was childbirth lessons which helped me achieve some modicum of success. 

When we are trying to teach something we know very well, our instinct is to whiz through it and get to the impressive ending as quickly as possible.  "Do this...and then this...and then this" and the student's problem was solved.

But with someone older, you have to go in very slow stages.  You give instruction, once...twice...three times.  Each time you give less and less help and you take long, slow breaths and you wait until the student figures it out.  But when they figure it out...they. have. figured. it. out themselves.  And maybe they remember.  Or maybe you go back for a refresher course in a week.

Anyway, it was a good idea.  I was going to call my business "Double Click," but then Davis Community Network came along with free lessons.  They found people like me who knew a thing or two about a thing or two and have us share our information to small classes, all for free, and that pretty much ended my computer assistance business before it ever really got started

The thing is that anybody who was born after computers started becoming household necessities (and for whom "double click" is a concept they learn as toddlers, or so I assume, having seen Brianna at the computer!) has no concept with how to train older people so they can actually understand.

I learned this some time ago with my computer guru, who would come in here, sit at my computer push this, that and the other things and fix my problem and rattle off all sorts of things that he did and things would flash on the screen and things would be different after he left and I'd have to figure out how to get it back to the way that I liked it.  But in the end, I hadn't learned a thing about my computer.  It just had it fixed.

Today I went back to Verizon.

After my time on the phone with two different Verizon reps early in the week, trying to figure out why my phone was eating all the internet data, they had me turn off a couple of settings and suggested that they send me a "like new" phone to replace mine, because perhaps mine was having a glitch they couldn't figure out.

In the time between that conversation and yesterday, when the "like new" reconditioned phone arrived, my regular phone seemed to be working just fine.  But I had this "like new" replacement and decided I should go ahead with plans to replace the original phone anyway. Making a very wise decision, I decided to NOT try to follow the installation instructions and instead take it to the Verizon office where I got the phone originally and have them do it for me.

So the guy took my phone, removed the innards, put it in the new phone, punched lots of buttons and options and grumbled a bit and hemmed and hawed and finally decided that my "like new" reconditioned phone was broken.  

There we were -- the original phone which had finally been working fine, and the "like new" replacement which was obviously broken.  We decided to just put everything back in the original phone and send the "like new" replacement back.  To get it set up, the clerk's fingers moved so fast as he held the phone just out of my sight (I could see it, but my eyes weren't good enough to read what he was doing, and his hands were moving too fast anyway). 

He added apps that are going to help a lot--except he didn't tell me what they do or show me how to check the options.  He rearranged things that I had already set up.  In the end, I have my same phone back, it seems to be working and is no longer eating up data.  I'm not sure why it was originally and why it isn't now, but I'm not going to question it.  I'm just going to send the "like new" phone back and let them pawn it off on some other dumb smuck like me!


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Why I am getting so little done these days.


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