Why Should YOU Attend a Computer Class?
“My computer is broken. I can’t get email anymore. I’m so upset that I haven’t turned the computer on for three days. If you will come pick the *&%(@ up you can have it! I just can’t take the frustration any more!” The quote is from this morning’s call but it certainly isn’t the first call I’ve received like this. And I’ve made my own share of calls like this to my favorite computer aficionados. Let’s have a reality check.
- Computer technology is very, very new. Compared to automobiles, planes, even telephones, computers are in their terrible two’s stage.
- The technology is growing so quickly that NO ONE is a computer expert. I know people who build their computers from scratch and network all the equipment in the office but they can’t type a letter. Susan can almost make Excel do the windows but Word completely stumps her.
- While Windows has improved the situation greatly, software programs are still inconsistent. Maybe that button works on Program A but causes problems in Program B. But no one tells you that.
- The growth also causes a lot of pain because Windows ?? may do everything you want it to but it won’t talk to the new printer you just bought. Software and hardware versions change rapidly and stretch our budgets as well as our patience.
- Many, many features of a program are undocumented. I have been certified by Microsoft as an Office expert. Two months ago a client showed me a trick that I had never heard of.
No one is a computer expert. In general, we use less than 10% of a program’s capabilities. So give yourself a break! Computer skills will not magically appear in your brain. You didn’t learn to solve math problems or drive a car or work in a corporation that way. What makes you think computer skills will just pop into your brain?!?!? I’m not even going to mention that we learned to drive at 16 and are learning computer skills at … … … over 39.
- Take classes every time you can on the programs you use so you can learn techniques and tricks from other users.
- Buy good reference books so you can look up answers or instructions when you need to do something new. No, you don’t want to read them cover to cover. Unless you really have a bad case of insomnia! But keep them handy to refresh your mind or to guide you in new areas.
- The manuals that come with your software are usually the worst manuals possible.
- Go to a bookstore and look for a book. I like the ___ for Dummies series. The Tables of Content and Indexes are good so I can find what I’m looking for.
- Pick one or two things that you know how to do. Look for that in the book you’re considering. If the explanation is good, the explanations on topics you don’t know will probably be good. (It’s like always trying chile rellenos at a new Mexican restaurant. That’s your measure.)
Someday computers and their software will be as easy as turning the key in the ignition. Until that day there’s a class I can take. Or a book that I can skim through. Or a website with a Knowledge Center I can search through.
Before the laptop sails out the window.