66 thoughts on “#313 Showing old people how to do something on a computer

  1. Ha!!! I do this to my graduate advisor constantly! And I’m no expert, either…oh, but shhhh…he’s not old! ;)

    1. Haha! :) The professor for whom I was a GA wasn’t old, either, but she was constantly wowed by my unique abilities to perform basic technological maneuvers. It did make me feel pretty genius-y.

      1. Plus, things move pretty quickly.. you can get left behind before you even know it..

        Check out this great clip from 1994 as Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble discussing “what is the internet?” Classic!


        1. 1994?!? How the heck did they not know what the internet was? In 1994, my friends and I were holing up in the computer lab at lunch to play some RP MUDs. I guess we were the kids that could have taught Katie and Bryant what the internet was!

          1. I didn’t know what the Internet was then. My school didn’t even start teaching us about the Internet (and my house didn’t even have it) til about 1996, when it first started being all mainstream.

              1. I can’t say I’m too surprised.. I feel like you’re about as geeky as they come.. :)

                I sort of feel like around 1994, 60% of internet usage was for RP MUDs.. then a year or two later, the internet discovered porn and that ratio went all out of whack..

                However, with the ever popular WoW, the geeks are attempting to mount a comeback! If only they can get enough gold on that next raid, they might finally do it!

                    1. Yeah…my brother is one of those gamer types…scary stuff. He rarely sees the light of day. You’d thing he was a TwiHard or something from the looks of him.

                    2. That’s what I was thinking.. WoW seems to suck people in like Twilight does for other people..

                      One day my wife picked up a “Free WoW trial DVD” from the hospital (???) and brought it home for me since she knows I like video games.. I immediately threw it out.. I didn’t want to tempt fate and open Pandora’s box like that.. I might have never commented here again if I’d been sucked into that wormhole..

                    3. Oh no! Why would she ever do that? I saw a commercial on TV for some reality show and this couple was discussing how they wanted a WoW themed wedding. Gah!

  2. My 70yr old mother had her 1st computer class today and she is crazy excited. I gave her my iMac before I moved and just spent 2 hrs over the phone talking her through Skype. She was so happy she could cry. Although she’s having the worst time understanding that a Mac and the senior center PCs look different. She’s dragging my 91yrs old grandma in next!

  3. …to see your own kid do this, explaining the intergalactic secrets of the www to your own parents, that’s awesome!! To see how they communicate, just like that, easy-going, with that patience and peace…

  4. I do this at work. I work in a special needs pre school and my teacher is always asking me to show her how to open up a new email and then wait while she types in case she has a problem. I love to help until then. It is “a slow typer death” It was really fun to show her that book orders could be done online and every month she is surprised that we are getting free books because our parents order them online!

      1. Oh, man! I was the parent-volunteer doing the book orders for my kid’s class one year BY HAND, and I would SO have liked it if we had online book orders!

        1. Ahhh! No joke! Doing all those by hand is NO FUN. I had to do it once when the Scholastic website was down … once was enough for me! That was nice of you to volunteer though :)

  5. It works on not-that-old people, too — I’d be a wealthy lady if I got paid for each mini-seminar/consultation I hosted for my 55 year old dad on topics such as: entering an iTunes gift card number and downloading a song on iTunes, burning a CD, using his cellphone for anything more advanced than placing a phone call, and the ins and outs of his iPod.

  6. So true, teaching is gift to the giver and receiver. Teach “anyone” it makes you feel like you have something important to offer the world. I teach Zumba and Tai Chi at senior centers with older active adults and they are so grateful for my time. Where else can you go to work and get hugged, have everyone smiling and enjoying themselves, and telling you how much they appreciate you. Awesome.

  7. Gratitude for teaching: For 25 years I worked with seniors and other’s with some very special needs, through the spectrum of ages. Although I’m not the smartest person in some areas, there was so much gratitude and you’re all so right when you say, reciprocated:)
    No matter my circumstances, they called me “Sunshine”, a hug like the feeling of mommy and now grannie wendy, So Awesome:)
    I was so blessed to “work” with a child, who had “feral” behaviors- humans were a threat. I discoverd it comforted her when I’d bring up sights and sounds of particular animals on the computer…after “some time”, she expressed they’d been her family,shared their food and were her protectors. Her trust grew from what I could bring to her via the computer; walks and eventually talks in nature trails. Then one day took she gently took my hand in hers and said, “Never give up hope Wendy, never give up hope”…this was one of the greatest experiences I’ll ever remember…right down in my bones Awesome!
    Now, could one of you scholars please tell me how to make 1000 awesome things our opening page PLEASE?!

    1. Wendy – I’m currently using Internet Explorer (don’t laugh – I’m at work).. But here’s how you can do it from there:

      1) Click on Tools (up in the toolbar)
      2) Select Internet Options
      3) Under the General Tab, there is a section that says Home Page with a box to enter text. If you type in the 1000awesomethings.com address in that box, you should be good to go.

      Hope this works! :)

      1. Or just go to the steps that Freddo outlined AFTER you have gone to 1000 Amazing Things using the bookmark you probably have and click on “Use Current Page”. Same result and a tad faster, with less chance of a typing error.

