Even if I have to drag myself to it kicking and screaming, I refuse to give up on making new technology part of my life. I've learned that it's all too easy to end up looking pathetic. I saw this happen to someone ten years ago. It was at the height of the internet boom and the Author's Guild was conducting a panel on the impact of technology on literary endeavor. Something like that.
The technology-isn't-necessarily-evil position was taken by my husband, at the time a technology editor. Representing the “con” side was a prominent critic, a lovely and literate man, who spoke so eloquently that I was almost swayed. Until he revealed in answer to a question that he still wrote on a typewriter. Game over, I thought. It was like being told that sex is overrated by someone who's never experienced an orgasm.
So now my motto is to at least try. A while ago, when I figured I was ready for some further adventures in personal computing, I signed up for lessons from a pro. Unfortunately the computer tutor and I were incompatible. He had trouble masking his horror over my document-storage practices, and he believed that there could be no higher goal than an uncluttered desktop. I called the employment office of my local university and tried again.
This time I ended up hiring a charming film student from West Virgina. A freshman. He was perfectly happy to help me master personal-computing essentials that were exactly my speed, such as how to change the background color on your screen. (“Master” might be too strong a word, as I don't remember it now.) And in his gentle, understated way, he made a very important contribution to my technical education: he cured my phobia of consulting “help” screens.
It turns out that they are not, as I had feared, the computer equivalent of my utterly opaque, 320-page cell phone manual. They do not whisper to me, “you are stupid . . . you are stupid . . . you are stupid.” They help, exactly as advertised. Who knew?
1. If you need to learn something, hire a kid.
2. Try the Help pages. They help.