NORMAN — To be effectual at my job as a “computer guy,” I have to be constantly learning. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, something new comes along, forcing me in a new direction.
New problems, new solutions and new ways of doing things: that’s life in the computer age. One distraught customer recently lamented this situation to me, moaning that she just wanted a computer that could be set up and then always stay the same, forever. “Why all of this constant updating?” she complained.
She did have a point. What if our cars required as much updating as our computers? Sure, our cars need regular maintenance, like changing the oil and getting new tires, but, what if every three or four months, you had to pull over and install a new version of your steering wheel? That would be weird.
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a “set it and forget it” computer. Along with this reality, I see the more I help people with their computers, the more I see the urgent need for computer education.
Back in the early days of the home computer revolution, you had to know and understand many things about your system just to accomplish the most seemingly-trivial tasks. Nowadays it seems that almost everyone that cares to has a fairly powerful computer at their disposal, and modern operating systems are much easier to use than their predecessors. This ease of use also means that it’s much easier to screw things up, or to get lost in the endless sea of available options and functions.
To the rescue comes our local library. Not only do they have a good selection of books that teach basic and advanced computer skills, but they also host a series of classes that are guaranteed to make your computing life easier and more enjoyable. Better yet, the classes are free.
The Internet is also loaded with places to continue your computer education. Here’s a short list of websites that you may find helpful:
· Hosted by retired chemistry professor Vic Laurie, vlaurie.com has many good articles covering a multitude of subjects.
· Brought to you by the Goodwill Community Foundation, the same folks that are behind your local Goodwill stores, gfclearnfree.org/computer has an impressive lineup of computer classes covering more subjects than I can list here. I like this website a lot.
· The website customguide.com/quick_references.htm has some really cool “quick reference” guides that you can download and print. The guides cover a variety of Microsoft and Apple products, as well as Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and QuickBooks. The guides are very well thought out and handy for folks (like me) that just can’t memorize every command for every program on earth.
Using a computer is a lot like driving a car: if not done properly, you can be a danger to others, as well as yourself. You’ll be a lot happier once you learn how to drive.
Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or www.davemoorecomputers.com.