Ask Abby

First Time Visitors

By Way of an Introduction

So nice to have you come for a visit. I hope you find abbyandme an easy site to navigate and a launching pad for your computer adventure. To give you some background on me: I’ve never studied computers, nor read a book on them. Some eighteen years ago I worked at a law firm in the Personnel Department here in Manhattan, and was taught a bit of data entry as part of my job. From there I bought my first laptop and began to play with it. Believe me, there were many, many times I was baffled with what the blasted computer did or found an amazing feature that I couldn’t find again.

That’s where my first bit of advice to you comes in . . . Have a pad of paper and a pen beside your computer at all times. As you have a revelation about how to do something, write it down then and there. It is so easy to forget. Also, if something seems amiss, make a note of what you were doing when the computer misbehaved. Does it always happen when you use a particular program, on the Internet, e-mailing, or at a certain time of day? All of that information becomes very helpful in the diagnosis of a problem.

Here’s my second bit of advice . . . Play with your computer. The only way I really became comfortable with the computer was to spend time with it. Make a point of using it every day, even if for only ten minutes of Solitaire or to check the weather. Every time you touch the computer you get closer to being master of the beast.

For over a decade I’ve taught computers to those over 50. So, if the computer intimidates you, I completely understand. If there are times you feel you want to throw in the towel and never turn on a computer again, I’ve seen it before. If the Internet seems like a scary place to visit, I won’t disagree. But, I won’t allow you to think that any of that is about your deficiencies or that you are somehow incapable of using the computer. Computers were designed by geeks who didn’t think about what is best for the user (that is you and me). The fault is not yours, but their’s. You and I, together, will make up for their blunders and ultimately enjoy what the computer and the Internet have to offer.

There is no way that you can’t learn the computer. With all due respect and love to my mother, if my mother can conquer the computer anyone can. Stick with me and we’ll get you there safe and sound.