Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How computer literate are you?

I had a conversation with my sister yesterday and we were discussing a friend of hers who was having a hard time finding a new job. It seems that this friend has not kept up with the times and was not computer literate enough for the current job market.

My question to you is, how computer literate are you? And, would you be able to compete with others out there looking for a job?

As we all know, the times they are a changin'. If you don't keep up, you will be left behind to sink. I know, it's difficult at times, but there's always the "help" button on every program we use.

When I got online this morning, and I was going through my usual routine, I thought about all the user names and passwords I use. I have three e-mail accounts, each with a different user name and password. I pay my bills online, and each account has a different user name and password. It is getting so bad, that I have to keep a secure file of all my user names and passwords so my identity isn't stolen. I hope I don't forget my user name and password, otherwise I won't be able to remember how to get into all these accounts.

I remember the very first computer we purchased back in the middle 1980s. We were so excited that they had invented a home computer that we went right to Sears and purchased a Commodore 128. We couldn't wait to get home with it and start using this miracle. When we finally got it set up, we soon realized that all this machine was good for was word processing and spreadsheets, and there was no software available yet.

So, it was back to the store to exchange the 128 for a Commodore 64. This was great! We now had a machine that played games. We hooked it up to the TV in the living room because it didn't come with a monitor. The kids and I loved it because we were all game players. The downside was that you couldn't watch TV while someone was playing a game. The C64 also had a reputation of "burning" an image on your TV screen (no screensavers in those days) if you left it on for any length of time. We actually still have our original C64 tucked away in a closet somewhere.

Next on our list of updated computers was a Zenith 286. Man, we thought we were right uptown with this baby. It cost us a LOT of money, but we thought it was well worth it. It was a real computer, not just something you play games on.

About this time they invented something called the Internet and the World Wide Web. To get online, in those ancient days, you had to have an ISP and it was all about the dial-up. Slow as molasses and costly. I think our first month's telephone bill was about $500. Good-bye MSN.

We next discovered Dell. Over the years we have purchased three Dells, and every time we receive one of their pretty, glossy, colored catalogues, I get the itch to buy that new computer that's just a little faster, has a little more memory, and has one of those beautiful flat-screen plasma monitors. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, we got DSL. Now we're talking. Fast as lightning, no prolems to speak of, and we are always online quick as a bunny.

With all this progress in bigger, faster, prettier, more features, and more programs comes the problem of learning how to use this contraption. Now, I'm not big on reading manuals. In fact, it's a big joke at our house that I don't read no stinking manuals. Husband does. He's my IT man -- yeah, he's the man. So, if I have a question or a probem with my computer, I have a built-in IT man on premises and there's no costly service charges (that I can talk about).

Finally, we come to blogging. After a lifetime of working outside the home, and using a computer in every aspect of my career, I have degenerated down to a daily routine of using my vast computer knowledge for the sole purpose of maintaining a web log (blog).

(Sorry, I forgot to mention that I also pay my bills online, cruise the 'Net, correspond by e-mail, purchase stuff online, use an online dictionary, do genealogy research online, write, and find answers by Googling.)

My sister (you remember her from the first paragraph, don't you?) was finally talked into starting a blog of her own. During her initial set-up, she asked me how I knew so much about blogging. I told her that I have been doing it for about six months and that you learn these things by trial and error (since I don't read no stinking manuals). Actually, I know these things because I'm so addicted to blogging, I don't have a life. My day begins and ends online. Pathetic, isn't it?

The lesson for today is, if you don't stay up on all these computer advances, you will surely be left behind and you won't be able to compete in today's job market. For all us retired folks, it's still fun to play around on the computer. If you can't write, that's okay, we want to hear from you anyway. If you can't spell, there's always SpellCheck. Computing is still more fun than sitting around being bored and losing brain cells.


At March 01, 2006 10:31 AM, Blogger MrsGreenThumb said...

It's a good thing you're doing, now I have my sister to depend on. She has her husband to depend on. He has his son-in-law to depend on. And so on. Few people can go through life without someone to depend on. I'm sure glad I have my family to depend on. Weren't those Commodore 64's something? I used my son's when he went to the Army about 20 years ago. It was amazing, I could keep track of the sales in my business, write letters, etc. Little did I know it would lead to a lifetime addiction.

At March 01, 2006 10:58 AM, Blogger TUFFENUF said...

Oh yeah, the Commodore 64, I had forgotten. These days even very young children know what a mouse is, and how to handle it. We have come a long way in just 20 years. I wonder what the next 20 years of technology will bring? Now, computers are building computers.

At March 01, 2006 12:02 PM, Blogger Tomas Dennis said...

It was a Commodore+4
The 4 was:
1. A Word proccer
2. A Spreadsheet
3. A Database
4. A Paint Program
We wanted a computer to program and play games at that time. So we exchange it fot the "64". If we had kept that computer it would be worth about $10,000 dollars in todays market. They are very rare.
If I am her IT man than our son in law is our software engineer. He is responsable for a least two quality software products on the market today.
Look at the sidebar of my blog to see his ad.

>"Blade Technologies"

At March 01, 2006 3:32 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Oh, Motherkitty, you'll be disappointed in me. I am quite computer illiterate. In my job, I use a computer to do the basics eg write notes, letters, prescriptions; I can e-mail and do money transactions online...but that's the extent of my knowledge. Any small problems and I'm floored. I actually harbour secret resentment for computers, because I fail to understand them.

You, on the other hand, have apparently embraced and comprehended computers from the get-go. Good on you! You joke about using your brain keeping you young, but I'm sure it's true. When it comes to computers, I think I'm about 80 and you're more like 30!

PS Thanks Motherkitty for your recent comment to me... you and the others have cheered me up no end :)

At March 01, 2006 4:30 PM, Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

This is my first computer and I know absolutely nothing about them...I finally found the power button when the dancing chicken fell on it and turned it off.

At March 01, 2006 5:34 PM, Blogger PJ said...

Our first was a C64. We had some game cartridges and took the magazine which had pages of code you can painfully type in and make a little game to play. Not long after, there was a local message board. The screen was black and mostly it was people talking about the weather because back then you didn't know how to make friends that way.
I loved reading your post, brought back some neat memories.

At March 01, 2006 11:40 PM, Blogger bornfool said...

My first computer was a commodore 64. Technology has really passed me by in the last few years.
About 6 or 7 years ago I had a side business working on computers. Now I don't even know how to post a picture on my blog. I'm sure I could learn if I took the time, but I haven't. Really, I never was good with the software, I was more into working with and upgrading the hardware.

At March 02, 2006 6:59 AM, Blogger Alipurr said...

Knowing people who know about computers certainly rubs off on you...been married almost 10 yrs to computer guy and I certainly would not be doing this if it weren't for him....

At March 02, 2006 7:46 AM, Blogger The Four Bears in the Woods said...

Hi Motherkitty.
I came over from abandoned in pasadena's blog site to read your post and say hi. We have a family blog site and are new to this. Just wanted to say that I definitely remember back to the old computers. I remember when I started vocational school and had just seen my first computer. I was overwhelmed. I remember the floppy discs we saved our homework on. Your post brought back a lot of memories for me. And I agree, you have to know your computers these days. From Mama Bear

At March 04, 2006 5:10 AM, Blogger Connie and Rob said...

Very good post! If you quit work life is moving so fast with will pass you up in no time. Blogging has been a wonderful way to keep active on a lot of the new things happening in software.



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