Matrix Downloaded: How To Delete Technophobia
A ten year study by Dell Computer Corp. found that fear of technology was the 'in' thing in the 90s. According to an MCI-Gallup survey, nearly half of the white-collar respondents were “cyberphobic.”
But that's copping out. If you want to study computers, no one's stopping you. Uncomfortable? You're uncomfortable around giant spiders too so that shouldn’t be a big deal. Remember the rubber shoes ad and forget grammar: “Impossible Is Nothing!”
Ask for help. If you can admit you don't know everything, it means you're emotionally secure. It's a sign of wisdom. And getting answers to your questions makes you smarted than you were a minute ago. You may or may not know (or care) that my corny know-how is a combination of tips, trial, error and bugging shop crews (“Miss, I want to attach – photos I mean!”).
Sometimes, the best person to learn from may not be the most knowledgeable,” says Kris Jamsa, author of Welcome To Personal Computers. Once, I was in an Internet shop in U-Belt. The girl beside looked like Bea Alonzo. She asked the attendant how to type 'ñ' – then, when she already knew how, I asked her (press ALT while typing 164; for Ñ, 165).
Take it one step at a time. Printing a letter, sending an e-mail and surfing the Web – believe it or not, these three fundamentals actually make you more tech-savvy than most people, according to Jamsa.
It's like riding a bike for the first time. Your focus should be on achieving balance and mobility. Once you get the
hang of it, you're now ready to be on your own. Or like being a carpenter, “you're first project wouldn't be to build a house. You'd start with something simple, like a bench or a birdhouse,” advises computer expert Robin Williams. “It's the same with the computer. You'd learn as you were faced with new tasks.”
Cruising the information superhighway is a walk in the park – easy as pie and a piece of cake. It's actually more complicated to cook pochero or to write an honest resume.
Avoid techno babble. Jamsa advises that you list your needs and goals when buying a PC. A good salesman should be able to use plain language during his pitch. If he becomes condescending, he doesn't deserve the commission.
In Internet shops, don't be intimidated by customers who act sophisticated – that's just smoke. They want to impress everybody because their egos are full of termites. They're not even thinking of you so why think about them? Day after day, you must face a world of strangers where you don't belong – you must be strong to be what Paolo Coelho calls a Warrior of the Light.
Just do it. If you're uncomfortable with computers but want to learn, just do it. You don't have to make a production out of it. You don't have to call a press conference. Develop confidence by immersing yourself in Internet cafes. You can even have coffee if they have it. Go in and tell them what you want and ask them to set it up. If you get stumped, ask discreetly. And it wouldn't hurt if you dazzle the entire room with your million-dollar smile.
Just master the basics – there's plenty of time for hacking later. “Don't get bogged down in a hefty computer manual,” points out Joe Kraynak, in The Complete Idiot's Guide to PCs. “Go ahead and flip the switch, and move the mouse.”
Go on, you're supposed to make mistakes. You're only human. It's the only way to learn and the only things you can call your own. Oftentimes, the greatest adventures begin off the beaten track. You might meet a grizzly bear – or a magic unicorn.