Niagara Gazette

Features

September 11, 2012

THE NETCRACKER: Computer instructor urges senior users not to quit

Niagara Gazette —  “Can’t never did anything” is a quote from my mother, Joyclyn Kaufmann.  The word "can’t" was not allowed in our house. We learned that the only real failure occurred when we didn’t try, so we learned not to use the words “I can’t.” This is my motto when teaching people, no matter their age or skill level.

On a daily basis I work with seniors, some of whom are quite elderly and experience technology successes that they never thought they could achieve.  Here are a few stories I want to share with you so you know why I KNOW that you too can be successful in your endeavors with technology.  My students are so very impressive. They are truly lifelong learners.  You can be too!!!

Just this week I received a telephone call from one of my lovely ladies, Beverly, who is 89 years old.  Beverly called me in a panic because she turned her computer on and when she tried to put her password in she received a message that went something like this:  “Your keyboard is not connected.”  First I told her to check to see if the cord was connected between the computer and the keyboard.   She said, “There is no cord.”  I also inquired to determine if she had moved the keyboard since the last time she used the computer.  She said, yes, she had dusted the desk.

Realizing that Bev had a wireless keyboard and that she was using a MacIntosh desktop, I searched the Internet to see how to enable her keyboard.  She was unable to a power button on the keyboard, and her eyesight prevented her from reading the model number on the bottom of the keyboard.  After a few minutes I suggested that she look to see if she had an owner’s manual.  It was hard to figure out where her “on” button might be since I had no information to identify what she was using.  When she called me back a few minutes later, I told her to look for a picture of the keyboard in the manual.  She found one and immediately located the on button.  To her amazement, the keyboard was now functional.

This simple story illustrates how successful she was in solving her own problem and the fact that this problem was very easily solved.  Sometimes we panic before we take the few steps that will help us to resolve what seems to be catastrophic.  Most times we can fix the troubles we’re having, even if we have to get a little help in doing so.

During the last couple of minutes in my first classes a couple of years ago, one of the gentlemen in the class couldn’t understand why he could no longer move his mouse on his brand new laptop.  I looked at it quickly but had to get to another class some distance away.  I told John, in his mid 80’s, that I would stop by the next day to help him with his computer.

The next day we looked at his owner’s manual to find out how to enable and disable the mouse.  With a couple of keystrokes we had the mouse working again.  Before we found the solution, he had decided that his computer was a piece of junk and that this problem could never be fixed.  He poured over the manual before I worked with him and tried to figure out what every button on the keyboard would do.  What caused the problem in the first place was touching the “hotkeys” in a certain combination.  These keys are the very top row of your laptop.  While these keys are important, it’s best for those who don’t understand them to not touch them.

Seventy-eight year old Julia called me about a year ago very upset after speaking with her internet service provider for over an hour on the telephone.  She told me she was just about in tears and ready to throw her computer out the window.  After she calmed down she was able to explain her problem,  and we had her back online in about five minutes.  She had taken her laptop with her some place, and when she returned home and plugged it in, she was no longer connected to the internet.  Most times our internet connections are set to automatically connect.  For some reason the connection was not recognized.  Over the telephone Julia was able to follow my instructions and was up and running in just a few minutes.  She was a happy camper and no longer wanted to toss her computer.

Lastly, Barbara called me after learning how to use Skype during class.  She wanted to download the program at home and asked me to come over for a private session  to do it for her.  I suggested that we do it together over the telephone so she could have Skype right then and not have to pay for a class.  She reluctantly agreed.  As I took Barbara (82) through the steps, she felt quite accomplished to see that she was able to complete this task on her own.  She was quite happy with herself and now she uses Skype to keep in touch with family.

Remember that when you don’t know how to do something it’s best to try, try again.  I hear from my students all the time that they feel stupid.  While this word makes me feel uncomfortable, I do understand.  Keep in mind that when we don’t know how to do something that doesn’t mean we are stupid.  It means that we need to learn how to do it — that goes for any skill at any age.

