Byte Me Article 276 – Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained

Technology Knows No Bounds

The feedback that I get from readers is very interesting and lately it has come to my attention that there are a significant number of regular readers that have still never had Internet access and have also never owned a computer.  I separate the two here as I don’t really count tablets and certainly not smart phones as computers, even though they are Internet enabled.

No one likes to feel left out or left behind and with the current pace of computer technology even people in the industry can have trouble ‘keeping up’.  I am a firm believer in the saying – ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and accepting and using technology is no different.  So often after taking the plunge we look back at what we thought was a mountain and realise it was barely a speed bump.

If you have never used a computer or the Internet, how do you start and what is the price of entry?  I have already mentioned smart phones and most of us have one, but they are far less than ideal as Internet browsing devices and are of even less use to ‘first timers’.  The size of the screen is one of the biggest limitations here and it is also a fairly safe bet that the person that I am writing to here already has less than perfect vision.

Laptops or desktops present an entirely different Internet experience to their smaller screen brethren and I can’t stand to use my smart phone for anything Internet related for more than just a minute or two myself.  The downside is that these larger devices come at a price and you are already unsure as to whether you can or will even use it?

My advice is to talk to relatives and friends (not salespeople) about what they use their computer for and what good and bad experiences they have had.  See if you can sit beside them in front of a PC and get them to ‘Google’ one of your hobbies or interests.  Next time you are watching the TV and they say “more information can be found at www…..” write it down and get an ‘Internet enabled friend’ to look it up.

You will need to work out if the investment of a computer system will be worthwhile for you.  Another point to keep upper most in mind is how you currently keep in touch with friends and family.  If a phone call often finds them busy and unable to talk then consider that an email can be read and replied to more easily in their spare time.  The same email can also contain a photo or two of what they are doing or where they are at.

It is unfortunate but worthwhile laptops start around the $600 mark, desktops at more like $1000 and even then the amount of misleading and unnecessary software makes their use literally 10 times harder than it should be.  Our best value laptop is $849 but it has had extensive work already done, is ready to use and should last the average user 3 to 5 years.

If you are buying a computer for the first time then also consider getting acquainted with its use before you worry about an Internet connection.  There are a host of standard card games and memory games that will help get you familiar with basic computer functions before you worry about being on the Internet.  At all stages however, a computer that has been setup to be simple to use will allow you the opportunity to progress and feel confident much faster.

Next week we will look at Internet safety and I will try to give some worthwhile guidance in this area for first time users. 

Until then, future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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