By Phyllis Galowitz
I marvel at how today’s young people use computers as easily as I use a pen or pencil. I’m not new to using a computer. I must have started twenty years ago, learning what was necessary to do the job at hand, but never really being interested in the technology. Alan and I always had an Apple product. I learned on a desktop. Years later, having cut back on the type of work we needed to do, a MacBook was fine and took up less space. Finally, the Mac, like its owner, was wearing down and in this modern “throw-away-society”, could not be repaired. But the prices have come down and I discovered that other brands were considerably less expensive than the Mac.
Lori, my computer-savvy daughter, and a strong supporter of Apple products, after much research, agreed that the Chromebook, made by Toshiba (and many other companies) did everything I needed at about one-third the cost of the MacBook. So she did the shopping and set it up. Then I was on my own.
Lori lives three and a half hours from Andes and has a busy life, but in our lengthy telephone conversations she patiently tried to help me with my ongoing problems. The major difficulty that I had in asking a question and getting an answer, was my limited knowledge of computer language that she assumed I knew but, in fact, I never had learned! I felt like a person in a foreign country, with no knowledge of the language! She ordered a manual for me, which, by the way, does not come with the computer. There are symbols one is just supposed to know the meaning of. There is a “touch-pad” that moves the screen in different directions, depending on which part is touched and the pressure used. It’s extremely sensitive and one must learn how to apply just the right amount of pressure in just the right spot, to tell the computer what you want it to do. I haven’t learned that skill, so with one wrong touch, I might lose whatever I finally found, and then, not knowing the shortcuts, or how I got to where I was in the first place, have to go back to the beginning and start again! I’m sure that when I get the knack of just how to move my fingers on the pad, it will be wonderful, but in the meantime, it takes me hours to do what probably should be an easy task.
Sometimes, by accident, a screen becomes visible that might answer a question that I’ve spent hours puzzling over. I’d like to print the page but haven’t mastered how to connect the computer to the printer. Lori says I must get it “on the cloud”. What is the cloud and where is it? Evidently it’s too complicated to explain over the phone and maybe my printer is outdated.
Some of my friends, who possibly went through these growing pains, have suggested various solutions to my problems. One, to solve the problem of the touch pad is to get a wireless mouse in place of using the touch pad. By the time I get the more up-to-date printer, the wireless mouse, the manual and possibly, if there is such a thing, a glossary, I probably will have spent what the new MacBook would have cost, the one that might have been more familiar to me. But then again—maybe not.
My new Chromebook is slim, well designed and beautiful to look at. I’m not giving up. I will learn how to use it, even at the expense of a nervous breakdown! ~