Computer Advice for Dummies by a Dummy

This post goes out to all of you people who have ever struggled with your computer in even the slightest way. I have never met anyone who has used a computer and not struggled with it at some point so basically this post goes out to everyone. I want to write this because I have been pretty frustrated with so many people asking me for help with simple things on their computers, they could (and should) know how to do themselves. Hopefully I will be able to provide you with some advice to ease your interaction with your computers. And for all you that are saying to yourself: “I don’t have a computer because only old people use computers,” let me explain something real quick. Phones, macs, laptops, etc are all different types of computers. Even things like TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, smart speakers, and pretty much everything else that runs on electricity is a computer nowadays. Computers are NOT limited to big boxes hooked up to mice, screens, and keyboards. You may think I wouldn’t have to say all that, but trust me, you would be surprised. Now without further adieu, let’s get to the advice.

First thing I will say is don’t worry about breaking anything. In modern computers, there is almost no way that you can break anything beyond repair unless you really know what you are doing. When you have a task, and you aren’t exactly sure how to get it done, just start trying things until you get it. Millions of programmers have worked countless hours to ensure that every moron who uses their products doesn’t break anything beyond repair (no offense to the morons reading this, of course). So before you go and ask your nearest computer geek how to do something like find a file or check your email, try it yourself first. Whenever someone asks me for help with a computer, I always ask them what they did to try to figure it out themselves before they came to me. Usually, their first instinct is to come and find me rather than try it themselves for fear of breaking something. So I am telling you now, that YOU WILL NOT BREAK ANYTHING. At least, probably not anything that can’t be undone. Ever heard the saying: “Nothing is ever gained by those who don’t try?” Yes? Well great! Now try applying it to computers and maybe you won’t have to go asking for help every 10 minutes. Okay that was harsh… I apologize, I didn’t mean to come on so strong, I just feel, er, strongly about spreading this message.

Next piece of advice I can give is to always remember that whatever type of computer you are using, it was created by another human. Now you may not think of programmers as human… maybe you are thinking that we share more in common with robots.  Contrary to popular belief, we are human. Completely, 100% human. It always helps to remember that the programs/apps/software you use on a computer were created by someone who is probably trying to make it as easy as possible to operate. If you are struggling to figure out how to do something, it can help to consider where you would add a button to accomplish your task. Close your eyes, and think carefully about how you would have wanted the programmer to implement the feature you desire. Imagine all the clicks you have to make in your head, then open your eyes and try it. Oftentimes, you and the programmer had similar ideas. More often than not, you will find what you are looking for. 

The last piece of advice I want to leave you with is something that can solve all your problems but should only be left as a last resort. It, like my other advice is simple: just google it. Now you are probably thinking that this is pretty obvious advice. While obvious to some, it is still worth mentioning because it is certainly not obvious to others (and by “others” I mean the older generations). Answers to all of your questions, especially those involving computers, can be found on the web. Google basically taught me to code, so I’m sure it can teach you how to check your email. This should, like I said, always remain your last resort. You will learn far more by trying to do it yourself rather than just defaulting to Google every time. 

So those are my three biggest secrets to success when it comes to using computers. Which is probably the only thing I am in any way qualified to be giving advice on. Take advantage of the advice in this post to eliminate your fear of digital creatures. They seem like magical black boxes, but trust me, they are not so scary. And who knows, if you are anything like me, then maybe getting good with computers will lead to a career. You will never know until you try.

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