Excellent Distraction - thanks:-)

Okay, here's an answer from someone you can consider "slightly higher than a total computer dunce" just to make sure you're getting an even cross-section!

- Can you remember when you started using computers?
My brother had one in the 80's which he did basic programming on. The test was greeeen and we used to play a cool game called "Bandito". Gee I loved that game! In school, in the early 90's is when I really started to use them - Word for assignments.

-- Would you say this was an easy process to get to grips with?
Well, the typing was pretty simple. The saving was complicated. I remember not understanding terms like "formatting" etc. It was never explained clearly. Like the difference between deleting and formatting. I'm still not really sure... is there a difference?

-- Since then, has your journey been straightforward, and if not, can you remember what some of your challenges were?

Straightforward! hahahaha! Nice one! My whole life there was a big block b/w me and the computer. I didn't even start to get a grip of it until our XP computer died and my husband brought home Vista Home Premium. Then I started a very steep learning curve. I had to survive because of the raft of Vista issues. First thing I learnt was system restore from safe mode about 3 months into the new ownership(after updates caused my monitor to crash and I was told the only fix was to lose everything and start again from scratch) . It was VERY liberating. From there I learnt to find patches and fixes for all manner of things, and started to learn how spastically designed computers really are. It wasn't me after all - they're just built by people who don't use common sense!

-- Do you have any challenges even now?
Is the Pope a Catholic? Don't suppose you know which degree one should obtain if one wants to get their webpage up online?! Seriously, though, the problems are endless. From incompatible programs crashing everything right down to settings strangely changing themselves, it would seem, just to make your day that little bit more annoying. Oh, and don't forget the stuff that just "stops working". Like the calendar that no longer pops up with reminders, or the Quicktime that won't open the video at half size even though you've ticked the box twenty times already, uninstalled, reinstalled, uninstalled, reinstalled again, and eventually just removed the program totally off the computer and installed an inferior program because at least it opens the files at the size you ask...

-- Did you/do you have any coping strategies?
Screaming at the monitor is sometimes good. It never solves the problem, but it sometimes makes me feel better. I also like to write a lecture to Bill Gates when one of those stupid pop ups comes up asking me to give feedback on whether their "solution" helped solve my problem (which it never has - but sometimes it feels good to send them an almighty rant that, even though it doesn't get read, makes me feel better!) Alternatively I find alcohol very effective. After alcohol consumption, I can often find a fix for my problem on forums online. Usually it'll take upwards of 10 hours online to find a solution, though. It's time consuming. Which brings us back to the alcohol consumption bit...

There's also avoidance, which is what I am practising now. I do that WAY too much!

-- Looking back, do you think the challenges you faced are any easier to tackle now?

That's an odd question. If I acquired a solution to the challenge I faced, then yes, now I could tackle it easier. For the problems I didn't find a solution for, they're still just as much of a challenge. With regard to right back at the start of learning computers, it sure would have helped to have a good teacher. Someone who could cross the abyss between computer jargon and the real world, and explain it so it actually made sense. Funny, but I could have used a maths teacher like that, too!

-- On a typical day, how long will you be interacting with computer devices?

An easy 60-70% If they were more efficient, and consistent, that would be more like 40-50% I'm sure!

-- Do you appreciate the extended functionality/increasing pervasiveness of computing now?

Yeah, sure! I can barely remember life without computers. I couldn't live without my computer (work tool, social tool, media tool - it's everything). But it is also one of the greatest sources of frustration in my life. And I'm pretty sure that's because computers don't have common sense. I remember when there was all this talk about computers saving all the trees and all our time. They've done a lot, but neither of those things. I'm amazed by the apparently limitless things they can do while being so limited. Computers can send a man to the moon and bring him back safely. But they can't manage to store and keep stored a basic setting - a click of a box. Go figure(insert cheesy rocket science pun here...) ! Though I think that's just me trying to apply common sense again. And as we all know, common sense is not compatible with Vista wink