January 1, 0001

— type: post layout: post meta: {} title: Learning computers for the first time tags: - D published: true status: publish — My parents have just got a computer for the company business. Dad has used a computer before and can work his way around the internet pretty well. However, mum has never used one before and basically sat in front of one for the first time yesterday. She has been doing some free computer courses at the local town center, but only a couple, and she doesn’t really seem to have taken all that much in yet. It was really interesting to see how she thought some things should work. I have set up mum with a Gmail account so she can use email anywhere she might want to. That, and it’s got a pretty good user interface - or so I thought. However, for someone who has never really used a computer before nothing was all that obvious. For example, the Gmail user interface isn’t all that good when you want to create an email. They have used the term “Compose email”, but who on earth calls it/says that? Perhaps “Create new email” or something would be clearer. Also, once she got the hang of sending an email to one person I asked “Now how would you create an email that you wanted to send to me and Mary (my sister)”. Curiously she started typing “David and Mary”. It seemed so obvious at the time, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anything in the computing world that works that obviously. Mum also had all sorts of problems working with the cursor and getting it to where she wanted to type things. She used to type when she was younger so I thought it would come more easily than it did. Nevermind, she’ll get it in the end. Also, I told them to have a look at the Windows XP Tour. Running through the “XP Basics” course it started off well talking about minimising and maximising windows. Then it just wandered off into networking and printers and hardware and stuff and I could see mum just glazing over and wondering what on earth this scary piece of plastic was going to mean to her. There’s just so many things you take for granted in the computing world, like what an email is, for example.

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