I feel a need to share that information with people who do not want to make the investment in school and research that I did, so they can take advantage of today’s technologies. There is a lot of misunderstanding among people about what to do, how to do it and what is safe. My goal is to help them use Internet tools better, without the pain generally associated with the task. I want to distill the 40 years of experience I have down to what they need to know, without the techno-babble, but with an emphasis on the important issues.

The motivation for beginning this blog was twofold.  First, my mother was always mystified by the Internet.  For example, when Internet shopping just began to be popular, my mother, who was in her 80s at the time, called me and said “I think I should come down there and see what this Internet thing is.” I replied, “Mother, they have the Internet in Chicago too.” She insisted that “no, I don’t think so, I think I need to come to St. Louis to see it.” My mother, who was never afraid to take things apart and make them work better couldn’t fathom the Internet because she couldn’t “see” it. She knew I used it a lot, but she didn’t know what it was. What I learned quickly was that I could only explain this fascinating new tool by relating it back to things she had experienced and did understand. After all, an ISP was essentially a telephone exchange, and a URL was used the same as a street address. She could relate to the need for locks on her doors and windows, and that could be used to explain the various kinds of computer security needed for safe use of the Internet. A blog is nothing more than a diary where those reading it actually admit it and leave comments. In other words, I could explain this “Internet thing” as long as I related it back to the things she knew and understood in the physical world.

My second motivation came from a swimming pool. I had a bad knee for years and needed to exercise in a pool to avoid further injury, so I joined a water aerobic class. Most such classes, I have learned, are populated by women over 65, so I was always the “kid” in the class. I did not talk much about my background because people tend to be put off both by professors and “computer people.” But, it did slowly leak out that I was both. Thereafter people began to ask me questions about their computers. It is challenging, to say the least, to answer questions about computers when you are in a pool, there is no computer around, and your listeners do not really have much background from which to explain their problems. From this I learned to ask questions and explain fairly complicated problems and options in the simplest way I could. Here too I relied upon the tool of referring back to the physical world to explain how the electronics work.

My goal is to apply the same approach to making the information available to a wider audience.


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