 

Kim Tomaszewski is owner of The Net Cracker, a company that teaches basic computer skills to senior citizens in WNY.  If you have a question, want information on upcoming classes or have a suggested topic for a future column, please contact Kim at  531-0494 or online at info@thenetcracker.com

 

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • SUN LIFE Opera intern 072714.jpg [Duplicate] Singing her heart out: Newfane woman wins prestigious apprenticeship twice. Rebecca Witty says she started singing in the womb. That might be an exaggeration, but the Newfane woman's love of music began at a very early age. "Music has always been in my life since I was a kid," she said. "My family is made up of musicians so that has played a big part of my love for music since the beginning."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Chef cooking demos 2 072714.jpg [Duplicate] F-BITES: Celebrity chef Bobby Anderson wants kids to learn more than just cooking. As a loudspeaker played "Waiting for the World to Change," Chef Bobby Anderson was busy changing it, just the other day. For Anderson, the cooking lessons he's conducting with local students this summer on Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls are entertaining crowds and giving young chefs life-changing exposure to new foods, new flavors and new experiences.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE fair story 6 072714.jpg [Duplicate] More than rides and food at the Niagara County Fair

    July 28, 2014 8 Photos

  • mug - stack, catherine RGB [Duplicate] [Duplicate] NATURAL HEALTH: Taking a closer look at migraine causes and treatments

    Headaches come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a mild tension headache to a migraine that has you locked up in a dark room afraid to move. Migraine and cluster headaches are by far the worst. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE tattoo 3 072714.jpg [Duplicate] Behind the tattoo gun — Niagara Tatoo Expo coming up

    Tattoos can be a touchy subject. Of course, people have heard they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; still, people continue to report being denied jobs and being judged harshly for proudly displaying their ink. 

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • mug - Jennings, Thom RGB [Duplicate] JENNINGS: It's the end of an era for fans of The Ramones

    Jeffrey Hyman, John Cummings, Douglas Colvin and Thomas Erdelyi formed one of the most influential bands in music history in 1974 — better known by their stage names Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone. The last surviving member, Tommy, passed away July 11.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE TOPS woman 2 072714 .jpg [Duplicate] Local woman honored for weight-loss success

    After Carolyn Sherman’s husband passed away, she became depressed, and her weight ballooned to more than 300 pounds. Wheelchair-bound, she ended up at Odd Fellow & Rebekah Health Care Facility in Lockport.

     

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • NIA Biz logo 072814 IN BUSINESS: ReNU director named to '30 Under 30' list Tom Lowe, director of ReNU Niagara, has been named to the 2014 class of Buffalo Business First's 30 Under 30 honorees. The award recognizes 30 Western New Yorkers in the early stages of their careers who are achieving at high levels at work and in the community.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUNLIFELexisPlace1072014jpg (1).jpg Lexi's Place: A safe haven for teens battling suicide, sexual abuse and depression

    In a perfect world, a 14-year-old wouldn’t know exactly how it feels to try suicide.
    An 11-year-old who reaches out to the unwanted kids at school would not be thrown against a locker and bullied by other teens trying to make her feel small.
    And surely no teen would have a father who, when she was small, would give her to his friends for sex.
    All those things happened to the teens at Lexi’s Place.

    July 22, 2014 8 Photos

  • SUN LIFE wine fest 3 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Sip the Niagara Wine Trail's best in one location The Niagara Wine Trail reveals it's sweetness slowly, and only to those dedicated enough to spend the time. There are 27 wineries and to sample a taste of each requires much driving through the backroads of the Niagara region, and far too much sipping to make driving a logical possibility. That's what makes the trail's 6th annual Wine and Culinary event such a good idea. Wine lovers who've always wanted to explore the new and unusual offerings of the 14-year-old wine trail, can do so next weekend, all in one place.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page