Gw Temp

Menu

Article - 'Computer teaching for dummies' by GaZZwa

An item about Humour posted on Aug 8, 2003

Blurb

Not so much useful to those interested in programming, as poking fun at GaZZwa's family. Join GaZZwa as he delves deep into the mind of those less abled computer goers. Other wise known as "mom".

Body

I heard a story the other day, one that simply made me sit up and cry out in disbelief.

A man calls up his computer hotline complaining that the cupholder on his personal computer has snapped off, and he would like to know how to fix it.
“Cupholder?” Says the computer helpline person, puzzled. “I’m sorry sir, did you buy this cupholder from a computer show, or at a special promotion?”
“No,” replied the man, “It came as part of the standard equipment with my computer.”
“But our computers don’t come with cupholders, sir.”
“Well, pardon me friend, but they do.” Says the man a little hotly. “I’m looking at mine right now. You push a button at the base of the computer, and it slides right out.”

It seems that this man had been using the CD drawer on his PC as cupholder. Now, the reason I bring this up is because over the last few weeks I have been attempting to teach my grandparents how to use the computer. My uncle lives in Norway, and we gave our old computer to my grandparents. The task of teaching them how to use it was given to me and so here I am weeks later, exhausted and the old folks are none the wiser on how to operate the simple task of turning on a computer.

I was using my own computer as an example in our “how to insert CDs” lesson. I pushed the CD drive button and out popped the empty CD drawer.
“Oh!” Exclaimed my Gran, “that’s where the cupholder is!”
“No Nan,” I explained, “That’s the CD drive. That’s where you put CDs. Remember our lesson on floppy disks? Well a CD is much more powerful than a floppy, as it has much more space. Thus, games and programs for the computer come in CD format nowadays.”
My Nan sighed and looked around the table for an area free of clutter to place down her mug of steaming cocoa.
“Now, Nan, my computer has two disk drives. One for putting in CDs and another for putting in blank CDs with nothing on them.”
“Why would you want a blank CD?”
“To copy information from one CD to another. Now, this is my second disk drive.”
I pushed the button and out slid my CD rewriter drive. My Nan allowed herself a short “aahh!” of astonishment, then leant over me, mug in hand, reaching to place her beverage in the disk drive.
“Nan! What’re you doing?” I cried, instantly snatching the mug from her wrinkled old hands.
“That’s where the cupholder is. I was going to put my mug in it.”
“Ok, let’s start again.” And so I did. Three more times in fact. It seems that everyone in my family except my father and I are immune to technology. Show my Nan a washing machine, and she’ll go outside and begin to hand wash our clothes. Yet, I am still puzzled over something. I often hold webcam conversations with my Great Gran, who, at the ripe old age of 89 is well past her sell-by date for computing. Yet my mother, some 49 years younger cannot even operate Microsoft Word without going into a tantrum. Just the other day, when I was downstairs watching The Simpsons, my dear mother cried to me “Gareth!” I ran up the stairs, wondering whether she’d punched the monitor out or got her hand stuck in the floppy disk drive.
“What’s wrong mother?” I asked.
“It’s gone! Everything!” She replied, kicking her feet out.
“Well, what has gone, oh dear mother?”
“Everything!”
It turns out, that my mother had been typing out the minutes for a meeting that she had held the previous night. I peered over at the screen to see a blank page on Word.
“Well, you haven’t even typed anything yet.”
“Yes I have! It was all there, two pages of it! And now it’s gone!”
I put my hand on the mouse, and scrolled up. Instantly two pages of writing (most of which was not recognized by the spell checker) appeared and my mother cried out in glee.
“Oh, you got it back! You’re a genius, Gareth.”
“Yeah, genius.” I replied, wandering downstairs to continue watching the Simpsons.

It seems to me that teaching a person how to use the computer is the hardest thing this side of getting Senior Behemoth to say something vaguely intelligent or understandable. Lord knows how my father taught me.
“Daddy, what’s that?”
“That’s the mouse, son.”
“Argh! A mouse!”
“No, son. Put the broom away. No! Give it back, son! Don’t yank that out! No! Don’t stick your fingers in there! Ah crap. Sheron! Call the hospital!”
Every time I begin to teach my peers the way of the computer, I get insanely frustrated and end up showing them myself, instead of letting them do the task in hand. Maybe it’s just my ways, but I cannot watch someone get lost in there own desktop without hitting them with a sledgehammer. Now, with that said, I’m off to have a webcam chat with my Great Gran, who’ll be teaching me how to use DarkBasic. Till next time!

-- GaZZwa