        1. VOILA! Mission Accomplished!
          It wasn’t you Freddo, but me! lol.
          Da Spaceba
          Thank you…you’re all genious’

  8. I have worked at my job for 9 months now and one of my coworkers who was here 2 years before me asks me to send e-mails for her everytime she has to. Its not that I mind THAT much, I just wonder how she was sending e-mails before I started here?

  9. I see there’s another wendy in awesome world now, I added aurora, so’s not to get us confused,
    although she’s red and I am well, indigo blue!

  10. I do this all the time for my grandpa. I have set up email for him and showed him how to use it. Now he clutters up my inbox with chain letters. I have shown him how to use google but he still asks me from time to time.
    Everytime I go visit him theres always something new he wants me to show him….like how to hook up and use his printer. I even taught him how to text

  11. I just had to spell G – O – O – G – L – E for my 90 year old father because he had never heard of it before.

  12. I was teaching basic computer skills to a group of very old folks one time, and we had a word processor open and were just typing our name to practice. One gentleman was using the circle-around-the-keyboard method to find his keys. His name was Mr. Cooper. I walked past his station and saw that he had this typed so far:
    Mr C
    I watched as he circled around and finally found the O:
    Mr CO
    He then proceeds to circle again, searching for the next O.
    It was an Awesome moment.

    1. Yay – old folks are cute! I love Mr. Cooper!

      I can’t wait until I’m trying to figure out how to use a floating holographic virtual keyboard in the future, and some guy gets to talk about how I had trouble finding the second “d” in Freddo..

      I’m always impressed when older people make the effort.. My grandparents were very stuck in their ways, with no interest at all in learning new technology.. it’s a shame..

  13. Hey, I need help? Is it possible to make 1000 awesome things our opening page!
    And would one of you brilliant people please invent a keyboard with a check mark!!

  14. I always wonder if when I get to be that age, my children will have to show me how to work new things that have come out, or if after a certain point, everyone will just be “familiar” with technology…

  15. whenever i can’t get something to work on the computer, or it just gets all messed up, i blame the fact we live in the mountains, or the fact we only have 1 poor server, or the weather…but today when my screen went completely blank, no tools or anything, i called my daughter for help and i got to blame Freddo…at which point she said, “do not take advice from Freddo ever again, do not touch anything on your computer ever again that you’re unsure of,” and then she said, of all things…”helping ‘Old People’ on their computer is NOT AWESOME!”

  16. It’s so true!!! I know very little about computers compared to everyone else, so when I can show someone something it always makes me feel like I haven’t failed my generation.

  17. This is wonderful. Ironically, though, my mother needs more help with computers than my grandparents, who (for their age) are fairly technology-savvy.

  18. I tried teaching my grandma how to text while we were inside of a Denny’s last week. She had 11 new texts from numbers she had never seen and thought she’d check them…they turned out to be (LOUD!) anime porn videos.

  19. This makes me feel like there’s some hope for me. I’m getting towards older, attempting my first blog in my own way, and mostly clueless. Anyone out there have suggestions to help? THANK-YOU!

  20. I think about the first time my grandmother experienced a GPS system. She was amazed and confused about how easy it was to just put in where you want to go, and some voice would tell you how to get there. At first we had told her that it was some lady in the trunk that came with the car who knew the directions. My dad even said “and she comes in either blonde or brunette!” And with her being so old, she believed it at first!

  21. 1000 awesomethings is being featured in the reader’s digest and now i finally explore it…
    i experience sort of computer tutorial to my folks and it’s fun especially when their eyes are noticeably wanting to navigate.

  22. this thing is very true to my little 7 year old brother and my mom. i am laughing silently when my brother is teaching how to this and that and my mom would say uh…okay….i love the way they do this every saturday noon…

  23. We had to teach gramma how to use the wii it was hilarious. We had to teach mil how to add our wii number so we can send messages to them. It took about 30 mins for her to get it. I always get messages or calls from my mom asking about her comp, iPod or even the tv

  24. This one is perfect for me!
    Normally I can’t work with the computer at all, I always have to ask my dad where I can find something on the computer. But now my grandparents have a computer they ask me things like ‘Nikki, how do I send this e-mail?’ and then I can say like a real genius “O, you just have to click here, and here and then here” and they go like “oooo, alright thank you verry much!” but when I’m home I have to call my dad because the computer is doing weird stuff and he can feel like superdad again!

  25. A schoolmate of university in Taiwan told me two years ago that he was surprised that I took 3 months to learn the basics of computer and internet in a professional school’s adult class — 3 nights per week and 3 hours each evening. He told me that a survey shows that only less than 5% of the population over 60 years of age know how to do the things I was learning. I assume he was referring to those in “developing and developed” countries. Since then I have been able to do many things you all know how to do (including writing this message) and I always like to ask my younger daughter to teach me using some of the steps that can save me time and do better. She is such a good teacher — willing, able and very patient, and we both enjoy the moment we shared together to accomplish a thing, even a very small one. I know that she must feel AWESOME that she can teach her dad something rather than the other way round.

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